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So many moons ago we had a pretty cool History thread that I enjoyed a bunch, but when it got to 100 pages we never made a new one. Well, I officially changed my major to history this week after realizing that maybe I should spend the next 4 years of my life learning something I actually enjoy, and so I thought I'd celebrate by starting a new history thread.
In this case "cool stuff" just means "really interesting", so it's cool if we talk about terrible stuff too, most of history is depressing for somebody after all.
As this thread goes along I'd like to add more resources to the OP, especially primary sources that through the modern wonders of technology are now available for free online. A couple to start us off with (I've been doing a lot of American women's history reading lately):
Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839 by Frances Anne Kemble
A British actress meets the heir to an Antebellum Plantation, marries him and moves to America for the first time. Her collected letters to a friend back home struggle to comprehend the magnitude of the horrors of slavery, as well as the softer imprisonment of marriage. Well-intentioned but god damn do you want to reach through time and smack her in the face every few pages.
A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Chesnut
Unlike Kemble, Chesnut was born and raised in the South and idealized the south far more, although she wasn't blind to its especial abuse of women. Her Diary goes from 1861 through the end of the Civil War, and her eyewitness accounts of many important episodes from the war have been a vital part of Civil War history (maybe even a bit too vital, at that).
The Collected Writings of Nellie Bly
Nellie Bly is just generally awesome, fun reading. There weren't a lot of young smartass writers around in the 1880's and '90s! One of the first ever investigative journalists, she got herself committed to a mental institution, went around the world in 80 days, fled Mexico ahead of an order for her arrest, and interviewed factory workers, Pullman strikers, homeless women, and prizefighters. I may or may not totally have a crush on her.
The Memoirs of Madison Hemmings 1805-1877
A black freedman, Madison Hemmings was the son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings. He reminisces about his life at Monticello, his father, and his life since leaving.
History Matters is a resource for US History primary documents, as well as essays and activities designed to teach analysis skills of documents and images.
A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.