Ohio History Journal

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future historian how to search for his materials and how to record them.

It is also important for him to learn to weigh and judge his findings with-

out prejudice or bias. But instruction should not stop at this point.

The historical writer must know what to discard and what to retain;

he must learn to arrange his selections for their most effective form of

presentation. Throughout this tedious process he must be able to retain

an unabated enthusiasm for his subject matter. Then too, he must acquire

practice in wielding a facile pen which will weave with lucidity an attrac-

tive word pattern out of the scattered threads of historical research. He

must be capable of quoting without interrupting his narrative and he must

be able to paraphrase without distorting the meaning. Above all, he must

ever be aware of the possibilities for improvement. He must constantly be

cognizant of his own ignorance. His mind must always be alert for new

ideas and his eye must ever be searching for new materials. He must not

rest content on past laurels nor slacken his efforts to achieve improvement.

He must be willing to revise and to polish his written drafts indefinitely.

He must also be willing to check and recheck tirelessly, to proofread, to

collate, and again to proofread, before he allows his manuscript to face

the barrage of reader criticism. When he has conscientiously and faith-

fully adhered to all these rules of good workmanship, then, and only then,

can he be said to have produced historical writing in which critical investi-

gation is matched by careful presentation.

The next speaker was Professor Harlan Hatcher, of the Ohio

State University, state director of the Federal Writers' Project.

W. P. A. in Ohio. An abstract of his remarks follows:




Nearly everybody now knows the story of the beginnings of the

Federal Writers' Project, which was organized two and one-half years ago

to provide for unemployed writers of different capacities. Under the direc-

tion of Henry G. Alsberg, the Federal Writers' Project undertook the

tremendous task of preparing the American Guide Series to reveal to the

citizens of the United States a picture of their country. Books have been

prepared on each of the New England States, and have been published by

the Houghton Mifflin Company. Guides to the remaining states will appear

at frequent intervals.

The question is now raised, "What are the historical opportunities

offered through the Writers' Project?" First, let it be made clear that the

project is not adapted to take the place of the solid, substantial and scholarly

type of history now projected under the auspices of the Ohio State

Archaeological and Historical Society. The Writers' Project in Ohio em-

ploys 132 people, in all capacities, including typists, research workers,

writers and editors. In most cases this staff is drawn directly from the

employment division of the W. P.A.    They are not trained historians.

But there is a type of work which they are able to do under direction

which cannot well be undertaken by private groups.

The kind of contribution which they are able to make might best be

illustrated by specific reference to the books now being prepared by the

Writers' Project in Ohio. Chief among these is the Ohio Guide which will

become a part of the total American Guide Series, The first third of this