As geography without history seemeth a carkasse

As Geography without History seemeth a carkasse without motion; so History without Geography wandreth as a Vagrant without a certaine habitation.  ~John Smith, quoted in The Past Before Us by Michael Kammen, ed.SH

If the past has been an obstacle

If the past has been an obstacle and a burden, knowledge of the past is the safest and the surest emancipation.  ~John Acton, Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History, Cambridge, 11 Jun 1895, Essays on Freedom and PowerSH

The study of history is the playground

The study of history is the playground of patriotism.  ~George M. Wrong, Review of Public Opinion on the Teaching of History in the United States by Bessid Pierce, Canadian Historical Review, March 1927; SH

That is the triumph of history

[T]hat is the triumph of history – truth absolute is not at hand; the original with which to match the copy does not exist.  ~Jacques Barzun, Clio and the DoctorsSH

History is indeed little more than the

History… is, indeed, little more than the register of the ‘crimes, follies, and misfortunes’ of mankind.  But what experience and history teach is this – that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.  ~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, "Introduction," 1807

No one can really know the life

No one can really know the life of his own day, let alone that of times long past.  Always the historian sees as in a mirror darkly, the reds and the golds rendered drab by the shadows of time.  ~Earl R. Beck, On Teaching History in Colleges and UniversitiesSH

I dont know much about history and

I don’t know much about history, and I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world.  History is more or less bunk.  It is a tradition.  We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.  ~Henry Ford, quoted in The Tragedy of Henry Ford by Jonathan Newton Leonard; History is more or less bunk. ~Henry Ford, Court Record, Chicago Tribune libel case, 1919, Saturday Review, 22 Jan 1955; SH

And how fascinating history is the

And how fascinating history is – the long, variegated pageant of man’s still continuing evolution of this strange planet, so much the most interesting of all the myriads of spinners through space.  ~George Macaulay Trevelyan, An AutobiographySH

History is a jangle of accidents blunders

History is a jangle of accidents, blunders, surprises and absurdities, and so is our knowledge of it, but if we are to report it at all we must impose some order upon it.  ~Henry Steele Commanger, The Nature and the Study of HistorySH

History fades into fable fact becomes clouded

History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription molders from the tablet:  the statue falls from the pedestal.  Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?  ~Washington Irving, The Sketch Book: Westminster AbbeySH

All that the historians give us are

All that the historians give us are little oases in the desert of time, and we linger fondly in these, forgetting the vast tracks between one and another that were trodden by the weary generations of men.  ~John Alfred Spender, The Comments of BagshotSH

History being the record of human action

History being the record of human action is a richly variegated material, and it is not easy to give a true impression of the stuff by snipping off an inch or two for a pattern.  ~Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, Truth and OpinionSH

The writing of histories as goethe

The writing of histories – as Goethe once noted – is one way of getting rid of the weight of the past…. The writing of history liberates us from history.  ~Benedetto Croce, History as the Story of LibertySH

History is an aggregation of truths half truths

History… is an aggregation of truths, half-truths, semi-truths, fables, myths, rumors, prejudices, personal narratives, gossip, and official prevarications.  It is a canvas upon which thousands of artists throughout the ages have splashed their conceptions and interpretations of a day and an era.  Some motifs are grotesque and some are magnificent.  ~Philip D. Jordan, Usefulness of Useless Knowledge, Historian, May 1960; SH

Too many historical writers are the votaries

Too many historical writers are the votaries of cults, which, by definition are dedicated to whitewashing warts and hanging halos.  ~Thomas A. Bailey, The Mythmakers of American History, Journal of American History, June 1968; SH

One of the deepest impulses in man

One of the deepest impulses in man is the impulse to record, – to scratch a drawing on a tusk or keep a diary, to collect sagas and heap cairns.  This instinct as to the enduring value of the past is, one might say, the very basis of civilization.  ~John Jay Chapman, Memories and MilestonesSH

It is part of my creed that

It is part of my creed that the only poetry is history, could we tell it right.  ~Thomas Carlyle, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 12 Aug 1834; SH

History is a mixture of error and

[History is a] mixture of error and violence.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quoted in Between Past and Future by Hannah Arendt; SH

History is full of the dead weight

History is full of the dead weight of things which have escaped the control of the mind, yet drive man on with a blind force.  ~Frederick Maurice Powicke, History, Freedom & ReligionSH

The unrecorded past is none other than

The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard.  ~Barbara Tuchman, quoted in New York Times, 8 Mar 1964; SH

The lovers of romance can go elsewhere

The lovers of romance can go elsewhere for satisfaction but where can the lovers of truth turn if not to history?  ~Katharine Anthony, Writing Biography in The Writer’s Book by Helen Hull, ed.SH

You dont change the course of history

You don’t change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall.  ~Jawaharlal Nehru, quoted in New York Post, 1 Apr 1959; SH

Delusion about history is a serious matter

Delusion about history is a serious matter; it can gravely affect the history that is waiting to be made.  ~John Terraine, The Smoke and the Fire: Myths and Anti-Myths of War, 1861-1945; SH

History begins in novel and ends essay

History begins in novel and ends in essay.  ~Thomas Babington Macaulay, quoted in Literature and the Historian by Walter Laqueur, Journal of Contemporary History, April 1967; SH

History is philosophy teaching by examples thucydides

History is philosophy teaching by examples.  ~Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian WarSH; History is philosophy teaching by example.  ~Dionysius of Halicarnassus, fl., Ars Rhetorica, was about 20 BC and Thycydides was between 460 and 400 BC

