Why I’m Glad I Majored in History

Given my occupation, this title may suggest a one-line post: I studied history in college; I teach history at a college. But I rarely draw very much on the historical knowledge I acquired from the fine professors of the William & Mary history department. I did take a lot of modern European history courses there, but I suspect that the content of my … More Why I’m Glad I Majored in History

When Did the Events of 1861-1865 Become “The Civil War”?

Over the weekend the always-interesting blog Disunion (hosted by the New York Times website) posted “The Name of War,” in which Georgetown University history professors Chandra Manning and Andrew Rothman tracked the evolving answer to a seemingly obvious question: What did Americans call the war fought between the Confederacy and Union from 1861 to 1865? … More When Did the Events of 1861-1865 Become “The Civil War”?


I wish it were William Farish’s fault. Grading that is. Google “history of grading” and you’ll find this Cambridge University tutor blamed for having invented grades ca. 1792 as a way to evaluate more students more quickly and thereby collect more fees. But according to Mary Lovett Smallwood’s 1935 monograph, Examinations and Grading Systems in … More Grading