Blogs > Cliopatria > Turning Points, or the Joy of Browsing

Jan 3, 2007 10:21 pm

Turning Points, or the Joy of Browsing

As anyone who does research knows, a lot of the joy is in the unexpected, the witty, or the profound appearing suddenly in a document as one browses a collection. That happened to me today.

I am working on a course concerning immigrants to Wisconsin. In my search for primary sources I have been browsing the Wisconsin Historical Society’s fine online collection of primary and early secondary sources called Turning Points. It has a nice range of materials concerning nineteenth-century immigration, and I’ve been going down the list.

Then I found this: a short 1918 newspaper article on the fading of Milwaukee's Jewish Ghetto. So many things hit me: the author’s evocation of the ghetto’s atmosphere (even if from an outsider’s perspective), the site of black and Jewish children playing, the discussion of the impact of World War I, and finally the sadly and unknowingly ironic closing comment looking forward to the day “ when the fate of Palestine has been definitely settled.”

Maybe it won’t hit you as hard. Even so, it’s worth a look.

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