New Questions, Archives, and Finding Aids

This past week has found me reworking my research questions and changing the core argument of my paper. Indeed, instead of focusing on agency as a major aspect of my paper, instead agency will come into play in only one section. I am also researching newspapers and advertising and the means by which dogs were used to boost civilian morale. Thus, some of my new research questions are: how were dogs presented to civilians during World War I? Why were dogs used to boost civilian morale? 

While conducting research over the past few weeks, I have discovered a couple of newspaper archives that have been particularly useful for me. One is the online archive for  the United Kingdom’s The Times. I found a plethora of World War I newspaper articles pertinent to my research paper in this particular archive. I have also stumbled upon America’s Historical Newspapers, an archive with historical newspapers from Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, to name but a few. I have unearthed many successful newspaper articles in this archive as well. Fortunately, we live in a day and age when we can access such useful sources online and historians are no longer forced to painstakingly sift through old newspapers for hours at the local library. The convenience of these online newspapers is not lost on this historian. I am very grateful for such ease of access.

Prior to last week, I had never heard of a “finding aid.” Fortunately, I was able to quickly discover a finding aid that could be potentially useful to me. This finding aid accompanies a military collection of World War I papers and posters at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. It is quite detailed and I believe many of  the artifacts it describes and contains will prove helpful in my research and the crafting of my research project.