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Writing local history : researching, writing, and publishing crime and punishment in Sacramento, 1848-1880

Author: Andrew Robert Case; Patrick W Ettinger; Marcia Eymann; California State University, Sacramento,
Publisher: 2016.
Dissertation: Project (M.A., History (Public History))--California State University, Sacramento, 2016.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
Local history writing and publishing is a burgeoning industry, with tens of thousands of books released nationwide in just the past two decades. In general, the public prefers interacting with history on a personal level. This has traditionally involved genealogy, museums, and historic sites, while classroom learning and nonfiction writing are classified by many as impersonal and less trustworthy. However, the  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Andrew Robert Case; Patrick W Ettinger; Marcia Eymann; California State University, Sacramento,
OCLC Number: 958016048
Notes: Patrick Ettinger, Chair; Marcia Eymann, Reader.
Description: vii, 215 leaves ; 28 cm
Responsibility: Andrew Robert Case.

Abstract:

Local history writing and publishing is a burgeoning industry, with tens of thousands of books released nationwide in just the past two decades. In general, the public prefers interacting with history on a personal level. This has traditionally involved genealogy, museums, and historic sites, while classroom learning and nonfiction writing are classified by many as impersonal and less trustworthy. However, the emergence of accessible local history books has provided a new outlet for directly connecting the public to the history of surrounding communities and cities. Amateur historians constitute most local history authors, leading some to stigmatize the field as unprofessional for its uncertain historical accuracy and lack of critical interpretation. While it is encouraging to see new interest in history and especially in the history of the local environment, the fear is that local history writers and publishers are delivering too many superficial products that sacrifice critical assessment for commemorative appeal, resulting in a skewed impression of the past. Sources of Data In researching the following essay on historical writing, several books and scholarly articles were utilized. Some sources cover the process of researching and writing local history in particular, while others focus on the theoretical and practical ideals that academic historians take into account when writing. Several of these sources also examine the publishing industry, which, along with various publishing websites, contribute to the discussion below on local history publishing. As for sources concerning the rough draft of my own local history book, dozens of scholarly books and articles comprise the secondary research necessary to develop the context and interpretation of the topic. Primary sources include early Sacramento criminal mug shot books and various nineteenth-century criminal records, such as court cases and coroner's inquests, housed in the collection of the Center for Sacramento History. Early newspaper articles and early Sacramento histories form the remaining primary sources. Conclusions Reached This project explores the aspects of historical research and interpretation that all historians, professional and amateur, should strive to incorporate into their work. The challenges of writing local history are addressed in depth as the project follows the process of researching, writing, and publishing a book on local history.

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