A deer in Adirondack Hall
Outreach :: Local Government Historians :: Additional Resources
Local Historians and Their Activities

by Judith M. Wellman

Published January 1982 During the last ten years, local history in one of its many guises--community history, historic preservation, museum studies, genealogy, urban history, ethnic studies, and interest in local records of all kinds, has captured the imagination of Americans all over the country. As individuals, local historians certainly share in the nationwide excitement. But, as a group, what roles do local historians play in this drama? Or even more specifically, what are the roles of the municipal and county historians in New York State?

Local historians work in a field whose very name is deceptive. At first, local history seems simple enough to define. One might reasonably argue that local history is the study of life at a local level. Yet what is local? Is it state, region, town, village, crossroads, house? To what extent do people in the locality define themselves and thus generate unique cultural forms? To what extent do people's thoughts, words, and deeds reflect forces outside the locality? Local history encompasses life in its most personal form --life bounded by death and embracing love and work, and then every variation imaginable on those inter-twining, inescapable essentials. What explains this field's continuing fascination for so many people? But simple, local history is not. The seeming simplicity of the term, "local history," camouflages immense complexity.

Books that call themselves state, local, or regional histories often are very like other kinds of history books. John Williams, who surveyed material on state history written during the twentieth century, concluded that state history was not really a field since it lacked what he called a "coherent and bounded character." In terms of methods, topics, and sources, state history resembled any other kind of history. It was what any particular historian chose to make it. Others have argued along similar lines concluding that the study of state and local history today lacks both a conceptual framework and a workable methodology. The whole field is in a state of flux, caught between old paradigms and new. At this point, there is no real agreement on appropriate questions, much less on answers.1

Local historians have very little to guide them. The law that established the office is an old one. The volume of published material specifically directed to local historians is slim. There is not enough feedback or organized action by those who know most about the job--other local historians. And, there is not enough interaction between local historians and those people in colleges and universities who are becoming more and more interested in local history and in local records. Given the complexity of this field and the wide variety of personal interests and personal styles, we can best begin by asserting that in diversity there is strength. Grassroots action, personal commitment, high standards of respect for evidence, and a genuine desire to be of service have carried individual local historians forward for a long time. Perhaps these will continue to be the prime sources of effectiveness.

Nevertheless, there also is virtue in trying to see some broader patterns amidst this rich texture, in sitting down together to assess the current situation, and then attempting to define problems and identify priorities for the future. That certainly is not the end of it, for there are no answers. But we do have some thoughts on how we might more clearly define the questions. Why are Americans so caught up in their local history? How has this interest affected groups such as archivists, preservationists, the museum community, academic historians, and genealogists? How have local historians responded to the demands of new audiences? What resources are available to provide further insight? What can local historians do to define their own objectives and to get the resources they need to carry them out? And finally, what are some possible priorities for coordinated action?

Like running and religion, local history is now a national passion. Why should this be particularly true during the latter stages of the twentieth century? For those who are enraptured by the study of local history, intellectual curiosity remains a compelling motivation. The study of local and family history in its purest sense is a fascinating intellectual exercise. Like historical studies of any kind, local history offers a never-ending series of tantalizing mysteries. Each solution only leads to another question, the answer to which may lie, literally, in the lay of the land, or in the character of local buildings, or in printed or manuscript sources, or in the lives and memories of local people. Although all these sources may contain clues, they all remain silent and uninformative without the active and inquiring mind of a historian who picks and chooses the pieces that seem to fit this particular puzzle and who describes the picture that seems to emerge, filling in the blank spaces with insight and empathy, to produce a plausible reconstruction of a part of the past, always remembering that it is just that--a reconstruction, not the reality. Who could resist such a compelling occupation?

