This year’s annual meeting of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture was hosted with panache by Philip Morgan at Johns Hopkins University. It was apt that it took place in Baltimore, the birthplace of Ron Hoffman, whom the conference honoured as he steps down from a long tenure presiding over the institute. At the closing roundtable, a number of senior scholars movingly—and in some cases hilariously—recounted their experiences as Ron’s colleagues and friends, and paid tribute to his work as editor of the Carroll papers and historian of the Revolutionary war and its dissenters. Tongue firmly in cheek, Ron responded to the tribute manfully, by quoting Charles Carroll’s response to a biography of himself: what you have said, he told the biographer, makes me seem a much greater man than I ever believed, yet you have said nothing that is not absolutely true. Continue reading
So much has changed in the last few decades, particularly in terms of digitization, in the ways historians access materials, the level and ease of access to those materials, and the methods of delivery for the work that comes from that access. But access is not the only thing that has changed. Working in the digital realm offers historians new tools with which to approach their task, the core of which remains unaffected by these developments. On that theme, I thought I would talk a little bit about my workflow and the tools that I use which allow the work to flow (sorry, couldn’t help myself).
Most historians use a word processor and many use some kind of citation management software. For years, it seems that EndNote was the most widely used for this purpose. I used it as well until about three years ago when I switched from PC to Mac. That move was done primarily because I wanted to use two pieces of software which were not then available for PC, though both are now.
The first is Mekentosj’s Papers. Think of Papers as an iTunes for your PDFs (but better). I don’t know about most people but I am an obsessive collector of PDFs. I download articles from JSTOR if I think I might ever need them sometime in the distant future. I also regularly scan book chapters. I currently have over 3,500 PDFs on my hard drive. Papers allows me to keep them all organized, sorted into thematic “collections,” and, for most journal articles, it can automatically fill-in the citation information (click on pictures for larger view). You can take notes on your PDFs, comment on them, and highlight them (and the quotes you highlight appear in your Notes tab). It also creates an OCR text file that is kept separate from the actual PDF but is used when you run full-text searches. You can also search JSTOR and a number of databases for journal articles and import them into your library right from within the application. Continue reading
Today’s guest poster, Charlie McCrary, is a PhD student in American religious history at Florida State. His MA thesis is about 19th-century Methodist circuit riders’ autobiographies. He is now researching religion, secularism, and public education in the early republic. Here, he reports on the Conference on Religion and American Culture earlier this month.
The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI held its Third Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture in Indianapolis over June 6th through 9th (see the program here; see also #RAAC2013) The conference, a relatively small affair—made to feel smaller and more intimate by its democratizing conference-in-the-round spatial arrangement—brought together scholars, from esteemed pillars of the field to graduate students, to discuss and debate the present and future of the study of American religions. Many of the presentations focused on case studies from the recent past and/or broader methodological issues, but pre–1865 topics received some explicit mention as well. In this brief report, I have compiled a highlight reel of scenes most interesting to the Junto’s readers. Continue reading
Happy Sunday! Let’s head straight to the weekly highlights. Continue reading
As you may have read, the Junto is cross-posting some of the pre-conference highlights for the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic’s (SHEAR’s) upcoming July conference in Saint Louis. Continue reading
Today’s guest poster is Aaron M. Brunmeier, a PhD student focusing on early American and Atlantic world history at Loyola University Chicago. Aaron is currently finishing up his role as the new media assistant for Common-place Journal and will work next on an AHRC-funded project on Atlantic world library history.
I must confess that when it comes to digital history, I am very much a novice. My introduction into this brave new world occurred last semester in Dr. Kyle Roberts’ undergraduate digital history class that I was able to take for grad credit at Loyola University Chicago. The end goal of the course was to create our own collaborative digital history project. I teamed up with two smart, hardworking, and creative undergrads whose backgrounds weren’t even in history and what we produced was Gender in the Stacks (which I should point out is currently a prototype and definitely a work-in-progress). Continue reading
If “The American Revolution Reborn” conference proved anything, it’s that the Revolution is in no danger of getting old. So much is still left to be told. Topics that few Revolutionary narratives have fully considered—ambivalence, religious dissent, hindsight connections to Scotland’s union with England in 1707, and future links to the Latin Americas—beg for further research. And those are only the issues that were discussed on the first day.