With the summer issue of the Oral History Review just around the corner, we are bringing you a sneak peak of what’s to come. Issue 43.1 is our LGBTQ special issue, featuring oral history projects and stories from around the country.
Helmut Schmidt and Jimmy Carter never got on. Theirs was, in fact, one of the most explosive relationships in postwar, transatlantic history and it strained to the limit the bond between West Germany and America. The problems all started before Carter became president, when the German chancellor unwisely chose to meddle in American electoral politics.
In April 2016, the American National Biography updated with 50 new lives. In honor of the occasion, we asked Dr. Mark Carnes to answer a few questions about his experience with the ANB. Dr. Carnes served as Co-General Editor of the ANB alongside Dr. John Garraty since its inception, until current General Editor Dr. Susan Ware came on board in 2012.
Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell decision, enjoyed a certain degree of celebrity in 2015. The press eagerly documented Davis’s crusade in her jurisdiction as well as her audience with the Pope. Other headlines, however, soon drew attention to Davis’s own complicated familial past.
How did it come to this? How was evolution transformed from a scientific principle of human-as-animal to a contentious policy battle concerning children’s education? From the mid-19th century to today, evolution has been in a huge tug-of-war as to what it meant and who, politically speaking, got to claim it.
The idea that the United States economy runs on information is so self-evident and commonly accepted today that it barely merits comment. There was an information revolution. America “stopped making stuff.” Computers changed everything. Everyone knows these things, because of an incessant stream of reinforcement from liberal intellectuals, corporate advertisers, and policymakers who take for granted that the US economy shifted toward an “knowledge-based” economy in the late twentieth century.
In addition to catching up with authors and discovering new research, the annual Organization of American Historians conference is a productive and inspiring time to check-in on the state of the field. This OAH in Providence, we had one burning question on our mind: What is one important word that all historians should have on their minds?
The field of “legal history” studies the relationship that “law” and legal institutions have to the society that surrounds them. “Law” means everything from local regulations and rules promulgated by administrative agencies, to statutes and court decisions. Legal history is interested in how “law” and legal institutions operate, and how they change over time in reaction to changing economic, social, and political conditions.
Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have called for the mass deportation of undocumented workers, the majority of whom hail from Mexico. To many liberals, the anti-immigrant rhetoric of these Republican candidates seems oddly anachronistic—a terrible throwback to an earlier America when we were less in touch with our melting pot roots.
Many playwrights have explored race relations, particularly in America. The growth of the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to a range of plays protesting racism and exploring the African-American experience. Lorraine Hansberry made history as the first black woman to have a play on Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun, also the first play on Broadway to be directed by a black director.
William Henry Harrison was 68 years old when he became the ninth president of the United States and the oldest US president until Ronald Reagan was elected nearly a century and a half later. He was sworn into office on 4 March 1841. Exactly one month later, he was dead.
Americans, black and white, love to commemorate the civil rights struggle. School programs, public events, popular culture, and historic markers all recount the heroic battle black Americans waged for their full humanity. Yet, racial inequality continues to plague the United States, and most popular civil rights history mythologizes it in ways that hinder the full realization of the movement’s goals.
Religious Nones are a name for people who answer “none” when asked with what religious group they most identify or to which they belong. Nones are a growing segment of the U.S. religious landscape but there are some misconceptions about how they practice what might count as “spirituality” or “religion.” Here are three challenges to typical misconceptions about Nones.
By late March 1968, President Lyndon Johnson’s presidency lay in tatters. Anger over the war in Vietnam and Johnson’s growing credibility gap had created a full-scale insurgency at home, within the Democratic Party. Things soon went from bad to worse.
I was introduced to oral history while completing my Master’s in Library Science at the University of North Texas. I needed to fulfill my practicum requirement, and I took a chance on an advertisement to intern at NASA-Johnson Space Center. (I grew up wanting to be an astronaut, but in high school I met AP Calculus and that dream was indefinitely deferred.)
At the 2015 Organization of American Historians conference in St. Louis, we interviewed OUP authors and journal editors to understand their views on the history discipline. Gathering at the OUP booth, scholars – working in fields ranging from women’s history to racial history, cultural history to immigration history – discussed topics both professional and personal.