What is History? A Hundred Year Old Definition

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, November 21, 1912: Nothing doing for today except that I got rather sad.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Maybe Grandma was sad because she got her General History test back and was unhappy about the grade. The previous day, she’d written:

Had an exam in General History and although I looked over it some last evening, I got some questions that I was unable to answer correctly.

I’m still browsing through the hundred-year-old history book that I quoted yesterday.  Here’s how the book defines history:

What History Is—History is an ordered account of the growth of human societies. It treats principally of political events, and must  tell also about many other things which have influenced the progress of nations. Religion, science, art, literature, education and commerce are important in the history of every country.

Outlines of General History (1909) by V.A. Renouf

I wonder how a historian today would define history. . . and how the modern definition would differ (or not differ) from the hundred-year-old definition.

6 Responses

  1. I think that this is one word that has retained the same definition. I looked at several dictionaries and they are very similar to this one.

  2. the language is stunted and stilted but I must agree somewhat with the defintion

  3. If only your Grandma could have seen the Roman Forum in Photograph, that would have really sparked her interest in History. I’ve been to Rome and it’s so spectacular.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 818 other followers

%d bloggers like this: