I am honored and delighted that bestselling authors Loretta Chase and Susan Holloway Scott (sometimes known as Isabella Bradford) featured the Adverts 250 Project among their most recent compilation of “Breakfast Links” on their wonderful blog, Two Nerdy History Girls. You can also find them on Twitter. Who are Chase and Scott? In their own words, one of them “writes historical romance” and the other “writes historical novels” and, using a nom de plume, also “writes historical romance.”
I realize that a tenure and promotion committee might not find this as impressive as being linked by the American Antiquarian Society or the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, but I am just as excited and I believe that this is just as significant. I founded the Adverts 250 Project to be a public history and digital humanities project. I aimed to engage wide audiences, including specialists in my field, other scholars within and beyond the academy, self-proclaimed history buffs, and the general public more broadly. In comparing their own work to each other, Chase and Scott state, “There’s a big difference in how we use history.” There’s also a big difference in how I use history in my career, including a very different route to publication, compared to either of them, but the most important things are that all three of us use history and all three of us want others to be as fascinated by history as we are and to learn about the past.
As I noted above, the Adverts 250 Project is a public history project. Chase and Scott have helped to bring this project to the attention of the public, for which I am extremely grateful. The day after they included the Adverts 250 Project among their “Breakfast Links” the site received nearly four times as many visitors and nearly five times as many page views as any previous day. Their blog has directed visitors from twenty-two countries (Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to the Adverts 250 Project, bringing this public history project to a much broader public. (I don’t know how many people visit their blog on a daily basis, but every time they retweet an announcement that a new advertisement has been posted here — which they have already done today! — they reach more than 10,000 followers, compared to the relatively paltry 250 I have amassed during my short time on Twitter.)
Later this week students in my Public History course will be reading and discussing an essay about some of the tensions that have traditionally cropped up between historians within the academy and those who pursue history professionally beyond employment at colleges and universities, an antagonism that need not exist and that I like to think has decreased in recent years (though from my position within the academy I may have a different perspective on this than public historians do). Though I am not aware that Chase and Scott describe themselves as public historians, their novels and their blog certainly place them somewhere within the fold. Their spirit of generosity demonstrates the benefits of all who love history acting cooperatively rather than competitively.
Thank you, Loretta Chase and Susan Holloway Scott, for your support of the Adverts 250 Project.