Yet intellectual curiosity alone does not explain the attraction. Why do people choose to study history? Part of the answer lies in the overall pattern of the present world, a pattern that most of us perceive only dimly, if at all. Hindsight provides better vision. Looking back through time, certain ages seemed to be turning points in terms of economic organization, political and social structures, and patterns of thought. New problems or questions generated new excitement, new movement, and a creative search for new solutions. They also generated new tensions, new anxieties, new questions about the relationship of individuals to institutions, of process and structure, of what Frederick Tonnies described in 1887 as gemeinschaft--a kind of folk and communal mentality--versus gesellschaft--a world-view that emphasized more formal institutions and earned rather than ascribed status. Such a time of churning and change was the mid-nineteenth century in the United States. Such a time, some would argue, is the present. Interestingly enough, both periods produced in this country the two main peaks of popular interest in local history.

Whatever the underlying causes of this public enthusiasm for local history, it has had a strong impact on the related fields of archives, historic preservation, and museums, on the writing and teaching of history, and on genealogy. Archi-vists are paying increasing attention to records and manuscripts relating to family and community history. And, local public records themselves will benefit from a new awareness of their importance. Historic preservation has been one of the fastest growing areas of local history. Not only does preservation involve historians, but it has made a significant impact on urban planning and on the physical appearance of our communities. Enthusiasm for local history has rejuvenated many local historical societies as well. In 1977, the State Museum surveyed cultural organizations across the State. More than 70% of the 620 agencies that responded identified themselves as history museums. Most of these were small local or regional organizations.2

Concern for local history also has made a profound impression on the kind of work produced by historians, as scholars and teachers. In 1978, for example, one-quarter of the papers given at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians dealt in some way with community history. The primary biographical index to articles and books in American History, AMERICA: HIS-TORY AND LIFE, includes state and local history as one of its largest sections. And, family history and community studies are by far the largest categories in the Division of Historical and Anthropological Services' annual bibliography, RE-SEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE HISTORY.

Many of these historical works deal with what became the dominant concerns of academically trained American historians during the 1970s--social history, women's history, black and ethnic history, family history, and community history. Many of these studies have been locally focused. But, most of them are quite different from the local history that local historians traditionally have produced. They are also different in some ways from the work that most academically trained social historians themselves produced before the mid-twentieth century. Indeed, they are so different that some people have called them the "New Social History."

The new histories are focused on people, events, or processes rather than on the institutional development of local areas. Often they deal with large numbers of people or with a total population instead of just a selected few. To make this possible, they often rely on quantification and statistics. The new histories tend not to be simply narratives or collections of anecdotes, as were many of the nineteenth century local histories, but instead they focus on a theme (often dealing with only one part of the life of community residents such as economics or social mobility, or work, or the family), and they usually include analysis as well as narrative.

During the 1970s, scholars used well-known material in new ways and searched for what to them were nontraditional sources. Diaries, letters, newspapers, local histories, and literary sources of all Kinds retain their immense value. But historians have supplemented, and sometimes even supplanted, such sources with nonliterary evidence -- particularly with all kinds of lists. Lists of church members, participants in local elections, signers of antislavery petitions, members of local temperance societies, passengers on ships, factory workers, family members, taxpayers, town residents - you name it and some historian will be fascinated by it. Because, unlike literary material, lists usually make an effort to be inclusive--to include all the members of a family (as in a genealogy), or all the residents of a town (as in a census), or all the taxpayers (as in an assessment roll). Historians call this comprehensive type of information systematic data.

Using systematic data as evidence, and borrowing techniques and theories from many social sciences, the new historians have looked at questions ranging from whether or not American immigrants generally have experienced upward mobility (answer: a qualified yes); to whether or not extended families changed to nuclear families as part of the process that some people have called modernization (answer: not really); to whether or not American women consistently have produced about the same number of children per woman at different times in American history (answer: definitely not).

