It Was Ten Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today I wrote my first blog post. Below is a screenshot of what the site looked like during that first week. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I explored the page. At first glance it looks so incredibly flimsy and bare, but that is only in light of what has changed over the last decade. What you see remains the core of the site. For much of its life I thought of Civil War Memory as a blog, but I now think of it as a website that contains a blog. This is, in part, a function of how blogging platforms like WordPress have evolved over the years, but it has much more to do with the way in which blogging has transformed my life as an educator and historian.

Screenshot of Civil War Memory (November 2005)

In 2005 there were just a few of us blogging the Civil War as you can see in the screenshot’s blogroll. Ten years later there isn’t enough time in the day to read them all. Many of them are incredibly thoughtful. It’s especially encouraging to see so many students at the undergraduate and graduate levels sharing their research on blogs. The debate over the place of social media in education and the historical profession has thankfully subsided. If I contributed even a tiny bit to its spread as a platform for historians and students of history than my time here was worth it. Continue reading “It Was Ten Years Ago Today”

The Passing of a Pioneer in History Blogging

with Ralph Luker, Mark Grimsley, and Rebecca Goetz at the 2007 SHA in Richmond
with Ralph Luker, Mark Grimsley, and Rebecca Goetz at the 2007 SHA in Richmond

I was very sad to hear this morning of the passing of Ralph Luker. Ralph taught American history at a number of schools and was the author of numerous studies. He also edited two volumes of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers. Many of you, however, know Ralph from his days at History News Network’s Cliopatria blog. Our paths crossed almost immediately after I started blogging back in 2005. Even at that early stage Ralph was already promoting history blogging and bloggers. In 2007 Civil War Memory was awarded Cliopatria’s Best Individual Blog.

Ralph was a huge supporter of my blogging early on and understood how I was trying to leverage it to promote my research beyond the site itself. He introduced me to various historians and on more than one occasion recommended me for inclusion on conference panels. Ralph was incredibly generous and I remain very grateful. Continue reading “The Passing of a Pioneer in History Blogging”

Introducing the 10th Anniversary Re-Design

Welcome to Civil War Memory’s 10th anniversary re-design. Now I know that the real anniversary won’t take place until November, but I decided to cheat a little and declare all of 2015 as marking this personal milestone. Over the years this site has completely transformed my professional life. It has generated an incredible amount of content, both on the blog and beyond. What better way to mark this anniversary than with a new design that highlights this content and attracts the kind of interest that will hopefully lead to new opportunities.

While Civil War Memory began strictly as a blog it quickly transformed into a larger portal, featuring all kinds of content from a relatively new book to a wide range of online and print publications to my availability as a speaker. In short, it became a place where I could share my passion for the study of history with the public.

In thinking about the re-design, I wanted a site that was attractive and easy to navigate. I am a huge fan of minimalist websites that feature only the essentials and offer readers as few options to exit the site as possible. The design had to be attractive, but not overshadow the content. I hope this design at least approaches this crucial balance. Continue reading “Introducing the 10th Anniversary Re-Design”

That Talk…Again

Let me start out by saying that I really do appreciate all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this site. I couldn’t be more pleased that this site’s content has the potential to generate what are often lengthy threads. But there is a downside.

First, I have to moderate your comments and that can be time consuming. Some of you may be aware that I do things other than blog. My bigger concern, however, is that quite often lengthy threads get sidetracked by readers who wish to do little more than hijack the site for their own purposes. Their goals have nothing to do with engaging others and they often have nothing to do with the subject of my post.

This is going to change. I already have little patience for comments that are not posted under real names. Moving forward I will have even less patience. If your comment deviates in ways that I am uncomfortable with it will be deleted without notice. If if continues commenters will be banned permanently. I am also going to reign in people who insult others. There is absolutely no justification for this.

Understand that this has nothing to do with whether you tend to agree with me. I’ve said before that I prefer thoughtful and challenging comments. From an outsider’s point-of-view it might be impressive to see a post with close to 100 comments attached, but from my perspective it means little if it fails to add meaningfully to the post.

Thank you for your understanding.

On a brighter note: The 10-year anniversary re-design of Civil War Memory will be unveiled any day now.

Nine Years Blogging

It’s becoming more and more difficult to remember a time when my interest in the Civil War did not somehow connect to blogging. Nine years ago I had just completed a master’s degree, including a thesis on William Mahone and the battle of the Crater, at the University of Richmond. I thought blogging might give me the opportunity to share my interest in the war with a broader audience. It certainly did.

Nine years later and while I see this site as much more than a blog, I certainly understand that the vast majority of visitors come here to read the latest post. I have no plans on giving it up and, as always, thanks for coming along for the ride.