History is fallible as every man fallible

[History] is fallible as every man is fallible.  But it is likewise trustworthy, as a man is trustworthy who has looked into himself and come to know how blended are dust and fire in the innermost recesses of the human heart.  ~Arthur Bestor, The Humaneness of History in The Craft of American History by A.S. Eisenstadt, ed.; SH

It is a great pity that every

It is a great pity that every human being does not, at an early stage of his life, have to write a historical work.  He would then realize that the human race is in quite a jam about truth.  ~Rebecca West a.k.a. Cicily Isabel Andrews; SH

The past remains integral to us all

The past remains integral to us all, individually and collectively.  We must concede the ancients their place, as I have argued.  But their place is not simply back there in a separate and foreign country; it is assimilated in ourselves, and resurrected into an ever-changing present.  ~David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign CountrySH

Historians of literature like to regard a

Historians of literature like to regard a century as a series of ten faces, each grimacing in a different way.  ~Richard Ellman, quoted in New York Times, 5 Feb 1967; SH

If one could make alive again for

If one could make alive again for other people some cobwebbed skein of old dead intrigues and breathe breath and character into dead names and stiff portraits.  That is history to me!  ~George Macaulay Trevelyan, quoted in Contemporary Review, August 1974 by Moorman; SH

History was a trash bag of random

google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore)

History was a trash bag of random coincidences torn open in a wind.  Surely, Watt with his steam engine, Faraday with his electric motor, and Edison with his incandescent light bulb did not have it as their goal to contribute to a fuel shortage some day that would place their countries at the mercy of Arab oil.  ~Joseph Heller, Good as GoldSH

History is a tyranny over the souls

[History is] a tyranny over the souls of the dead – and so the imagination of the living.  ~William Carlos Williams, quoted in The Future of the Past by C. Vann Woodward, American Historical Review, February 1970; SH

Every major horror of history was committed

Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.  Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism?  ~Ayn Rand, The FountainheadSH

Man watches his history on the screen

Man watches his history on the screen with apathy and an occasional passing flicker of horror or indignation.  ~Conor Cruise O’Brien, quoted in Irish Times, 16 Jul 1969; SH

There is no such thing as a

There is no such thing as a neutral or purely objective historian.  Without an opinion a historian would be simply a ticking clock, and unreadable besides.  ~Philip Howard, quoted in The Times, 4 Feb 1982; SH

The public history of all countries and

The public history of all countries, and all ages, is but a sort of mask, richly colored.  The interior working of the machinery must be foul.  ~John Quincy Adams, Diary, 9 Nov 1822SH

The real history does not get written

The real history does not get written, because it is not in people’s brains but in their nerves and vitals.  ~Alfred North Whitehead, Dialogues of Alfred North WhiteheadSH

A look at the past reminds us

A look at the past reminds us of how great is the distance, and how short, over which we have come.  The past makes us ask what we have done with us.  It makes us ask whether our very achievements are not ironical counterpoint and contrast to our fundamental failures.  ~Robert Penn Warren, Robert Penn Warren: New and Selected Essays; SH

It is pleasant to be transferred from

It is pleasant to be transferred from an office where one is afraid of a sergeant-major into an office where one can intimidate generals, and perhaps this is why history is so attractive to the more timid among us.  We can recover self-confidence by snubbing the dead.  ~E.M. Forster, Abinger HarvestSH

We are never completely contemporaneous with our

We are never completely contemporaneous with our present.  History advances in disguise; it appears on stage wearing a mask of the preceding scene, and we tend to lose the meaning of the play.  ~Régis Debray, Revolution in the Revolution?SH

History is the sextant of states which

[H]istory is the sextant of states which, tossed by wind and current, would be lost in confusion if they could not fix their position.  ~Allan Nevins, The Gateway to HistorySH

Man simply cannot live as the time animal

Man simply cannot live as the time-animal and the art-animal that he is, without history.  ~Carlton J.H. Hayes, Some Uses and Abuses of History, B.K. Smith Lecture in History, University of Saint Thomas, 1958; SH

The game of history is usually played

The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.  ~Eric Hoffer, The True BelieverSH

History is concerned primarily with human phenomena

History is concerned primarily with human phenomena, not with natural; and history is doubly human because, as an idea, it is man’s creation, challenging him to transcend the limits of information about himself and to discover what he is by finding meaning in what he has done.  In short, it is man’s commentary on man.  ~John Barker, The SuperhistoriansSH

Civilization is a stream with banks the

Civilization is a stream with banks.  The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues.  The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks.  Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.  ~Will Durant, quoted in Life, 18 Oct 1963; SH

Neither a wise man nor brave lies

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, quoted in Time, 6 Oct 1952; SH

History is nothing but a problem of

History is nothing but a problem of mechanics applied to psychology.  ~Hippolyte Taine, quoted in History of Historical Writing by ThompsonSH

History an account mostly false of events

History:  An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s DictionarySH

Histories used often to be stories the

Histories used often to be stories:  the fashion now is to leave out the story.  Our histories are stall-fed:  the facts are absorbed by the reflexions, as the meat is sometimes by the fat.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Every great writer is a of history

Every great writer is a writer of history, let him treat on almost any subject he may.  ~Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversation: Diogenes and PlatoSH

History like a vast river propels logs

History, like a vast river, propels logs, vegetation, rafts, and debris; it is full of live and dead things, some destined for resurrection; it mingles many waters and holds in solution invisible substances stolen from distant soils.  ~Jacques Barzun, Clio and the DoctorsSH