Author Archive

James F. Brooks

Neon City: Power lines and plundered lands

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I hope NCPH members and The Public Historian subscribers will enjoy our second foray into digital special editions tuned to the current moment in public history. Our Monuments, Memory, Politics, and Our Publics issue of last September responded to public debates around the removal of “Lost Cause” monuments then in the news. Read More

TPH turns forty

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Editor’s note: We publish TPH editor James F. Brooks’s introduction to the February 2018 issue of The Public Historian. The entire issue is available online to National Council on Public History members.

Forty years ago, G. Wesley Johnson, a historian of colonial West Africa, penned the first of what would become scores of Editor’s Corners (at the time, “Editor’s Prefaces”) to launch the first issue of The Public Historian. Read More

Rust, recreation, and reflection

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Editor’s note: We publish TPH editor James F. Brooks’s introduction to the November 2017 issue of The Public Historian. The entire issue is available online to National Council on Public History members.

I recently spent several weeks exploring the remnants of coal towns in southern Colorado, as well as associated public history interpretive sites like the United Mine Workers’ (UMW) memorial at the site of the Ludlow Massacre, the Walsenberg Coal Mining Museum, the Cokedale Mining Museum, and the Steelworks Center of the West in Pueblo. Read More

Monumental moments

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George Washington Custis Lee, on horseback, with staff in Richmond, Virgina, at the unveiling of a monument to Jefferson Davis, in June 1907. Photo credit: Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-58277. Photograph by Edyth Carter Beveridge.

On Monday, August 14, roped and yanked from its pedestal by people angered by the violence that unfolded the preceding night in Charlottesville, Virginia, a statue commemorating “THE BOYS WHO WORE THE GRAY” lay crumpled on the lawn before the old courthouse in Durham, North Carolina.  Read More

A vexing issue

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Editor’s note: We publish TPH editor James F. Brooks’s introduction to the August 2017 issue of The Public Historian. The entire issue is available online to National Council on Public History members.

At first glance, a collection of essays that range from Jesuit Mission historic sites to faux Indian statuary to Liberty ships and war museums seem impossible to arrange in a conceptual matrix—at once evidence of the great range of public history engagements and, simultaneously, a scattershot deployment of their substance. Read More