Could Become an Amateur Historian . . . and Get a Promotion
by Gary North: Enemies
of the Middle Class
of intellectual labor has been expanded by the Internet more than
ever in the past. This is just getting started. You could make a
significant contribution. All it takes is time and practice.
The Web makes
possible the exploration of history on a scale undreamed of in 1994.
Millions of people who cannot afford the plane fare and lodging
expenses to access collections of materials can gain access to them
The cost of
doing serious, significant historical research has fallen. There
will therefore be a growing supply.
You could be
part of that supply.
You have to
start somewhere. Start with something easy and non-controversial.
Then branch out.
In every community,
there are local records that no one ever sees. There are county
historical societies. Hardly anyone knows about them. The people
who are local experts are usually old. They are not skilled at Web
You could take
a once-famous event, such as a local disaster.
You could start
with an interesting period, such as World War II. In some regions,
you could start with the Civil War. How did these events affect
life in your county? Can you locate diaries and letters? Can you
get permission to scan them and post them?
If I were a
high school history teacher, I would encourage brighter students
to get involved. I would create a site where their findings could
be posted, signed. My legacy to the community would be a permanent
site on local history.
Or maybe you
belong to a local civic organization. Is there a history of the
local branch? If not, why not create a site devoted to this?
You may think:
"Who cares?" Maybe no one. Yet. But you can get the skills
it takes for serious historical research by doing a project that
is not controversial.
You may want
to gain influence in your organization. People in high positions
will give you time if you have begun to create an on-line history
of the organization. If someone is the head of an organization,
he wants recognition. Having his name and accomplishments on-line
is something he would like. So, he wants to have such a site on-line.
about your company? Is there an official history? Probably not.
If there is, it's probably not on-line.
Want to get
to know the president or the CEO? Write a history of the organization.
Post it piece by piece, beginning at the beginning. At some point
in the project, you will have a reason to interview the senior executives.
Work for a year or two on the project on your own time. Post what
you find: old ads, old newspaper clippings.
Create a timeline.
Interview retired workers. Page by page, build the site. At some
point, word will get out about the site.
the rest of the article
North [send him mail]
is the author of Mises
on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com.
He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible.
2011 Gary North
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