Local historians are familiar with these materials because traditionally they have been very important to genealogists. Indeed, many genealogists themselves have been caught up in the new history. Genealogists who once thought it most important to trace their families backwards to some well-known personage, for example, now are more involved in tracing their families forward through history. The historian Samuel Hays has argued that in many ways, "the new social history is simply the new genealogy writ large." And, "when the social historians begin to work with family history and to focus on a broader network of kinship relation-ships over time, and [when] the genealogist begins to spend time and effort in indexing the same manuscript census returns that historians use, it is time for the two groups to examine their common ground."3

That common ground belongs not only to the genealogist and the academic historian but also to the archivist, to the museum curator and to the preservationist. Most importantly, that common ground belongs to the local historian. Suddenly, it seems that many people, both locally and across the nation, seem to be interested in this turf. Thus, the local historian begins confronting a whole array of new audiences with new kinds of questions and with new needs.

How should the local historian respond? There are two levels of answers to this question. One level is individual. How will each historian choose to define the job? This level is the one at which most local historians operate whether by necessity or by choice. The other level is collective. How will historians, as members of the body of officially appointed historians in New York State, choose to define their jobs? Both levels are important.

Combining personal predilections with the perceived needs of the audience, local historians have accomplished the following. They have written both scholarly and popular books and articles. They have answered queries from local government officials and local residents. They have responded to mail from genealogists and history buffs across the country. They have spoken to local groups. They have organized historical societies, Yorker clubs, and preservation groups. They have accumulated artifacts, photographs, printed materials, and manuscripts. They have developed card files about local people and local events. They have participated in surveys of buildings and of local records. They have recorded information from cemeteries. They have written articles for the local newspaper, kept newspaper clippings, and have indexed newspapers. They have presented local history programs to school and adult education groups. They have attended historical meetings of all kinds, including meetings with other local historians. Sometimes, they even have managed to get their annual reports in on time.

In short, responding to observed public need and to the texture of the historical record in each locality, the local historians have carried out their honorable and essential function as keepers of our collective past in whatever ways they saw fit. For this task, most have received no pay and only a minimal budget for supplies and equipment. With luck, they might have received money for travel to official meetings. But most historians have done their work primarily because they loved to do it, both for its intellectual rewards and because it offered a chance for real public service.

So it has been the historians themselves who have been the only people to date able to define the scope and fabric of their activities. These activities admittedly are diverse. But most of the local historian's duties and responsi-bilities fall into four basic categories:

First, most local historians have seen themselves, at least in part, as preservationists. They have attempted to collect, preserve, and protect local historical materials, whether they were public records, manuscripts generated by individuals or organizations, current newspaper clippings, genealogical files, or even artifacts. They have done this so that the past will not be lost. Local historians have kept their own files at their office or at home. In the ease of public records, they have encouraged public officials to provide adequate storage and access in public facilities. In relation to the built environment, they have led the fight to save and restore their community's historic buildings. And, they have worked with local museums and libraries to provide care for manuscripts and artifacts generated by non-governmental sources.

Second, most local historians have been active as scholars, both as re-searchers and as writers. The best local historians have upheld high standards of gathering and evaluating evidence, making thoughtful and appropriate generali-zations, writing well-organized and readable narratives, and sharing their work with others through the most appropriate mediums. Certainly, these two functions as preservationist and scholar are essential tasks. They form the core of any local historian's work.

However, local historians often go beyond these two basic functions. Many reach out actively and enthusiastically as teachers and public educators. Through lectures and exhibits, they work directly with students and civic groups to promote knowledge of and interest in local history. Finally, many local historians act not only as educators but also as organizers. Not content only to respond to requests for help from existing groups, many historians have helped meet public needs by creating new organizations devoted to local history. Among those are historical societies, historic preservation groups, and Yorker clubs.

Of these four categories, the first two functions (preservationist and scholar) are the scholarly side of a local historian's work. The last two functions (educator and organizer) are the activist side. Depending on local needs and personal interests, most local historians emphasize some of these categories more than others. However, all of these functions are important. It is appropriate for one historian to write well researched articles on local history and for another to organize a local preservation group.

