Archive for the 'Historians' Category

Henry Adams’ Tendency of History

January 4, 2009

Henry Adams’ Tendency of History. Posthumously published in ‘The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma,’ 1920.


Dr. Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, 1797-1880

May 15, 2007

Dr. Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan was born at Mallow, near Cork, Ireland in 1797. He studied medicine in his native country and in Paris, and came to Canada in 1823. He took an interest in politics on the patriots’ side and fled to America settling in Albany in 1837. He worked in American History, especially with colonial New York history. The last decade of his life was spent in New York City where he died on May 29, 1880.

The catalog of his library (Google’s Harvard copy is annotated by Luther S. Livingston) sold in December, 1882, & compiled by E. W. Nash. “The best working library of Americana in general, and New York Americana in particular ever offered at public sale.”

Biographical sources

John G. Shea printed an account of O’Callaghan in the Magazine of American History, v. 77.
Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online


History of New Netherland or New York, Under the Dutch 1846.
Volume I, 1848
Volume II, 1855

Records and Historical Documents Published by the State of New York.

Hot off the presses; obsessively

September 11, 2006

Is there a joy more robust and clear than reading a biography? Perpaps scoring one penned by S. E. Morison, whose entries in the Dictionary of American Biography read like full length books condensed down into a few paragraphs. (For proof of this see Morison’s ‘Elbridge Gerry, 1744-1814’ from the Base Set.) Here in Supplement 3, Morison treats the “father of History 13” with overflowing pride, the elect commending the elect, delving into wistfulness while maintaining appropriate acumen. It’s a classic tale of what an old man was in 1940. “Students regarded him as a sort of Rip Van Winkle; he wandered aimlessly through the stacks of Harvard’s Widener Library like a bearded ghost.

In defense of my obsession with the DNB, Dan Cohen writes in a defense of blogging here “When I was in graduate school, the Russian historian Paul Bushkovitch once told me that the key to being a successful scholar was to become completely obsessed with a historical topic, to feel the urge to read and learn everything about an event, an era, or a person. In short, to become so knowledgeable and energetic about your subject matter that you become what others immediately recognize as a trusted, valuable expert. As it turns out, blogs are perfect outlets for obsession.” This is a point I both recognize and heartily agree with. Knowledge is obsession.

Without further adieu, I present to those with the most discerning taste Samuel Eliot Morison’s biography of Albert Bushnell Hart from the Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 3: 1941-1945.