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The truth is in the details.

Let's face it, American history is not what most of us have always thought it was. It is not a neat story written in a book or even a hundred books. Not only is it far from finished--we're living it right now--but it is far from being recovered, reclaimed, and recorded. So many voices have been silenced for so long that our historical chorus has often sounded like a brass band with only one trumpet and a beat up tuba.

In recent decades, however, history has begun to change. Historians themselves now come in different colors and shapes. The result is that many voices are being added to the chorus. Complexity is being added to the historical record, along with insight into what it means to be an American. It's the goal of OneHistory to help all the voices be heard.

OneHistory was founded by Hilary Mac Austin and Kathleen Thompson for students, teachers, and the general public. Our aim is to have high-quality, accessible content for all levels of learners and for a variety of interests. We update the site regularly, adding new content and updating links to the best the web has to offer. Here you will find stories, both fictional and non, about Americans from all backgrounds and eras.

Because of both personal experience and professional exposure, we are acutely aware of the educational difficulties faced by many children. That is why we have a number of features designed specifically for Hi-Lo readers. In addition, after witnessing the power that images from our book The Face of Our Past had on a huge variety of audiences, we began to explore the power of imagery as a teaching tool.

We at OneHistory are passionate about historic images and this site has a numbere of features designed to help people understand their power. Like a diary or other text document, an image is a primary document. And like a text document, a historic image must be read with care. In others words people must become visually literate. Toward that end, we have included an entire section of the site devoted to visual history. This section includes accessible and thorough photographic lessons in how to look at images, as well as how to find them, on the web and off.

Beyond what is available on this site, OneHistory can come to you in person as well. We offer a number of presentations and workshops to introduce the general public to new faces from American history. While our audiences have ranged from grade schoolers to college students, from teachers to the general public, the responses from school age children and their teachers has been particularly impassioned. Go to our presentations and slide show pages to see some examples.

American history is endlessly fascinating. There are so many roads to explore and stories to tell. Come back and visit often. Email suggestions about what we might add. Explore all the back roads of American history with us. That's what OneHistory is all about.


Badly damaged tintype, 1860s. Austin/Thompson Collection