If many local historians have found ways to carry out their jobs effectively, most have not been as successful in defining and defending their own interests as a group. But, they have made some important beginnings. In 1967, the county historians of New York State formed their own organization. Village, town, and city historians followed in 1971, with the formation of Municipal Historians Association. Some of the MHA's regional affiliates hold regular meetings and publish short newsletters. Still, when searching for a discussion of priorities for coordinated action, one finds very little. The Historian's Law offers a broad functional outline. Publications from the State history office offer some help as well. And, regional and national historical associations can provide assistance in specific areas. Unfortunately, all of these have their limits. None of them really provides the kind of dialogue that local historians need in this time of rapid change.

New York State passed the first Historian's Law in 1919. With slight modification, it remains in force today. But what does it reveal about the job? First, each historian has been authorized "to collect and preserve material relating to the history of the political subdivision for which he or she is appointed, and to file such material in fireproof safes or vaults in the county, city, town or village offices." Also, the historian is empowered to "examine into the condition, classification and safety from fire of the public records of the public offices of such county, city, town or village, and shall call to the attention of the local authorities and the state historian any material of local historic value which should be acquired for preservation." And finally, the historian is required to make an annual report to the appointing officer and to the State Historian and, upon leaving office, to turn over all materials and correspondence to a successor.4

The law provides a general description of the historian's function. It asks, however, as many questions as it answers. Must all material relating to local history be collected, or only a part? Must everything collected be filed in local government offices, even if those offices have no facilities to protect such material? Should some of it be kept at home? Logically, it might seem that the best service would be to store such material in the place where it could be best cared for and made most accessible to the public -- perhaps in the local historical society or the local college library.

Unfulfilled by the law, perhaps publications by the State of New York itself will clarify some of these issues. The State history office did produce several short guides specifically for local historians. Some looked generally at the overall mission of local historians. Two of the most helpful of these are "A Quiz for Local Historians," printed in mimeograph form in 1961, and Margaret C. McNab's "Ethics for a Town Historian," originally delivered as an address at the annual meeting of the Municipal Historians Association in 1972.5 Both are thoughtful and thorough. Both deserve consideration. Neither, however, raises all the questions that need to be asked about the historian's job. When complete, this HISTORIAN'S GUIDE should provide the basic explanation of and curriculum for the local historian's activities.

The serious seeker of knowledge about the function of the local historian finally will turn to national historical associations. None of them speaks directly to the issues. But the American Association for State and Local History comes close. Three-quarters of its members are paid professionals and most of them are employed in local history agencies or museums. But AASLH's resources, including the journal, HISTORY NEWS, technical leaflets, and instructional books, are valuable resources for any local historian.

In New York State, organizations such as the Regional Conference of Historical Agencies (RCHA) and the Federation of Historical Services (FHS) serve a parallel function.6 The National Trust for Historic Preservation, genealogical societies, archival groups, the New York State Studies Group, and the New York State Historical Association also organize helpful activities.

An introduction to scholarly research in American local history requires some effort, but is not impossible. Donald Parker's LOCAL HISTORY: HOW TO GATHER IT, WRITE IT, AND PUBLISH IT recently has been re-published. Thomas Felt's RESEARCHING, WRITING, AND PUBLISHING LOCAL HISTORY is an introduction to techniques written especially for local historians. David Russo's FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES: A NEW VIEW OF AMERICAN HISTORY provides a basic overview of American local history from the nineteenth century to the present. Thomas Bender's COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN AMERICA presents a sophisticated and thoughtful assessment of theories about community. The Newberry Library in Chicago has developed a program in state and commu-nity history and has carried out extensive workshops in this field. Finally, David Gerber, in "Local and Community History: Some Cautionary Remarks on an Idea Whose Time Has Returned," asks us to transcend a narrow parochialism and to focus not only on epic events in a community's history but also on social process.7

