Unwritten Histories Turns 1!

Can you believe it’s already been a year? I can’t! Ok, technically it’s tomorrow, but it’s close enough.

I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what to do for this anniversary. There will apparently be an Unwritten Histories birthday party and/or gathering at the CHA this year, which I am blaming entirely on Adam Montgomery and Kesia Kvill. I don’t have any specific details yet, but if you’d like to join us for food and drink (minus the effigy, Adam!), let me know! We’re trying to confirm the best time and day for this to happen. Also, I haven’t been to Toronto since I was 12, so I have no idea where we’re going. (Oh yeah, did I tell you I’m going to the CHA this year? I hope you guys are all going to come see me talk at the history blog roundtable!)

It was Catherine Ulmer who gave me the inspiration for this post. My actual purse is pretty boring, so instead, I’m going to take a look at what’s in my blog, reflecting on everything that’s happened over the past year.


Before we start, I need to say a few thank yous. I know I already did a sappy blog post around New Years, but many of the same sentiments still apply! When I first started this blog last year, I mostly wanted to use it as a place to put all of the knowledge that I had accumulated about how the field of history works in Canada. I had no idea that it would transform into a community of scholars, genealogists, researchers, and history buffs from all over the world! None of this would have been possible with all of the people who read the blog and follow me on social media. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

I would also like to extend my most sincere appreciation to all of those who have donated over the past month to help support Unwritten Histories. You guys are rock stars!

Next, I would like to also thank the Canadian history blogs that connect so many of us together, including, but not limited to, Active History, Borealia, and NiCHE, as well as the wonderful world of Canadian history on Twitter (#cdnhist, #cdnhistory).

I would also like to thank my many friends and colleagues who have done so much to help and support this blog over the past year: Lynne Marks, who continues to encourage me and keep me going; Catherine Ulmer, who has spent way too much time on the phone listening to me talk about the blog; Danielle Robinson, my number one fan and sista-from-another-mista; Sarah Van Vugt, supervisor-sibling and source of boundless enthusiasm; Keith Grant, who has corresponded with me from the very beginning, serving as my blogging mentor and friend; Clare Dale, for making me laugh even when I felt like crying; Tina Adcock and Jessica DeWitt for continuing to say nice things about me on Twitter (for some strange reason) while also showing me what it means to be a kick-ass and socially-aware female scholar on social media and in all things; and Melissa N. Shaw, who, in what seems like no time at all, has become my Twitter BFF and who always knows the right thing to say to make me feel better.

I would also like to thank Adam Barker, Emma Lowman, Elise Chenier, Tarah Brookfield, Caroline Durand, Maxime Dagenais, Anne Dance, Karen Balcom, Carmen Nielson, Pascal Scallon-Chouinard, Kesia Kvill, Sean Holman, Krista McCracken, Pete Anderson, Joanna L. Pearce, Jo McCutcheon, Christopher Moore, Leah Grandy, Tina Loo, Mary-Ellen Kelm, Adele Perry, Ian Mosby, Janet Miron, Janis Thiessen, Nancy Janovicek, Jenny Ellison, Christo Aivalis, Terry O’Riordan, the CHA, the DCB, Historica Canada, and the Canadian Encyclopedia for great discussions, insights, and encouragement. And of course, to my husband Lee, for everything.

Ok, first, let’s take a look at Unwritten Histories by the numbers:

  • Posts: 119
  • Comments: 156
  • Roundups: 47
  • Best New Article Posts: 10
  • Upcoming Publications Posts: 9
  • Guides: 7
  • Interviews: 4
  • Guest Posts: 3
  • What’s In My: 3
  • Historian’s Toolkit: 2

The very first blog post that was not an introduction to the site was published on April 5th, and was 11 Ways to Write Awesome Exam Essays. The very first roundup (omg, it’s such a little baby roundup!) was posted on May 1st.

The 10 most popular blog posts of the past year were, from most to least.

  1. What Should I Call My Professor?
  2. Canadian Historians Online
  3. The Canadian Historian’s Guide to Twitter
  4. A Guide to Peer-Reviewed Journals in Canadian History
  5. What’s in my Bag: Montreal 1890s Edition
  6. Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada?
  7. A Guide to Online Resources for Teaching and Learning about WW1 in Canada
  8. Unwritten Histories Needs Your Help
  9. Why Does Canada150 Give Canadian Historians A Headache?
  10. A Guide to Online Resources for Teaching and Learning about Black History in Canada

My top five favourite posts, in no particular order, are

  1. What’s in my Bag: Montreal 1890s Edition
  2. Holiday Gift Guide for Historians
  3. Why Do We Celebrate Victoria Day: An Exercise in Frustration
  4. A Beginner’s Guide to the CHA Annual Meeting
  5. A Guide to Online Resources for Teaching and Learning about WW1 in Canada

Over the past year we’ve covered so many different topics! We’ve talked about some of the practicalities of teaching history, like how to grade essays quickly and efficiently, managing electronic submissions, how to develop active learning activities for history classes, having great first days of class, and writing syllabuses for surveys.

We’ve taken a look at some of teaching and learning tools that are available online, like Transcribe and Flickr Commons. We’ve also provided guides to teaching and learning in higher ed, peer-reviewed journals in Canadian history, WW1 in Canada, Black History in Canada, and Loyalist history.

We’ve gone inside the headlines, and talked about historical perspectives on the Census, the possible Viking site at Point Rosee, and Canada150.

We’ve talked about a few different aspects of Canadian history, like the Charlottetown Conference, the Montreal Massacre, and why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

We’ve talked about what’s in my evening bag in 1890s Montreal, my school bag in rural Saskatchewan in the 1940s, and what’s in my Jewish cookbook in the 1950s.

We’ve had some fantastic interviews with such awesome people as Peter Scales, Sarah van Vugt, and Lynne Marks. We’ve also had some great guest posts from Lianne Charlie, Adam Barker, and Sarah van Vugt.

We’ve looked at Canadian history on social media, like the CHA 2016 Twitter Archive, Canadian history on Twitter, and of course our list of Canadian Historians Online.

And I can’t wait to show you what’s coming next! I have several exciting projects in development that I will hopefully be able to share with you soon.


Since this is Unwritten Histories’s one-year anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to get some feedback from you, my amazing readers! I’ve put together a short survey that I hope you will take the time to fill out. Don’t worry, it’s not very long, and shouldn’t take more than five minutes. But your answers will help me to make Unwritten Histories even better!

(you don’t need to click, just scroll inside the box below.)

Thank you again, for everything!

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