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 thoughts on “What is History? A Hundred Year Old Definition

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