These works are only a few of the many methodological and conceptual introductions to local history. In addition, specific studies of particular commu-nities or regions will provide ideas on specific types of sources, methods, and conceptual frameworks. New York State has been rich in this kind of material, but most of it has not reached an audience outside of the university. Alan Kraut's article on Liberty Party voters in the town of Smithfield in Madison County, for example, uses poll lists, newspapers, census reports, and printed local histories to develop a collective biography of political abolitionists in a small upstate community. Such collective biography techniques can be applied to any group of people by using simple descriptive statistics. Paul Johnson's work on Rochester revivals makes creative use of church records, tax lists, and city directories to explore the effect of the Finney revival of 1831. Philip White's study of the Clinton County community of Beekmantown, makes thorough use of many sources, including legislative journals. Mary Ryan's discussion of evangelical religion in nineteenth century Utica makes a contribution not only to the history of religion but also to women's history. Ronald Formisano's and Kathleen Smith Kutolowski's work on Antimasonry in western New York explores the regional roots of a major movement in American politics.8

However, local history guides and scholarly writings speak only to some of the responsibilities of local historians. These sources can provide helpful ideas. But, none of them deals specifically with the local historian's unique function. Neither do they try to identify the questions that are most important to historians as a group. Should the historian then retreat to the community dooryard, and do, if not what comes naturally, at least whatever does come along? Certainly not[ For too long, local historians as individuals creatively and often valiantly have risen to the challenges posed by their constituencies. Given renewed interest in archives, historic preservation, museums, genealogy, and history in general, the historian's job becomes more important than ever. The broad historical commu-nity needs the local historian's efficient, accurate, and generous service very much. Historians need to be able to rely on each other as they have in the past-as individuals with a high sense of purpose, high standards of scholarship, and a genuine concern for public service. We need to rely on our local historians for mutual support for our common goals--preserving the evidence, upgrading library collections, promoting historical organizations, and writing accurate, readable, and useful historical works.

Yet, historians labor under almost impossible circumstances. Not only do most not get paid, often they do not even get money for stamps or file cabinets. This system encourages some of them to end up as hoarders and not promoters of history. Public records, for which the historian has some legal as well as moral obligation, are lost or destroyed because a town board did not consult its historian before sending them to the dump. Researchers impose upon them. And, those who should ask for help (like local government officials), often do not.

When historians turn for assistance to the law that established them, or to the State Education Department that guides them, or to other historical organi-zations, or even to other historians, they may feel like the elephant that the blind men touched. Everyone, you discover, has a different idea about what historians are and what they should be. All of these sources describe parts of the job. None of them defines it fully. None of them speaks for the local historian.

Now is the time for local historians to speak for themselves. Like the many varieties of grasses that grow in a meadow, historians have among themselves much diversity. And, in diversity there is strength. But they also have much in common. And, in unity also there is strength. Individual historians have developed effective activities at the grass-roots level. But there are many problems that cannot be solved alone. Now is the time for historians to pool their collective wisdom to define their own goals, to identify their own problems, to begin to work together toward solutions that cannot be reached as well, if at all, as isolated individuals. The public needs the local historian's services very much. But no one not the State, not the AASLH, not the academic historian no matter how well meaning, can assess the current situation, define goals, and set priorities as well as local historians can through their own organizational network.

The task breaks itself down into a series of questions. Who is the audience? What are the historian's objectives? What can be done to achieve those objectives? What resources are needed to carry out essential activities? And how will historians get those resources? Too many historians start with the last question, decide they do not have enough money, and never get around to asking the first questions. On the other hand, after deciding on the "what," one often can find some resources to support the actual work.

Some of these points require more discussion. What constitutes the historian's constituency? Obviously, the local historian must provide service to the local government and to people who live within the community. But how responsive need one be to the genealogist who writes from California? What are a historian's obligations to the consulting firm hired by the town government to prepare a cultural resources study? And, must the historian serve all constituents equally? What about the student who wants to use the historian as the sole source for a term paper? Flattering, perhaps, but is it ethical? How prepared are local historians to deal with a black or Hispanic migrant worker who asks for information about the history of labor camps in the local fruit industry? Should the historian ever charge for services? What is the historian's interest in school children, women's groups, labor unions, and senior citizens in a locality? Local historians usually respond with enthusiasm to people who ask them questions. But are the people who seek them out the ones they really want to reach? Even the town government, which should know enough to consult its historian, often does not. A simple cheek with a local historian might reveal, as it did in one upstate county, that place names on new road signs did not always correspond to the official names of streets and villages.

