A Few of Our Biographies:
Welcome to HistoryAccess.com,
Q. How many history and biography articles do you have here?
A. More than 100.
Q. If I want to get a feel for the writing, what are a few good examples?
The site offers four main departments:
Q. What is the goal of HistoryAccess.com?
A. We of the 21st century are cut off from much wisdom of the past by the blitz of speed and technology. History is often regarded as quaint and/or inaccessible. HistoryAccess.com provides readable and accurate information about who we have been, with an eye toward expanding awareness of who we are, who we can be, and what we face.
We also examine how academic historians probe the past, how documentary history films get made, how museum administrators keep their establishments going, how historical fiction is written, and how graduate students train for scholarly careers.
Three quotes serve as our guiding lights:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist: "To discard the hard-won information on how to live accumulated by our ancestors, or to expect to discover a viable set of goals all by oneself, is misguided hubris."
Eva Bovenzi, artist: "We are well educated in product, social commentary, and speed, but poorly educated in process, history, and slowness."
Bertrand Russell, philosopher: "Out of the night come the voices of those who have gone before, clear and courageous; and so through the ages they march, a mighty procession, proud, undaunted, unconquerable. To join in this glorious company, to swell the immortal paeon of those whom fate could not subdue - this may not be happiness; but what is happiness to those whose souls are filled with that celestial music? To them is given what is better than happiness: to know the fellowship of the great, to live in the inspiration of lofty thoughts, and to be illumined in every perplexity by the fire of nobility and truth."
A. The site's founder and editor-in-chief is Bob Frost, a journalist, history tutor, and speaker based in Oakland, California. Bob is a contributing writer for The History Channel Magazine and has written many dozens of history articles for major U.S. magazines, including Biography during its short-but-happy life as a mass-circulation monthly (1997-2003). Bob was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was educated in public schools there and at Brown University. He worked for many years as a contributing writer for West, the former Sunday magazine of the San Jose Mercury News. He is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the National Book Critics Circle.
Q. How can I contact you with comments?
A. Write to us here with comments, suggestions, gripes, error corrections, broken links, etc. We read and respond to every letter.
A. "Yes" to the first question - feel free. If you quote from one of our articles, please give proper attribution. "Sometimes" to the second question, if we can fairly easily steer you toward good sources of information. Go here to contact us. For additional homework help, check out our "Five Research Tips" (see item five).
Q. Who are the site's writers?
A. Bob is the main writer. Also contributing articles are Charles Matthews, an author, critic, blogger, and former editor for the San Jose Mercury News; J. Brent Norlem, a journalist, historian, and teacher based in Minnesota; Steven G. Kellman, a professor of comparative literature at the University of Texas - San Antonio; and Peter Richardson, a lecturer at San Francisco State University. In addition, we include selections from the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edward Gibbon, Barbara W. Tuchman, and Will and Ariel Durant. See here for listings of each writer's pieces.
Bob designed and built the site. The Webmaster and technical consultant is John Palmer of Berkeley, California (firstname.lastname@example.org). Bob offers thanks to Jeanne Rakovec, Dan and Cynthia Barker, Robert Hall, Ernestine Ward, Anne Rieschick, Terry Monahan, Jim Tarbox, Tim Smith, C. Norman Shealy, Martha Cooper, Joyce Vollmer, Marji Wilkens, Deborah Tompkins, Eleanor Vincent, Bruce Benway, Patrick and Linda Totty, Clint Claybrook, Lori Mateer, Twylla Altepeter, T. Kunikov, Jack Kirchhoff, Lea Sinclair, Barry Beckham, William McLoughlin, Tom DeVito, Richard Ripley, Debra Sadow Koenig, Kelley Shields, Kathryn Haslanger, Deborah Miller, David Hansen, Lee and Lois Snook, Jeffrey Austad, Bruce Perrizo, the Skovholt family, Faye Farrington, Gerald Line, George Janisch, Gail Wieberdink, Paul Collins, Karen Tofte, Leroy Elsing, and Barbara Saylor. He also thanks his kin, the Frosts, Larsens, and Flinns.
Q. Does HistoryAccess.com accept article queries?
A. Yes. See here for how to submit story ideas. Money we earn from advertising is plowed back into a fund for commissioning history articles and photography. (We're non-profit and non-partisan.)
A. No; the photos, shot by Bob in 2009, are copyrighted by HistoryAccess.com.
Q. Do you have plans to expand the site?
A. We would like to obtain a bit of grant money and double the number of Q-and-A interviews to 40 or so. We would, as suggested above, like to commission a number of articles from people who can write, and who love history, and pay them what they're worth - great writing is the thing that makes history come alive (great photography and filmmaking too), and these things require adequate time. We also want to establish a blog so that visitors can suggest books they like and write short reviews. Also, if we can find a way to make it work, we will launch a monthly newsletter, distributed via e-mail, focusing on things happening in the world of history, aimed at the general reader (new books and museum exhibits, TV shows worth your time, projects that people are working on, a good article in a magazine, etc.).
Q. Any other details you would like to mention?
A. Yes, these:
* The best browsers for viewing the site are Internet Explorer 8 ("IE 8"), Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. IE 6 and 7 are less satisfactory.
* Text and photographs by Bob Frost are copyrighted by him. He has slightly altered some of his material from its original published form. Text by Charles Matthews is copyrighted by him and has similarly been slightly altered from its original form. Text by J. Brent Norlem, Steven G. Kellman, and Peter Richardson, written for this site, is copyrighted by them. Some other material at this site is copyrighted by various parties; some stuff here is out of copyright.
* An independent review of HistoryAccess.com can be found here.
* Thank you for visiting.