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Encyclopedia of Local History (American Association for State and Local History) Hardcover – November 8, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Kammen and Prendergast pack the Encyclopedia with good information on hundreds of subjects....Many entries supply bibliographic references and other suggestions for further reading or investigation. Two excellent appendices provide detailed information on resources for researchers working on ethnic and religious groups in America. The editors and their authors do not assume expertise in their readers, but neither do they write only for newcomers in the field, and thus the Encyclopedia should be accessible and interesting to a broad range of users. . . . State and local history organizations, as well as academic libraries, should purchase this volume, which anyone working in our field will benefit from consulting. (J. Kevin Graffagnino Register Of The Kentucky Historical Society)

For both amateur sleuths and academicians who investigate the history of place, this useful companion amply achieves its stated goals. The only compendium that presents concepts and sources of use to local historians, and puts both in broader contexts, ELH provides both topics researchers might look for and those they will discover through serendipitous searching. . . . This book benefits from extended signed essays, among whose lengthier subjects are ethnicity, family history, nostalgia, popular culture, and state humanities councils. Inclusion of source entries such as the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Newberry Library, newspapers, and Sanforn fire insurance maps symbolize this work's extensive treatment. Kammen . . . and Prendergast . . . tapped such scholars as John Bodnar, George Bobinski, and Page Putnam Miller. . . for the longer essays and wrote many of the smaller entries themselves. Appendixes are especially noteworthy, particularly those listing state historical organizations and National Archives facilities. (F.J. Augustyn Jr. Choice)

Encyclopedia of Local History will be the starting place for anyone interested in researching and thinking about local history. With thousands of entries and hundreds of useful cross-references and bibliographies, there is, as the editors write, plenty of highly readable 'good stuff' to be found. (Mark Wetherington Indiana Magazine Of History)

The editors have done a masterful job of filling the Encyclopedia with useful information that will enable local historians of all persuasions to improve their histories. . . . Additionally, there are entries that every scholar and lay historian should read. . . . The authors of these entries provided concise and clear ideas about the limitations, both legal and ethical, of historical research and writing. . . . This book is a tremendous resource for public historians, genealogists, academic historicans, and students. . . . As a reference book, it is highly recommended. (Friend, Craig Thompson Florida Historical Quarterly)

By placing such a wealth of information and resources at the fingertips of local historians, Kammen and Prendergast have made a valuable contribution to the growing sophistication and insights of historical researchers in diverse locales across the nation and the world. (David A. Zonderman North Carolina Historical Review)

By compiling the expertise and insights of dozens of historians and scholars in associated fields, Kammen and Prendergast have made an important contribution. (Utah Historical Quarterly)

This book will become an indispensable companion for anyone who reads this journal. . . . All will discover answers to practical how-to-do-it questions as well as essays designed to stimulate imaginations. . . . This is a friend to be appreciated over time and with use. (Michael C. Batinski Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society)

As with other books in the AASLH series, the Encyclopedia of Local History performs admirably in informing a wider readership. . . . The book's value is enhanced by being up to date, especially in relation to the Internet, and entries often include web addresses. . . . I admire the editors for getting essays from 130 historians that all read well, but are not homogenous and rarely dull. I can strongly recommend purchase of this useful reference work, especially for museums, libraries and historical organisations. (Susan Marsden Museum National)

Everyone who is serious about her or his work in local history will open it sooner or later. . . . It is as comprehensive in scope as one could hope for. . . . It is well-written and scrupulously edited. . . . That this volume reflects the competence and connections of Carol Kammen is beyond question. Teamed with Norma Prendergast and working long and diligently, she has produced a work that will be valuable to local historians for many years. (Myron A. Marty The Public Historian)

Here is an invaluable desk book of history, practical advice, and applicable information for the amateur and professional historian. . . . This is the kind of reference work that all historical libraries should have, not just for their patrons but for their staff. It will be invaluable to anyone new to the field looking for a single reference on local history or anyone simply interested in knowing the difference between 'history' and 'heritage.' (Orloff, Chet Oregon Historical Quarterly)

How does one go about compiling an encyclopedic volume dealing exclusively with 'local history'? The editors . . . addressed this question when they took on the daunting task of creating a reference manual intended to be used by historical societies, history students, museums, genealogists, and people who have a general interest in local history . . . In this task the editors have succeeded admirably. . . . Readers will find engaging and useful on hundreds of entries, including Sanborn maps, historic preservation, obituaties, census data, and . . . many things that they would not easily find elsewhere. . . . The Encyclopedia will prove to be a most useful companion for history students and for many historical societies and museums. (Tim Hohiesel North Dakota History)

[TheEncyclopedia of Local History is well worth the price, and every museum and historical society library should own at least one copy of this book. . . . Editors Kammen and Prendergast answer questions that have plagued local historians, museum curators, and geneaologists for decades. . . . Appendixes provide information on ethnic groups, religious organizations, and state historical organizations. . . . Despite potential pitfalls in building and interpretive framework, Kammen and Prendergast succeed in presenting a very handy guide. (Dianna Everett Chronicles Of Oklahoma)

You can lead a local historian to an encylopedia, but you cannot make her/him read. Local historians are gloriously independent in their interests and in their methodologies. They should be warned, therefore, that to ignore this impressive volume is to lose a valuable resource. It will not lead them away from their primary interests. It will facilitate their development of those interests. And it will give additional meaning and greater depth to their work. (Wendell Tripp New York History)

It is a book of sources and concepts designed to help amateur and professional historians do better local history, covering topics from account books, bird's-eye views, and boosterism to the Freedom of Information Act, regionalism, Sanborn fire insurance maps, and websites for local historians. Appendixes on ethnic and religious groups, state historical organizations, and National Archives and Records Administration facilities round out this exceptionally useful and usable reference tool. (Kansas History)

About the Author

Carol Kammen writes editorials for History News and is the author of On Doing Local History: Reflections on What Local Historians Do, and Why, and Pursuit of Local History: Readings on Theory and Practice, and of eleven plays.

Norma Prendergast received a Ph.D. in art history from Cornell University.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Association for State and Local History
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Altamira Press; First Edition edition (November 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742503992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742503991
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,696,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is, after all, an encyclopedia, so I shouldn't have expected more than that. There are a lot of useful and well-written entries, however, they are sometimes too generic and too short to be useful in any specific sense. For me that meant using it as a list of what it might be possible to find out about somewhere else. Had I seen it before buying it, I would have waited for the library in town to put their copy out on the shelf rather than buying my own copy. I will certainly do that with the second edition.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Invaluable to any local historian or historical societies or organizations.
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