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The Historian’s Eye: Archiving for a Better Future

Matthew Frye Jacobson is a professor at Yale, which would be excuse enough to keep on writing books for other scholars.  Instead of staying in that comfort zone, he has created a website dedicated to enriching public discussion by gathering images and interviews that reflect history in the making.

As he says, “Beginning as a modest effort in early 2009 to capture the historic moment of our first black president’s inauguration in photographs and interviews, the “Our Better History” project and the Historian’s Eye website have evolved into an expansive collection of some 1000+ photographs and an audio archive addressing Obama’s first term in office, the ’08 economic collapse and its fallout, two wars, the raucous politics of healthcare reform, the emergence of a new right-wing formation in opposition to Obama, the politics of immigration, Wall Street reform, street protests of every stripe, the BP oil spill, and the seeming escalation of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide.  Interviewees narrate and reflect upon their own personal histories as well, a dimension of the archive that now spans many decades and touches five continents.”

You can look, listen, and otherwise get inside the project here.  And don’t forget to check out the “Participate” link.

Photograph from Occupy Baltimore, October 22, 2011.



The Historian’s Eye: Archiving for a Better Future


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