Writing a Personal Urban History: The Importance of Genealogy for Understanding U.S. History

I have spent a great deal of the past month listening to or attending lectures and workshops regarding genealogy and family history. On March 9, 2023, the Newberry Library (Chicago, Illinois) President Daniel Greene spoke with Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History at Northwestern University. Harris is the 2022-23 David L. Wagner Distinguished Fellow at the Newberry Library.  I found that this discussion provides food for thought on how to think about the research we conduct and also how we put together our information in a digestible and interesting format for our readers and family members.

Academic historians have sometimes struggled to understand how local and family histories illuminate national histories. Are they just exceptional, or can they provide new insights into some of the most challenging historical questions?

Leslie M. Harris is among a group of historians who have turned to their own family and personal experiences as inspiration for writing history. In this program, Harris discussed what it means for her, as a professional historian, to draw on her family’s life in order to understand broader patterns in American history.

The David L. Wagner Distinguished Lectureship for Humanistic Inquiry Series is funded by David L. Wagner and Renie B. Adams. Here is a You Tube link to this lecture.

About Schlick Daleiden Families - DuPage and Kane Counties of Illinois

Kevin Davis is a retired Public Library Director. He is a Board member of the Winfield (IL) Historical Society. Davis has over 35 years experience working in public libraries. He is deeply interested in local Chicagoland, Dupage, and Kane County History. Davis earned a BA in History and an MA in Library Science from Dominican University. He is a volunteer researcher for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in Illinois. His work includes extensive writing and research on the McCormick family line who were former owners of St. James Farm. He is an avid family historian / genealogist and has done extensive research on the Schlicks and Daleidens of DuPage and Kane County Illinois.
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