Benjamin Shambaugh and the Intellectual Foundations of by Rebecca Conard

By Rebecca Conard

Although his identify is little recognized this day outdoors Iowa, in the course of the early a part of the 20th century Benjamin Shambaugh (1871–1940) used to be a key determine within the historic occupation. utilizing his special profession as a lens, Conard's seminal paintings is the 1st publication to think about public heritage as an essential component of the highbrow improvement of the historic career as an entire within the United States.

Conard attracts upon an unpublished, mid-1940s biography through learn historian Jacob Swisher to track the forces that formed Shambaugh's early years, his management of the kingdom ancient Society of Iowa, his improvement of utilized historical past and commonwealth background within the 1910s and Twenties, and the alterations in his pondering and occupation through the Thirties. Framing this intriguingly interwoven narrative are chapters that contextualize Shambaugh's expert improvement in the improvement of the old career as a complete within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries and examine his occupation in the post-World battle II emergence of the fashionable public background movement.

Shambaugh's occupation speaks to those that think within the strength of background to have interaction and encourage neighborhood audiences in addition to those that think that historians may still follow their wisdom and techniques outdoor the academy in pursuit of the better public good.

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64 In library holdings, the largest state libraries were in Pennsylvania (reporting 315,000 titles), Wisconsin (280,000), and Massachusetts (155,000). Among local historical societies, only the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, reported a large library collection (400,000 titles). In contrast, nineteen state societies and forty-seven local societies reported library holdings of fewer than 10,000 books and pamphlets; thirty state societies and seventy-eight local societies reported no library holdings at all.

The professor then directed his students to the library of the state historical society. 57 Today, many history professors set their students to research in primary documents in local repositories, but it was an arresting concept in 1905. Scroggs perceived, however, that this teaching strategy would actually produce greater benefits for historical societies. “The problem to be solved,” he judged, “is how to arouse the interest of these students in local history so as to secure their participation after leaving college in the work of historical societies.

By then, the SHSW had established a solid reputation for publishing historical documents important to the study of frontier history, but the society also published “attractive essays on the local history of the State . . ”37 Thwaites noted that the SHSW also functioned as something of a public information bureau, supplying local newspapers with articles on local history and routinely answering inquiries from legislators, state agency staff, teachers, and just plain citizens. Another function combined fieldwork and what would today be called field services, soliciting documentary and artifactual material from private citizens, recording the memories of pioneers, and organizing local historical societies as “auxiliaries” to augment the capacity and the ability of the state historical society to preserve the state’s history.

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