Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prologue—the best history magazine you've never heard of. . .

Well, of course I don't mean that you haven't heard of it. If you need guidance accessing the treasure trove of materials archived at our nation's National Archives, or if you need to tap into another fresh and fascinating website for reasons of procrastination, there's always good readingand invaluable research primersat the online venue for Prologue, an outstanding history magazine produced under the aegis of the NARA. The statue on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building, entitled "The Future," provides the inspiration for the magazine title: "What is Past is Prologue." That really really says it all.

The Fall 2009 issue features the previously unpublished photo above. The caption reads, "William P. Powell, Jr., was one of the first African American physicians to receive a contract as a surgeon with the Union Army. (Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, RG 15). Read the article, "Face to Face with History," here.

There's an old article from the summer of 1995, still invaluable and still online, by Mike Musick, Subject Area Expert for Civil War Materials at the Archives, about whom Robert K. Krick wrote in an acknowledgement to one of his Civil War studies, "It is literally impossible to do adequate research for a serious Civil War book without Mike's collaboration." The article is entitled, "Civil War Records: An Introduction and Invitation." Read that here.

More good Civil War-related stuff at the Prologue site:

"Researching Confederate Marines"
By Trevor K. Planteobscure as can be, yet the subject of enough organized records to provide more than a couple revelations.

"Civil War Draft Records"
By Michael T. MeierJohn D. Rockefeller paid $300 for a substitute. No surprise, but you can see the actual record if you like.

"The Shady Side of the Family Tree: Civil War Union Court—Martial Case Files"
By Trevor K. Planteendlessly fascinating, and largely un-mined, until Dr. Thomas Lowry started digging and produced some interesting volumes.


FortyRounder said...

A terrific and very informative post. Prologue does have some excellent military history articles. Their piecees on soldiers' records from the various forgotten conflicts of the 19th century are often the best information available on the web.

dw said...

Thanks for dropping by FortyRounder -- you're right, Prologue is especially useful for practical information on smaller, older, and more obscure military operations. Though tips on things like accessing Civil War era court martials are pretty handy.


Noah Shunfenthal said...

Hello David,

My name is Noah Shunfenthal from American Public University. We are hosting a very informative webcast regarding Civil War online research methods, with authors Steven E. Woodworth and Tom Daccord presenting. I am quite a fan of your blog as well as history buff, so it brings me great pleasure to be coordinating this exciting event.

Please contact me if you would like more information about this webcast, but I feel that this would be a fantastic resource for your followers -- especially those who enjoy searching through the National Archives.

Thank you for your time,

Noah Shunfenthal
Interactive Marketing Coordinator
American Public University