History blogs

About a month ago I was reminded that many famous people in history are overlooked these days in our public discourse. The best ideas from the past are often ignored. Our modern culture doesn’t integrate them into our media, and even some history textbooks devote more space to celebrities like Madonna than to important leaders like George Washington. Sex sells. History doesn’t.

So I decided that maybe hundreds or thousands of historic figures should become bloggers, or that someone should start blogging on their behalf, using their own words.

So Blake Snow (who blogs for Weblogs, Inc. and is over our Provo Labs blogging networks) set about to make this happen. And in the past month we have found editors for more than two dozen historical blogs. Our concept is to say what they would say if there were still with us, if they were observing current events and participating in current debates.

We ask the blog editors to be faithful to their original words and intent. We aren’t trying to spin their opinions to prove our own points. But, whether our editors are faithful or not, the fact is we will see more great ideas from history coming into the blogosphere where the ideas and opinions can be discussed and debated. I think this new history blogger network will be a great contribution to the blogosphere.

You can become a history blogger by visiting Worldhistory.com and clicking on the bloggers wanted link.

Or check out some of the history blogs that have already launched:

Abraham Lincoln Blog
Confucius Blog
George F Kennan Blog
John Locke Blog
Plato Blog
Queen Elizabeth Blog
Benjamin Franklin Blog
Charles Darwin Blog
Franklin D. Roosevelt Blog
Gandhi Blog
H. G. Wells Blog
John F. Kennedy Blog
Joshua A. Norton Blog
Martin Luther King Blog
Napolean Blog
Robert Browning Blog
Thomas Paine Blog
Thomas Jefferson Blog
Woodrow Wilson Blog

http://www.johnadamsblogging.com *
http://www.isaiahberlinblog.com *
http://www.churchillblog.com *
http://www.marktwainblog.com *
http://www.harriettubmanblog.com *

* denotes pending content

So what do you think of this idea? And how well are the blog editors doing so far? Are they being true to the historic figures they are blogging for?

Which figures in history would you like to see blogs for? And which would you like to add to your blog roll?

We welcome your feedback!

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9 Comments

  1. A quick question– I noticed there are only a couple of women listed. At the risk of branding myself as a feminist… are we going to have some more representation for the historical ladies?

    Suggestions would be:

    Virginia Woolf
    Helen Keller
    Margaret Mead
    Susan B. Anthony
    Isadora Duncan
    Rosa Parks
    Georgia O’ Keefe
    Ayn Rand
    Amelia Earhart
    Mother Theresa
    Florence Nightingale

  2. Cory

    It is an interesting idea. I would be curious to know what criteria you used in picking the bloggers you have picked thus far… I would also love to know more about each of them… Are they authors? history teachers?

    It seems strange to view the blog and not be able to see any personal information about the blogger standing behind the historical persona. (or the little man in the land of OZ standing behind the curtain)

    It appears to me that the Bloggers who have been given the stewardship over providing quotes from the various historical figures are also choosing context… using the quotes to make a point and perhaps promote their own philosophical, political or religious agenda… which is not all bad I guess.

    I suspect a liberal would pick a different quote from Abraham Lincoln to make a point about the current war in Iraq than a conservative would.

  3. Joe

    Did you consider using a wiki instead of a blog for these sites? This would allow the community to participate. By opening it up for anyone who is interested to write for these historical figures you would solve some of the concerns posted in the comments above. The editors are doing a great job, but I think we would get a more correct writing of the historical figure with many people collaborating on the writing. The editors could always have final say on what is approved in the wiki.

  4. Kimball White

    As the editor for the Franklin D. Roosevelt blog, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to express FDR’s opinions on current events. I may not know exactly what his views would be, but through his quotes I can get a general idea.

  5. May I add my history blog to the list? minaev.blogspot.com is a blog specialized in history of Russia. There are also articles on history of other countries, but it turns out that Russian history is not covered well in the Internet and I, being a Russian, can help those interested in the history of this country. 🙂

  6. Russell Page

    It seems like there would be enough actual spoken info from everyone of these people that you could always just quote them and would never have to “write” for them.

    It would be cool to then feed all of these to a single blog where you could basically go to one source.

  7. Tim Tyler

    Dear Mr. Allen (tl),

    Speaking for myself, and hopefully to as great an extent as possible, for Mr. Franklin, I am proud to be one of the lucky contributors to the concept you and Mr. Snow have created and set in motion.
    I will always do my best to leave well enough alone, and let Poor Richard speak for himself. His thoughts are plenty cogent today, for today, notwithstanding generations of change, the major difference being, if Ben Franklin was living now, the internet, not to mention the blogosphere, would be radically altered. He would have done it!
    The least I can do is help him speak through BenFranklinBlogging. Thanks for the opportunity!
    -Tim Tyler

  8. Marshall Burtcher

    Paul,

    This idea is first tantalizing, and second, concerning. How does one propose to be unbiased and “true” to the historical figure’s point-of-view and perception?

    I’ll watch and see where this goes. It could be rather humourous, especially if the writers adopt the “speak” of the figure’s time to describe current events. Further, if their openings reflected a “shock” of realization that things have “changed” a bit. Should make for good creative writing. Isn’t it great to test things out and see where they go?

  9. Emily

    “some history textbooks devote more space to celebrities like Madonna than to important leaders like George Washington.” Can you please provide a citation for this or an example of a textbook that does such a thing? I’m interested in how prevalent this actually is.

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