What We’re Reading: May 21, 2009 Edition

Antique TypewritersIn the news this week, Lincoln historian and lifetime member of the AHA David Herbert Donald passed away at the age of 88. In other news, the Second Latin American Economic History Congress will be held in 2010 in Mexico City. On the topic of education, we link to articles on a new book from the University of Chicago (Becoming Historians), a different take on how to rank colleges, and arguments for the importance of the humanities. Then, read about the digitization of historical treasures, historic vessels in San Francisco, mapping sounds, and fifty years of style. Then, just for fun, peruse antique typewriters, see a snapshot of 2009, and if you’ve been rejected recently, find out what good company you keep.

  • Lincoln historian David Herbert Donald dies
    David Herbert Donald, Lincoln historian, Pulitzer Prize winner, and life member of the AHA, passed away this past Sunday at the age of 88. Check back on the AHA blog for a longer post on his life and death.
  • Second Latin American Economic History Congress
    The Second Latin American Economic History Congress (CLADHE-II) will take place in Mexico City from February 3 to 5, 2010. The congress will offer a forum to debate on-going economic history research from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as to discuss global and comparative perspectives with other regions.
  • ‘Becoming Historians’
    How do historians become historians? That’s the question answered in the essays of Becoming Historians, just published by the University of Chicago Press. In this Inside Higher Ed interview co-editors James M. Banner Jr. and John R. Gillis respond to questions about the book.
  • Education Experts Offer Alternatives to College Rankings
    The Association of American Colleges and Universities stresses the importance of and need for implementing new standards when ranking colleges—standards that move beyond traditional standardized test scores, for instance. “Called Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), this framework includes electronic portfolios and other outcomes that can document student success and help refine higher education practices.”
  • In Defense of the Liberal Arts
    Lane Wallace offers three points to support the argument that a degree in the humanities is still valuable. Since the “humanities now account for only 8% of all college degrees,” Wallace argues that “proponents are having to work harder than ever to justify the worth of a humanities, or liberal arts, course of study.”
  • The Next Age of Discovery
    The Wall Street Journal on the race to digitize crumbling historical treasures.
  • Maritime History in San Francisco
    “The San Francisco Bay Area has an amazing collection of historic vessels – floating pieces of history – that range from an aircraft carrier that plucked astronauts from the Pacific to a replica of a humble Chinese junk used to fish for shrimp in the bay.” The article also includes a list of ships and other maritime vessels to visit in and around the San Francisco area, such as the Pampanito, a World War II submarine, and the Lightship Relief, a colorful vessel that functioned as a floating lighthouse.
  • Mapping Historic Sounds at the British Library
    Larry Cebula, at his Northwest History blog, talks about an interesting online project from the British Library that maps accents, dialects, and sounds.
  • Style Mavens
    The Smart Set, an online magazine from Drexel University, celebrates the 50th anniversary of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.
  • Antique Typewriters – The Martin Howard Collection
    A visually stunning collection of typewriters from the 1800s.
  • The Universe in 2009
    An interesting and interactive time-capsule-like look at the world in 2009.
  • 30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers
    If you’ve had a book rejected by a publisher, or have just been the recipient of painful criticism, checkout this list of famous authors who overcame rejection to be huge successes. Hat tip.

Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Miriam Hauss, Arnita A. Jones, and Jessica Pritchard.

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