Historista

Examining the surprising, cool, and weird ways that people engage with history in everyday life
John A. Clark Diaries, 1861-1868. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe.
Beginning this week, I will be writing a regular column for JSTOR Daily, a new online magazine that “features topical essays that draw connections between current affairs, historical scholarship, and other content that’s housed on JSTOR.” In “(Un)Catalogued” (h/t to Paul Erickson for suggesting the title), I will be reporting on my adventures in historical...
Infantry Barracks building at Fort Garland. Little Bear, Blanca, and Lindsey Peaks in the distance.
On a chilly day in December 1861, an Iowa farmer and Colorado gold miner named Alonzo Ferdinand Ickis put on his Union uniform—what he called his “suit of Sam’s best”—and set out from Cañon City with ninety fellow soldiers in Company B, 2nd Colorado Infantry. Their destination was Fort Garland, a federal installation built...
Warning sign posted at the Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico.
Why do so few historians talk about the American Civil War in the West? And by “the West” I don’t mean the trans-Mississippi. I mean the vast stretches of high desert and the extensive mountain ranges west of the 100th meridian, where elevation and aridity make everything a bit more difficult: breathing, walking, growing...