Public History > Historians and the Public

Experiments in Writing History

Laura Kamoie still receives periodic royalty statements for a book she published over a decade ago—an economic history of the early American Tayloe family, based on her PhD dissertation from the College of William and Mary. She knows that, to date, it has sold 773 copies, an ordinary showing for a first book that might be assigned in a university class once in a while. As for the next work she lists under the publications section of her CV? That one has sold over 350,000 copies. 

Past Tense: History and Its Abuses in Washington

As I walk to work in the morning, the first thing I see as I head toward the AHA office is the US Capitol, which not only symbolizes a public sector gone awry but also shares the honor of host for the current orgy of disregard for the common good. This observation isn’t partisan, at least not in the current moment: both Republican and Democratic policy makers from previous administrations have noted that “Washington” is not operating as it should. Nor, even, as it usually has. 

Made by History: A New Blog for Engaging the Public

“In order to make history, we first have to understand how history has made us,” reads the introduction to Made by History, a new history blog on WashingtonPost.com. The blog, which takes inspiration from a quote by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for its title, offers historians a major public platform to situate current events in their historical context. As co-editors-in-chief Brian Rosenwald (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Nicole Hemmer (Univ. of Virginia) write, “In an era seemingly defined by the word unprecedented, it’s easy to feel like political, technological and social revolutions have severed our link to history.

Historians Writing Fiction outside the Academy: Elizabeth Elliott Reflects after the Session

Historians can take a wide variety of career paths, from policy to public history and beyond. The 129th annual meeting has already hosted many sessions showcasing the nontraditional career tracks many of our colleagues have chosen. “Historians Writing Fiction: Outside of the Academy,” held on Saturday morning in the Hilton’s Sutton Center, featured three successful fiction writers who decided to leave an academic trajectory to pursue their craft independently.

Andrea Cremer, author of the bestselling Nightshade series; David Coe, an award-winning fantasy writer; and Laura Kamoie, who writes romance and historical fiction under the pen name Laura Kaye, had all earned doctorates in history before deciding to pursue fiction writing full-time.