J. L. Bell — Digging and Debunking: Using Online Tools to Investigate the Myths of American History
Digging and Debunking: Using Online Tools to Investigate the Myths of American History
From Founders’ quotes to inspirational legends to details that historians have repeated for so long that nobody considers where they came from, our history abounds with assertions that we should be skeptical about. This workshop discusses how to assess such historical tales and tidbits. It will share tactics for using Google Books and other free resources to pinpoint when and where stories arose, and lay out the dynamic of “grandmother’s tales,” “memory creep,” and other ways legends spread. And every so often these techniques reveal that a story almost too good to be true is supported by solid evidence.
[Recorded on 13 August 2022.]
J. L. Bell is the proprietor of the Boston 1775 website (boston1775.blogspot.com), providing daily helpings of history, analysis, and unabashed gossip about Revolutionary New England. He is the author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, a book-length study for the National Park Service about General George Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and numerous articles and book chapters.