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When I think and write about history, I use words. My book about my father’s transformation from boy to man during his service in WWII relied on the more than 300 letters he wrote home to his family, his diary, and the writings of others in the European Theatre and historical accounts. My current project […]

IMG_9235

I spent several days last week working through archived papers of women journalists. I’d been to the National Women and Media Collection at the University of Missouri before, but this time I was concentrating on the correspondence of the women I study, gazing at their professional and personal lives as I leafed through files of […]

detroit busing

In 1972, Michigan Judge Stephen Roth ruled in Bradley v. Millikin that the requirement to integrate the Detroit Public Schools could not be achieved within the geographical limits of the city. He ordered that the remedy should be a program of busing between inner city and suburban schools. Suburbia erupted with rage: protests, effigy hangings, […]

obituaries

Even when I was young, the obituaries were “must reading” in my local newspaper. I wasn’t a morbid child – indeed, I felt pretty anxious about death (still do, truth be told) – but obituaries aren’t really about death. They’re about lives. As Bill McDonald, obituary editor for the New York Times said, “The obit […]

history

Where were you when? It’s a question we ask about iconic historic events. Where were you when … we landed on the moon? You heard Kennedy was assassinated? The plane hit the second tower? Where were you when? It’s a way to place ourselves in history. To show that we have borne witness to things […]

Queen Elizabeth

It was one month before Mom turned 90 – I knew that. It was three months before she died – I didn’t know that. We were in her small photo-lined room in the assisted living facility outside Seattle. Mom was sunk into her blue velour recliner, a hand-crocheted afghan draped over her always-cold knees. I […]

Women network

Ever since I studied structured communication patterns as a graduate student, I’ve had a viscerally negative reaction to “network” as a verb. In this age of social media, though, such usage – and “networking” itself – is largely unavoidable. I’m a bit of a lightweight, but you can follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook […]

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