Working with the constituency, the historian must define the goals that are most important. Will it be simply to respond to inquiries? To educate people more broadly about history? To preserve records? To develop a genealogical collection? To save local landmarks? All of these goals are legitimate and all are within the historian's legal mandate. At various times, local historians have been involved in all of them. But are there certain priorities that most historians might agree on?

The preservation of local records is an area that deserves immediate and consistent action--statewide. Nothing is more important to ail interested in local history than records preservation. Yet, in 1980, storage conditions for local records in New York State range from very good to absolutely deplorable. And, the decision on whether particular records should receive one kind of treatment or another has been independent of any pressure exerted by historians. Deeds, for example, generally are kept in reasonable condition because they still are important for buying and selling property. Assessment records, which are just as important for historical purposes, often are stored in abysmal surroundings. Even worse than storing records in poor condition is not keeping them at all. Local government officials may decide, without consulting their historian, that some of their nineteenth century materials are fire hazards and immediately should be taken to the dump. This is not a wild and fanciful nightmare. It has happened in several places in this State.

But rather than condemn local officials, who after all are not historians, those who do care about such records and who do know how valuable they are for historical purposes {lave a special obligation to work toward their safe-keeping. Such attention is needed desperately and it also is part of time local historian's legal mandate. Working with the New York State Archives, historians in every city, town, and village are the best group of people available for a task that in many localities has reached the point of crisis. Yet, this is not a task that can be done as well alone as it is together with a concerted plan for united action.

In terms of local history writing itself, a simple overview of recent literature on New York communities would be very helpful. The local historian also might suggest topics that might be especially important to study in many different localities. The historian could develop guidelines for these topics along with a review of relevant literature, suggested themes, possible sources, and appropriate methodology. These "cookbooks" could be prepared on a variety of topics, such as how to analyze changing birth and death rates, how to write a study of a Greek Revival farmhouse, or how to use simple statistical techniques. Over time, several studies might be produced and thus help to build a base for the comparative analyses that are very much needed.

As the historian begins to define goals and priorities, new questions will be raised. What, for example, is the historian's relationship to local historical organizations? Take the case of records preservation. In attempting to collect and preserve historical materials that are not generated by the local government, is the historian theoretically or actually in direct competition with the local historical society or the local public library? Should historians actually collect the material themselves? Or rather, should the historian's goal be to place the historical evidence wherever it can receive the best protection and be most accessible? Sometimes the best place for it is a dining room table. Usually, however, other facilities are more appropriate.

Once priorities have been decided, what resources are needed to carry them out? Where will those resources come from? As a town officer, what resources does the town historian need from the town? What resources do they actually receive? Are they adequate? Do historians receive postage money? Do they have the fireproof vault that they are legally obligated to use but that the town is not legally obligated to provide? Should records be stored in fireproof vaults when other storage facilities might do just as well? Here again, perhaps it is time to re-think the legislative mandate. Should the town provide equipment? Membership in the AASLH? A reference library? What resources might the State of New York provide? Would workshops be helpful? On what topics? More in-service training? More regional meetings? Are more "how to" publications needed?

In turn, how can the historian best help the State of New York provide services to the historical community? The Division of Historical and Anthro-pological Services is attempting to serve its constituents in the best ways possible. Its training Institute for Local Historians, at which this essay originally was delivered, is one of many examples of that effort. The New York State History NETWORK newsletter and the annual bibliography entitled RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS IN NEW YORK STATE HISTORY are others. Yet the Division, as part of State government, is dealing with severe financial limitations. What kind of feedback and support can historians provide for worthwhile programs?

