I love History.  It is as simple as that, really.  I can remember as a tiny little thing, looking up at my father’s enormous collection of books ranging on topics from the Old West and World War II, to the Wright brothers’ saga and ancient civilizations, and wanting to devour them all.  Over the course of my childhood I read quite a few of dad’s books, and what became clear to me was that it was the people in the books I was fascinated with.  I loved their stories, their clothing, their views–so different from mine–all of the details that I would never see because I lived in a different time.  But most of all, I loved the legacy I’d perceived they’d left me–their standing witness to a time and place I could never go–and the awesome responsibility I felt to protect and document that legacy.

As I fell in love with History, a parallel love emerged:  writing.  The two loves married and that was when I felt I had been truly born. As I prepared myself for college, the love affair I held in my heart for History was ever present.  So I became a History major.  The possibility that I could study History, and then someday be an Historian!  was almost too much for me to comprehend.  During my university years, I discovered just how much I didn’t know, how much History there was out there to explore.   I read.  I researched.  I wrote.  A lot.  I was fortunate to have mentors who took me under their collective wings and helped me grow into a true Historian, one who could take my love of the past and meld it with professional discipline.  At once exhilarating and terrifying in the best of ways, my university years cemented my desire to write and teach about History.

Fast forward to now.  I am honored and humbled to call myself an Historian.   My focus tends to be on United States 19th and 20th century labor, but I also teach the Civil War and Reconstruction.  I’ve an affinity for the myths and mythologies of the Old West, and am completely smitten with cross-disciplinary research.  I’ve written about coal mine regulation at the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., child indenture in the Old South in 1866, Nazi films and their depiction of women versus Reich propaganda, total war and the Civil War, the myth of Calamity Jane, and on and on.

This blog is really about sharing my love of historical topics with the world at-large; to engage in dialogue about historical events, and perhaps to inspire contextual debate and discussion about current events as they relate to historical ones.

I truly hope you enjoy your time here.


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Roger Matile stumbling across local history, one post at a time...

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