Wednesday, July 17, 2013
1930: NORTH BROAD AND HANOVER STREET
I received the following comment from Mr. Bob Chianese regarding the posts on this website:
I comment occasionally on your fine document- and photo-posts, but can I say they are not "history" until some one contextualizes them, places them in a narrative with a thesis to propound? Your posts are the raw materials out of which any history could be crafted--more like retrieved artifacts from a rich storehouse or vault that are fascinating in themselves but which need an overarching "story," ie. history, to tell us the meaning of it all.
I sense that there is an underlying thesis to many of the posted artifacts and comments -- the decline of Trenton from former community, social and economic glory. This is pretty general and any historian would want to sharpen it. For example, can we explain the decline of Trenton as a shift in global economic reality--away from industry to something that has yet to replace it in Trenton as an economic engine? (My dad worked at GM all his life and that topic is a big one for me.) Is the state government there no longer a source of employment for high school grads that enables them to join the middle class? Has immigrant life become a source of friction rather than ethnic pride and diversity? As an Italian-American this topic interests me, with a cousin still living in the much transformed "Burg."
Many of your posts speak to a revived though changed Trenton area, and that may reflect your own underlying historical thesis, which I would like to hear more about from you in explicit comments.
Final point-- many of your readers are probably like me, retired and 65+ and love to reflect on our childhoods in the Trenton area. That means materials from the 40's and 50's are the most relevant to our experience and then from the 10's and 20's and 30's to our parents' era. There are fine histories of those eras in our American experience that can be glosses on your posts. However, I mainly access your posts as valued reminiscences and leave the more heady and contentious issues of history for a different time and place.
An active and appreciative reader of your blog,
I vehemently disagree with Bob is in his first paragraph wherein he opines that the posts herein are not history until the subject is expanded upon, or as Bob says, "contextualized." Personally, I would love to take the time to research and add context to each and every one of the 7,000+ pages in this site which contains HISTORIC photos and articles, but alas, at age 80, time does not permit. However, I have found that many visitors have indeed added context on certain subjects for their genealogical projects, or for use in a community presentation, or other endeavor. As a personal example, my recent on screen presentations on "White City," "The Interstate Fair," along with at least 10 other presentations which I will be doing for the Historical Society of Hamilton Township in 2014,; all use material gleaned from this site. When I started this site back in 2005, it was my goal to bring history as chronicled by the local press and bring it into the light of the 21st century. Any historian will tell you that one of the best sources of local history is to be found in the daily newspaper. I agree. I have a 100 year collection of Trenton newspapers dating from the late 1860's through the early 1940's and believe me, history abounds in almost every one of the millions of pages. Granted, a few articles on a given subject does not a complete history make, but it certainly does give the person researching a specific subject a golden opportunity to "contextualize" or expand on the raw material which is indeed "history." As to the more recent "history," I provide for that with the slogan of this website, "Local History With A Personal Touch." Bottom line: www.glover320.blogspot.com is a history site.