If county and municipal historians in New York State decide to undertake this kind of planning, they might begin by appointing a committee made up of their most knowledgeable and creative people. Such planning will take money and time, and the first task of this committee might well be to seek financial support. Funding agencies may be able to provide money for travel expenses and for consultants who could share their own perspectives from experiences elsewhere in the country. With minimal financial support, such a committee could begin to get extensive feedback from local historians in the field and from their allies in related areas.

One result of this solid assessment might be a positive and well-publicized statement outlining needs and goals. Call it a local historian's manifesto, or a declaration of sentiments, or a statement of rights and privileges. But let it reflect what historians define as their own obligations--a kind of historian's Hippocratic oath--and what they perceive to be their Own legitimate needs. And mince no words. Historians deserve recognition. They deserve support. Their constituents, many of whom also are enthusiastic fans, stand ready to lend that support. The historian's job is too important not to give it the serious consideration that it deserves.

Robert Frost once said that poetry is a way of taking life by the throat. Historical studies also are a way of taking life by the throat. A culture that exists without a sense of its own rich past fails in very real ways to confront its present. Local historians are important keepers of our collective past. May all who practice the art and science of history practice it wisely and wen, with commitment, integrity, and with a high sense of the importance of our collective responsibilities, our collective mission.

NOTES

1 John A. Williams, "On the Nature of State and Local History," JOURNAL OF THE WEST VIRGINIA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION 2:1, pp. 11-24; Mark Friedberger and Janice Reiff Webster, "Social Structure and State and Local History," WESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY 9:3, pp. 297-314.

2SURVEY OF MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL SOCIETIES IN NEW YORK STATE (Albany: The State Education Department, 1979).

3"History and Genealogy: Patterns of Change and Prospects for Cooperation," PROLOGUE 7:2, pp. 81-84.

4 "State Education Law," section 148.

5See also, Leslie Hayes, THE HISTORIAN AND LOCAL PUBLIC RECORDS (Albany: State Education Department, 1969); Edgar Leaycraft, NEW DIRECTIONS FOR LOCAL HISTORY (Albany: The State Education Department, 1969); and Edmund J. Winslow, HISTORICAL SOCIETIES AND OTHER HISTORICAL AGENCIES IN NEW YORK STATE (Albany: The State Education Department, 1975).

6One especially useful article in this context is Margaret Hobbie, "The Work of the County Historian," in the REGIONAL CONFERENCES OF HISTORICAL AGENCIES newsletter 10:7.

7 Donald Dean Parker, LOCAL HISTORY: HOW TO GATHER IT, WRITE IT, AND PUBLISH IT (New York, 1974); Thomas E. Felt, RESEARCHING, WRITING, AND PUBLISHING LOCAL HISTORY (Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1976); David J. Russo, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES (Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1974); and Thomas Bender, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN AMERICA (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1978); D'Ann Campbell and Richard Jensen, "Community and Family History at the Newberry Library: Some Solutions to a National Need," HISTORY TEACHER il:l, pp. 47-54; and David Gerber, "Local and Community History: Some Cautionary Remarks on an Idea Whose Time Has Returned," HISTORY TEACHER 13:1, pp. 7-30.

8Alan M. Kraut, "The Forgotten Reformers: A Profile of Third Party Abolitionists in Antebellum, New York," in Lewis Perry and Michael Fellman, eds., ANTISLAVERY RECONSIDERED: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE ABOLI-TIONISTS (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), pp. 119-48; Paul Johnson, A SHOPKEEPER'S MILLENIUM (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978); Philip White, BEEKMANTOWN, NEW YORK (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1979); Mary P. Ryan, "A Women's Awakening: Evangelical Religion and the Families of Utica, N.Y., 1800-1840," AMERICAN QUARTERLY 30:5, pp. 602-23; Ronald P. Formisano and Kathleen Smith Kutolowski, "Antimasonry and Masonry: The Genesis of Protest, 1826-27," AMERICAN QUARTERLY 29:2, pp. 139-65.
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