by AndrewMc | 3/29/2010 08:13:00 AM
It's kind of hard to write a eulogy for anyone, or anything for that matter. There's a sort of finality about summarizing the high points of a life. You know you can't include everything that's important, and if you leave anything out you'll come back later and say "Oh, I can't believe I didn't mention that."

The same is certainly true for blogs and Progressive Historians is no exception.

I started reading this blog a few years ago, and was immediately struck by the forthright intelligence of the editor, Jeremey Young, and of the various writers. Jeremey's energy was a sight to behold, and even when I disagreed with him I couldn't help but admire his ability to get into writing the ideas bouncing around his head. And to do it with a regularity that made me, and others, want to come back to see what new thing was on his mind. Even more importantly, I think, is that when he was wrong he was as strident in his self-correction as he was in making his error. His ability to self-correct is a rarity in the blogging world, and is something that I believe will make him a distinguished historian during the course of his career.

I followed the other writers as well, of course. I can't possibly recall each and every one here, but I will single out Winter Rabbit's tireless advocacy as an example of what makes blogging--and progressivism--great.

A couple of years ago I began to write here, and then in December 2008 I took over the blog when Jeremy's time became too taken up with his studies.

I was always a placeholder though. And my own time became fractured almost immediately after taking over Progressive Historians. I won't get into the gory details, but everyone in academia understands that departments and deans get first dibs on an academics' time, and they tend to make those "requests" quite suddenly. In the past few weeks it has become clear to me that the demands on my time had reached a level at which I could no longer be certain that I could post even weekly.

After speaking with Jeremy we both agreed that it is time to put the blog to bed. A the time of this writing we have had more than 379,000 visits to the site, and are averaging around 250 visitors per day (down from about 450/day at the beginning of the year). That's a pretty impressive accomplishment.

For several years Progressive Historians set a standard for history-blogging, and I know that many of the current writers are still writing elsewhere. As it should be. I hope that Jeremy, too, will return to the blogging world.

So, it's goodbye for now. Thanks to Jeremy for his tireless work. I wish him, and all the others who've written for this blog a fond farewell. If you see me at a meeting, stop me and say "Hi."



Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/29/2010 11:49 AM:

Thanks Andrew, and thanks to Jeremy. I've met and argued with some wonderful people here. It's been a blast, as a commenter and sometime poster.

But I do think you're right: it's time for a new project, new voices.


Blogger yehram on 3/29/2010 7:21 PM:

I've never commented before (part of the 249 lurkers yup), but thank you for upholding this blog. I know I learned some history and current news that I'd never paid attention to before.


Blogger Unknown on 3/29/2010 8:38 PM:

This is a beautiful and kind eulogy; thank you for your very kind words. I do want to disagree with one thing, though: you were never, ever a placeholder at this blog. I fully expected the site to die when I abandoned it in January 2009, yet you managed to keep it alive for over a year longer through force of will. For the past year I've been living the dream: knowing that something I created is out there doing good work, without having to lift a finger to support it. I appreciate that immensely, and am very, very thankful for all the hard work you've put into the site.

I also want to thank the myriad writers who have made this place one of the coolest hangouts on the Net for the past four years. Many of their blogs can be found in the sidebar, and you should make sure to check out their writing on a regular basis.

I haven't decided whether there will be a blogging life for me after ProgressiveHistorians; I'm still very busy and have soured somewhat on the blogging enterprise itself. But if I do end up writing again, it will be here; it will be infrequent; and it won't focus so strictly on history, but on a blend of history, politics, music, and cultural criticism. As I said, not sure whether that's happening or not; it depends on how I feel in the coming weeks and months. But please do keep in touch.


Blogger mark on 3/30/2010 12:39 AM:

Hi Andrew & Jeremy

I wanted to thank you both - as well as PH regulars - for having me here as the "house conservative" from time to time. I always enjoyed seeing the trends in other subfields of history that were presented here and the commentary from a different POV than my own. I still recall well Jeremy's posts on Wilsonianism and I'm certain that the contributors will go on to make their mark on the profession of history.

Best to you all!


Anonymous MK on 3/30/2010 7:16 AM:

I enjoyed looking in on the blog from time to time over the years. I appreciate Andrew's efforts to keep in going.

