I've mention in the past that I worked a good bit on our department's Departmental History over the last twelve months and ramped up my efforts to a considerable degree this summer. When I came to Athens, I figured that my enthusiasm for the history of my department would fade a bit (and it has), but to my surprise the American School has found itself in a reflective mood of late producing a number of articles on its institutional and intellectual history (see in particular Tracy Cullen's piece on 75 years of Hesperia (that is the journal of the American School)in volume 76.1, Jack Davis's article in the same volume on the "Birth of Hesperia" and Kostis Kourelis article in 76.2 on "Byzantium and the Avant Guard" at the Corinth excavations of the 1920s and 1930s.) The American School is the kind of place that feels like it has an official history (in fact, there are two volumes dedicated to the history of the School), and both Kourelis and Davis say that their use of the archives has allowed them to uncover "the real story" so to speak (As Davis says on page 22 of his article that one of his goals "is to contrast published and archival accounts"). It lends both articles a subversive tone (which one probably feels more acutely if one has has spent time at the American School), but, in the end, archival research is at the core of the historical method.
In any event, it's kept my interest in the departmental history simmering. I have now posted my working text for the introduction and chapters 1-3. These chapters cover the history of the department up to about 1970. The goal of the university, of course, was to compile the history for each department over the last 25 years which was to complement existing departmental histories of the first 100 years written in conjunction with UND's 100 anniversary in 1883. Our department did not write a departmental history at that time, so I was left to write the entire history of the department from the 1880s to present. I made to the late 1960s, but after 1970 the sources become a bit more scarce, I am increasingly uncomfortable with the methods (especially oral history), and I can't shake the nagging feeling that if it's not 1000 years old it's not really historical (my colleagues will rightly disagree with this!).