Monday, September 29, 2008

First-Person Accounts #2: Many Pasts

Today's post continues the series looking at first-person historical accounts, with an eye to mining the websites for accounts of the Northwest.

Many Pasts "contains primary documents in text, image, and audio about the experiences of ordinary Americans throughout U.S. history. All of the documents have been screened by professional historians and are accompanied by annotations that address their larger historical significance and context." It is part of the terrific History Matters website from George Mason University's Center for History and New Media.

Many pasts contains over 1000 primary accounts and is searchable. A search for "Wobblies" produces an evocative anti-IWW cartoon (seen on on the right), a Wobbly poem titled “The Lumberjack’s Prayer ("I pray dear Lord for Jesus' sake, Give us this day a T-Bone Steak...), a description of the difficulties of rural work from an IWW organizer, and The Paterson Strike Pageant Program (a public page ant in support of an IWW strike, organized by John Reed and Bill Haywood).

Other northwest material include “For Oregon!” Settlers From Illinois Describe the New Territory, 1847; Executive Order 9066: The President Authorizes Japanese Relocation; Congress Investigates the 1934 San Francisco Strike; and the delightful “Nobody Would Eat Kraut”: Lola Gamble Clyde on Anti-German Sentiment in Idaho During World War I.

The advanced search option at Many Pasts is very sophisticated, allowing searches limited by topic and primary source type and across different History Matters collections.

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