I just got done talking about how History People are not weird... But then I really thought about it. There are so many interesting qualities that set us apart from the rest, and I'm not talking about just the academic history major-types. I've compared notes with History People from colleagues and professors to dedicated people who just happen to be interested in history in their spare time, and there are definitely some things in common. I've compiled a few of these common trends in History People so that you can see if anything sounds familiar to you!
1. "Trigger Stories"
One of the biggest things I've found in common with people who choose to pursue an education and career in history are what I like to call "Trigger Stories". These are things that somehow found their way into our childhoods and sparked an incredibly strong and insatiable interest in the past. Sometimes they're the watered-down stories told specifically to kids, and sometimes they're books with cool pictures and diagrams that are very appealing to the tiny History People. As we grew older, the stories got more and more advanced, and we were able to explore other things to spark the interests that became our areas of focus.
When I think back, there were definitely some clear Trigger Stories that were a part of shaping my interests. I can clearly remember a day in grade one, sitting on the carpet, when my teacher described the story of Jumbo the Elephant to us and I was so fascinated. Then later on I somehow came across the Titanic story and that is one that I still consider one of the most interesting. Then, in grade four, I came across my ultimate lifelong connection with the Second World War through Anne Frank's diary and a few other great books on the subject. To this day, I still hold these stories very dear. I think that the greatest aspect of this feature of History People is that the stories of the past can become so intertwined with our own stories, and that we can feel like we have a personal connection with people who lived long before we were born.
2. You identify with extremely specific parts of history on a deep level
Whether it's American foreign policy during the interwar period or the structure of the court system in Medieval England, a lot of History People have that one specific topic that really gets them going. I think that even if you don't identify as a History Person, there is probably a certain period in history that you find more interesting than others. In History People, that feeling is so strong that we feel an extreme need to know everything about that particular time and place. It makes a pretty good case for reincarnation, in my opinion.
3. You're either a military historian, or you're not
4. You notice the flaws and "popular history" in EVERY so-called history movie
5. You have antiques and old materials randomly dispersed around the house
Here you are, with electricity and internet, comparing collections of ridiculously outmoded, dusty old objects with other History People. But isn't that the point?
I hope some of these were relatable to all you History People! And if you aren't one, this probably doesn't sell it very well. At least we aren't alone!
Thanks for reading,