"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see"

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star - 3/14/02
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a bi-weekly column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.

star gazer The quote by Winston Churchill presents an excellent practical reason for studying history. However, history can also be studied for the pure pleasure of reading an engaging story about past events. Whatever your intent, you will find that the internet will provide you with easily accessible research material, historical photographs, and narratives. The sites below have been selected to merely illustrate the variety of historical material available on the internet. Use your favorite search engine to find information on an historical topic that interests you.

Local History

Winchester History
General history of Winchester, history of the Middlesex Canal, prehistory of Winchester, link to the Winchester Historical Society, historical photographs, and articles by Ellen Knight, historian.

Massachusetts History

The Massachusetts Historical Society
This is a marvelously rich site. "The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is a major research library and manuscript repository. Its holdings encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable national treasures." The Web site describes the holdings and how to access them and provides many on-line examples. Currently featured on the site are maps and a timeline of the French and Indian War.

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA)
SPNEA was founded in 1910 to protect New England's cultural and architectural heritage. Its museums are located throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The Web site describes the collections and holdings and provides a photographic tour of several historic properties.

American History

Presidential Libraries
Links to the Presidential Libraries and Museums provided by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Documenting the American South (DAS)
This scholarly site was developed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and "is a collection of sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century." DAS includes 1,049 books and manuscripts in electronic format with more on the way. This site is a good in-depth introduction to the South's history and historical perspective, the latter often ignored in our Northern schools.

Western History (Go West)
The photography collection of the Denver Public Library. An on-line database contains a large selection (80,000 images!) of historic photographs from the collections (over one million images) of the Denver Public Library Western History/Genealogy Department and the Colorado Historical Society. The photographs are of Native Americans, pioneers, early railroads, mining, Denver and Colorado towns.

Indian History
This site, developed by California State University, Long Beach, contains many links to sites on the Indians of North America, the Indians of Central America and Mexico, and tribe and nation homepages. Some of the links are "dead". I have no control over this.

History and Politics Out Loud
An archive of politically significant audio files - selected Nixon Watergate recordings, selected Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches, President Roosevelt asking Congress to declare war on Japan, and others.

World History

World War II Resources
This unpretentious site is a goldmine of original source material on World War II. Examples - French diplomatic documents (1938-39), Nazi-Soviet relations 1938-39 (from the Archives of the German Foreign Office), The Japanese Monographs (including Pearl Harbor Operations), Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings (5000+ pages of documents), and much more.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Museum, and Digital Archives
See especially the British, German, and Vatican diplomatic files.

Orb:The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies
An academic site, written and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of instructors and students. Also has links to other medieval studies sites.

Introduction to Islam
An on-line primer on Islam from the Washington-based Middle East Institute's Web site. Given current events, a very instructive on-line book.

Avalon Project at Law School
Online documents in law, diplomacy, and history.


History Links
History links from the Winchester Web site.

Previous columns with live links can be found at www.winchestermass.org/wstar

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (www.winchestermass.org), Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist. E-mail: mvz@alum.mit.edu.