We learn to listen before we learn to read and we speak long before we learn to write. Most archives, however, are built to store printed pages, maps, personal letters, diaries, logbooks, notebooks, and manuscripts.
This weekend, as Cairo’s protestors struck their tents and tidied up Tahrir Square, a clean-up operation of another sort was underway nearby: in the Egyptian Museum, home to King Tutankhamen and countless other archaeological treasures.
Setting aside large tracts of land for preservation and public use was a unique idea in the late nineteenth-century United States as the country focused on westward expansion and development.
These posters were circulated in Nicaragua in 1980 when campaigns to celebrate the end of dictatorship, to increase literacy and to improve public health were central policy concerns.
History can sometimes surround us – sometimes it’s even underfoot. This rug, from the Art and Art History Library Collection at the University of Texas, represents the kind of textiles that were made by skilled Navajo weavers and sold on the Navajo reservation from the late 19th into the early 20th century.
My own family hails from Aligarh, a city about 90 miles southeast of New Delhi and, as Muslims, opted to move to Pakistan. I was aware of this as a child, but because I grew up outside Pakistan, it was not until I began my research and had enough comfort speaking Urdu that I persuaded some of my elderly relatives to tell me their stories of the time of independence and partition.
In the last years of the twelfth-century, a monk named Engelhard, from the German monastery of Langheim, composed stories about miraculous events and visions he believed his fellow monks had experienced. This was not a decision made lightly: parchment was expensive, the process of writing laborious, and monastic authors needed permission from their superiors to write at all. But Engelhard (and his abbot) considered this project worthwhile.
Why did the United States choose to fight a major war in Vietnam? The question has bedeviled scholars almost since President Lyndon Johnson made the decision in 1965.