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Now That’s What I Call History: Introducing the AHA Summer Mixtape

Mixtapes contained tiny archives. In the heyday of the portable cassette—which overlapped with King Vinyl before the great extinction-by-compact-disc of the 1980s—they allowed DJs and freestyle rappers to circulate their work to a micropublic. Unlike Grateful Dead concert bootlegs (which also united a public), mixtapes put individual virtuosity at the center of their aesthetic. As cassettes saturated suburban bedrooms and tape decks became fixtures in cars, young music fans created mixtapes for their own pleasure and to exchange with peers. Today, hip-hop artists still drop mixtapes (making new tracks or remixes available for download), and cassettes are fixtures in many prisons.

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AHA Member Spotlight: Alex Zukas

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Alex Zukas is a professor at National University, San Diego, California. He lives in San Diego, California, and has been a member since 1991.

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Augusta Savage at work on her famous sculpture, The Harp, commissioned by the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. New York Public Library Digital Collections

Far from the Harlem Crowd: Rediscovering the Work and Life of Augusta Savage in Saugerties, New York

By Eric Fitzsimmons and Sarah E. Elia

In 1945, Augusta Savage, a sculptor and a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, traded the hustle of Harlem for a secluded house, 100 miles north, tucked at the end of a dirt drive in Saugerties, New York. For a long time, her story was said to end there in a retreat from society and the Harlem art world—a narrative that ignored her ongoing work and active social life in her adopted town.

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The William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson is home to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Adapt and Overcome: What to Do When Your Archival Research Hits a Dead End

At the close of the Civil War in 1865, Dr. Robert Kells—then the superintendent of the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum—warned state officials that widespread loss of property (including enslaved people), wounded pride, and the vices “contracted by so many of our best men . . . in the army” would unleash a wave of insanity in the state. I read Kells’s predictions during my first trip to the state archives as a new graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi.

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"Clio" by Hendrik Goltzius, 1558-1617, currently held by the Los Angeles County Art Museum.  Clio is the muse of history.

Changing Course: The Flexibility of a History Degree

By Kamarin Takahara

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Because I spent most of my time surrounded by teachers, I answered this question when I was young with: “Well, I want to be a teacher.” As I grew up and experienced new things, however, that question took on a greater significance.

The seeming irrevocability of the answer scared me—like in a final exam, you make a choice, turn it in, and because you can never change the answer, you are stuck with your decision forever.

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Alan Berolzheimer

AHA Member Spolight: Alan Berolzheimer

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Alan Berolzheimer is managing editor at the Vermont Historical Society (www.vermonthistory.org) and an assistant director at The Flow of History, a history education network in the Connecticut River Valley of VT and NH (www.flowofhistory.org). He lives in Norwich, Vermont, and has been a member since 1990.

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