Category: history of knowledge

    Getting the News

    lithograph with gray tint stone

    Crowds lining up to get their letters and newspapers at the post office on Pike and Clay Streets in San Francisco, California, ca. 1850. This was a decade before the East and West Coasts were linked by rail and telegraph. Besides getting news through the mails, note the many conversations people were having while they did so.

    Source: Library of Congress PPOC,

    Children Watching

    “The Children Were Watching,” dir. Robert Drew and Richard Leacock, USA 1961, 25 min. – This documentary doesn’t feel as old to me as I wish it did. In part that’s because I watched it in Trump’s America during an especially difficult year, but something deeper is at play. The film’s ongoing relevance represents an ambiguous answer to its directors' main question: What were the children of a New Orleans neighborhood learning as they watched their parents during the conflicts surrounding school integration in November 1960?

    New Blog

    My latest editorial project: Migrant Knowledge, a blog with Andrea Westermann and Swen Steinberg for the German Historical Institute Washington.


    Pastel: middle-aged black woman in a blue, short-sleeved housecoat is sitting at a table with a well worn text book and a clump of papers. Her eyes are pointed down toward these materials, and a pencil is in her right hand.
    "The Writing Lesson" (pastel) by Morris Schulman, sponsored by the WPA, ca. 1935–43, The New York Public Library.

    I blogged some thoughts on this compelling image recently at History of Knowledge.

    Information and Meaning

    False information gains strength from its roots in stories that make sense to a lot of people; mow down the latest false facts and more will soon sprout until we address those stories themselves—and the reasons people believe them.

    Paul, J. Croce, “What We Can Learn from Fake News,” History News Network, July 23, 2017.

    Cultural History and the History of Knowledge

    In a blog post earlier this month, “From Cultural History to the History of Knowledge”, Johan Östling and David Larsson Heidenblad examine the attraction and potential utility of the history of knowledge as an historiographical approach. Particularly helpful is their attempt to tease out its relationship to cultural history.

    Child Labor in the United States

    Blogged on History of Knowledge in honor of May Day: “Sources: Child Labor in the United States”

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