In the begininng


Me and “Abe” at Nationals Park

There was this post. This was the first post.

Hello and welcome to my blog. I’m a Masters student at American University in Washington, D.C., in the Public History program. I’ve created this blog for History 677 “History and New Media,” and have some ideas about what I’ll post outside of my responses to the readings. But the reason I’m excited to start this blog is that I can see it going in many different directions, so who knows what it’ll end up looking like in the weeks, months and years ahead.

A little about myself: I’m originally from Washington, D.C., and a big fan of our sports teams (even when they continually break my heart). I received a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, where I wrote for the school newspaper and was in the Pep Band (Go Quakers!). I wrote my senior honors thesis on Andrew Jackson’s election, and my historical interest is the U.S. from roughly the Revolutionary Period through the Civil War. I currently work at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington D.C., a non-profit historic site where Abraham Lincoln spent 1/4 quarter of his Presidency, including the summer and fall of 1862 when he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. We’re open 362 days a year for tours, so come visit!

Please follow me on twitter @zachhistoryau, and if you have any questions or comments, write me an email at zk9098 AT american dot edu. Let me know if you have any thoughts on the blog.

To paraphrase one of my favorite Presidents (in case there was any doubt), thanks for joining me as I blog about “The mystic chords of memory” that make up our national history.


PS While messing around with some of Word Press’ features, I decide to insert a poll asking about favorite historical eras, plus a few topics. Apologies if my inherent biases as a mostly political historian focused on the U.S. affected the choices. Just wanted to get a broad sense of what people were interested in, so it’s not meant to be exhaustive.


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About Zach Klitzman

A History Grad student at American University

3 responses to “In the begininng”

  1. Evan Phifer says :

    One of the visual advantages of studying the mid-late 19th century is the proliferation of photography to help us visualize the people, places, and events of that era. As a student of Jacksonian America, what are some ideas you have of how we as public historians can help the public visualize the early 19th century?

    • zk9098a says :

      Great question Evan. That’s certainly a challenge for covering Jacksonian America. It’s especially true since there’s such an emphasis on “the People” of that age, and how they started to emerge as an actual political entity, but very few images of regular Americans.

      Personally, I find two historical image types to be very helpful in this regard. First, historical maps are a great tool when trying to visualize a certain era, such as Jacksonian America. The physical geography of a place dictates the “action on the ground” more than you might think. So looking at old maps gives you a sense of the physical realities of people’s lives.

      In addition, political cartoons can be an invaluable resource when assessing how a certain society views its leaders and issues. Just scanning cartoons of Jackson (google image search here: you get a sense of how his bold Presidential actions were often seen in a negative light. Of course, political cartoons are a) partisan and b) almost exclusively focused on national leaders/issues. So it certainly doesn’t give the complete story, let alone lets you visualize day to day interactions of non-elites who were not int he spot light.


  2. Dan Kerr says :

    Nice initial post. More on the blog itself: I love the header photo, but maybe play around with the theme some more. I like the twitter widget.

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