What We’re Reading: February 4, 2010 Edition

A History of the World - BBC and the British MuseumIn our roundup this week we have links to a look back on the life of Howard Zinn, news of a new children’s history museum, steps to open a Ulysses S. Grant library, a request for input from the National Archives, a look at combining history and video games, and new evidence in the history of surgery. Then, some digital history: the BBC and British museum join forces in a podcast, Priya Chhaya describes “Historian 2.0,” a blog series about the digital archives of every state continues, and the University of Chicago Press releases this month’s free e-book. Next, explore aerial images of New York from the 1920s, images from National Archives now in Flickr, and a story from NPR on a 1848 image of Phineas Gage. Finally, we finish up with a few links just for fun: Holden Caulfield’s A People’s History of the United States, a quiz on your knowledge of the 220 State of the Union addresses, a snarky 1905 letter from Mark Twain, and a look at currency across time and place.

Digital History

  • A History of the World in 100 objects
    The BBC and the British Museum have collaborated to make a radio program, available online, that looks at 100 objects from the British Museum. “The programmes will travel through two million years from the earliest object in the collection to retell the history of humanity through the objects we have made. Each week will be tied to a particular theme, such as ‘after the ice age’ or ‘the beginning of science and literature’.”
  • Historian 2.0: Finding the Past Through Social Media
    From podcasts, to Twitter, to blog posts and more, Priya Chhaya at the PreservationNation blog presents “a day in the life of a historian in the age of social media.”
  • The Divided States #1: Pennsylvania Mania!
    The Lazy Scholar has set out to “uncover the digital archives of each and every American state.” See his first two installments in this series: Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
  • Get a free e-book from the University of Chicago Press
    The University of Chicago Press is offering a free e-book version of The Nature of the Book. Every month the UCP plans to offer a free e-book. The book uses the Adobe Digital Reader, which seems more reader-friendly than a number of other programs out there.  Hat tip.

Images

  • 1924 aerial map of NYC
    Kottke points to an interactive map from NYC.gov that shows aerial photos from 1924. He suggests visitors, “Check out all the piers, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the old baseball stadiums, the [Lower East Side] (and everywhere else they built housing projects), Penn Station, and the skyscraperless Midtown.”
  • The U.S. National Archives joins the Commons!
    The U.S. National Archives has joined Flickr and has begun posting historical photographs and documents, public works images, Civil War photographs, and more.
  • The Face Of A Famous Skull Found On Flickr
    “In 1848, Phineas Gage became a medical miracle” when he survived a freak accident as an iron rod blew through his skull while blasting rock to make way for a railroad. It was thought there was no photographic trail to preserve Gage’s tale, until Jack and Beverly Wilgus scanned and posted a “daguerreotype of a man holding a metal rod” with a missing eye to Flickr. Listen to the story (which we first heard about last August) from NPR’s All Things Considered.

For Fun

Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Arnita Jones, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend

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