Jeremy, while you were active here, I sometimes cited this blog to others as a model for a blog owner engaging well with his readers. I liked the fact that you publicly re-thought your positions at times (which showed true confidence) and participated thoughtfully and respectfully in dialogue with other bloggers and readers. That is much harder to do than it seems, based on what I've seen on other sites. You already have shown extra skills that are hard to come by.

Perhaps because my area of study (the presidency) is one which includes assessing the political environment, I found it refreshing to get away from kneejerk defenses and the attack the messenger mindset which often constrains dialogue in a more political environment. Your historian side came through so strongly, it kept such forces at bay.

Good luck with all you do in the future!

MK, the federal historian and former archivist


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 3/30/2010 6:03 PM:

Jeremy is the reason I kept blogging a long time ago, when he got me to crosspost a diary about the Trail of Tears at the Classic Progressive Historians. It was really an honor when he asked, and his vision of having real historians (of which I am not) and people interested in history blog together resonated well with me.

I learned a great deal here, and I hope I shared what I learned in a good way. I want to echo MK regarding Jeremy’s respectful handling of dialogue with readers. Excellent job my friend.

Thank you everyone for having taught me so much through the years, I’m a better person for it.




Blogger Unknown on 4/03/2010 4:03 PM:

Mark, MK, and WR, thank you so much for the kind words. Having the chance to interact with people like you was the reason I kept the blog going many a time when I thought I was too burned out to continue. I've enjoyed your friendship greatly over the years, and hope to continue it after the blog. Thanks for being such great readers, writers, and commenters.

Also, a sincere thanks to someone I neglected to thank in my first comment: the inimitable strandsofpearl, for designing all the images for both the old and the new site. She's responsible for the nice, clean look of both blogs, and she did a lot of that work while horribly busy herself. Thank you!


Blogger Ross Levin on 4/24/2010 7:42 PM:

This is really sad. It's actually the first time I've been to Progressive Historians in a couple of months. It is (was?) one of the better and more consistently thoughtful blogs out there. I only wish I hadn't been so occupied by junior year of high school for most of the time I've known about it.


Anonymous Ralph Brauer on 5/06/2010 12:15 PM:

I am extremely embarrassed to come to this so late, but it has not been a good winter for me.

When I first received the email about the possibility of the site closing down I had hoped it would keep going. Since then I have been in a state of denial.To see the site fold while sites like a certain orange one keep going is hard to take.

For me this site has been quite simply the one site where one could find interesting, even provocative essays and reasoned comments. Maybe I have missed something, but there was no place like this place, as the saying goes.

Major credit for this goes to Jeremy, who established both the tone and ground rules for this site. The vision he had for PH was both unique and compelling. It brought me to the site and I am grateful to Jeremy for allowing me to be a contributor.

Credit should also go to Andrew McMichael, who made a heroic effort to keep the site going, I suspect at some sacrifice to his personal and professional life.

A second compelling part of the site is the people it attracted. I will miss many of these people and their insightful comments and the debates they initiated. AH, Gordon Taylor, Lisa Pease, Elle, Winter Rabbit--and names I apologize for missing--helped to create a unique synergy here.

I also feel a bit of guilt in that perhaps had I posted more, the site would have survived. There can be no excuses for that, only apologies.

To Jeremy, my deepest appreciation and best wishes for the future. Perhaps some day we will finally meet. To Winter Rabbit, I hope you will write that book. It is in you and you are a gifted writer. To Gordon Taylor, many thanks for enlightening me about a part of the world I did not know very well and a part I did know very well along with writing prose that served as something to aim for. To AH, I will miss your comments and your unique perspective on issues. To Lisa and Elle best to you on whatever paths you choose in the future.

One last note...I am now well into a new book and have to say this site helped to inspire it. I am a year behind where I had hoped to be, but book projects have a way of doing that.

May the ideals of the site continue to inspire, for that really was what it was all about.


Blogger Unknown on 5/11/2010 5:33 AM:

Ralph, it was a pleasure to blog with you -- you were one of the people who kept me doing this when I thought about quitting, years ago.

On occasion, you can find me here. And I'll keep reading your blog, too. Keep in touch and thanks for all you've done to make this place what it is and was.