Reflections of my 299 experience

December 10th, 2007

I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge this semester.  If you had asked me the definition of historiography back in September, I would have told you that it was probably some sort of flu-like symptom.  A lit review would have meant nothing to me.  Now, I know what goes into becoming a Historian and I have new-found respect for this title.  

I have learned the proper way to research a subject, using primary and secondary sourcing, skimming books for data instead of reading them from cover to cover, and how to present my research in a coherent way, whether written or verbally. 

I wish that I had known how much time this course required, I would have planned my courseload differently.  I think that I learned more in this class than I have in any other.  The work was time consuming and sometimes difficult, the oral presentations were nerve-wracking, the class itself was entertaining, and I am very glad I was able to share this experience with everyone in here.  You have all made it worthwhile.  

So here I sit

November 15th, 2007

So, it’s 5 o’clock on a Thursday, which means that I should be downstairs making dinner for my family.  Instead I’m stuck on this computer trying to put the finishing touches on my paper.  I cannot wait until December 14th at 3:30.  Then maybe I’ll go back to making dinners, until then I’ll just keep moving forward.

Ellen’s chronology

October 30th, 2007

Born in Buffalo, NY on June 10, 1963 (Yes, that’s right. I’m as old as your mother.)

Went to Lancaster High School and graduated in 1981

Went to the University of Buffalo 1981-1982

Worked for Citibank as a Customer Service Rep 1982-1988

Worked for an Environmental Company as project manager 1988-1995

Met my husband at work in 1992

Married on January 28, 1995 and moved to Marblehead, MA just north of Boston

 Worked for a medical device company as Payroll manager 1995-1997

Went out on maternity leave in August 1997

Gave birth to twins, Jon and Monica, on December 4, 1997

Found out I was pregnant again in April 1998

Moved back to Buffalo, NY in July 1998

Gave birth to my daughter, Nicole on December 12, 1998 (Yes, that’s right.  They are all almost Irish triplets.  I just missed it by 8 days.)

Built a house in Rochester, NY and moved in on September 24, 1999

Went back to school in September 2001

Found out I was again pregnant in June 2002

Gave birth to my daughter Claire on January 28, 2003 (my wedding anniversary).

My husband got a new job in May, 2004 and we moved to Virginia

Went back to school September 2005

Bought a house in July 2007.

These events listed are just the highlights and reflect the positives in my life.  They give an outline to my life and provide chronological data.

The Truth

October 9th, 2007

The twice stolen car is the truth; hard to believe but true.  We went to a Buffalo Bills game and my 1973 Ford LTD was stolen, along with four purses in the trunk.  The thieves were so stupid, they never even opened the trunk, so we got them all back.  The first set of thieves  jammed a screwdriver into the ignition, so the car could only be moved by towing it; or hotwiring, which the second set of thieves apparantly did.  Everyone found this story to be hilarious, except for the insurance company and the cops.

Which is true?

October 5th, 2007

Story 1

 I was on my way home from work a few years ago, and had a terrible accident on the Thruway.  I was hurt really bad, so bad in fact that they had to call in MercyFlight to take me to the hospital.  It turned out that the helicopter pilot was a friend of mine from school.  He came to visit me quite a bit while I was in the hospital, and we started dating after I got home.  We married three years later and took a helicopter ride around Hawaii on our honeymoon.

Story 2

A bunch of people piled in to my old beat up car to go to a football game and when we came out, my car was stolen.  It turned up a few days later, but the thieves had trashed it so bad that I had to have it towed to a friend’s repair shop.  He called me the next morning and told me that my car had been stolen again that night from his shop.  Needless to say, the police and the insurance company had a tough time believing my story.

Secondary Source

September 30th, 2007

Borch, Fred, and Daniel Martinez. Kimmel, Short and Pearl Harbor: The Final Report Revealed. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute, 2005.

1.  Provide some information about the author.

  • Fred Borch is an Army lawyer.  His latest assignment was as chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions, DOD.  He supervised the prosecution of terrorists detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  He has extensive knowledge of the subject of my review; he is one of the three writers of the Dorn Report, a study commissioned to investigate what General Short and Admiral Kimmel were guilty of and who else was responsible. 

2.  Why did the author write this book?  What’s the author’s perspective.

  • Colonel Borch wrote this book to submit all the facts regarding Pearl Harbor that were learned during the Dorn investigation.  He wanted to: (1)bring the full text of the Dorn Report’s to the public for scholars and others to study, (2) present the first comprehensive official investigation into responsibility and culpability at Pearl Harbor to be conducted since the 1940’s, (3)present the facts from the first official inquiry to conclude that Kimmel and Short were not alone responsible, (4) continue to frame the debate about the responsibility for the attack, and (5) to address the restoration of Admiral Kimmel and General Short to their wartime ranks.

3.  What is the author’s methodology?   What sources does the author use?  What is the book’s thesis?

  • The author reviewed many primary and secondary sources, including the original transcripts from the previous 9 commissions, the report of the Joint Congressional Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, as well as official personnel records for Admiral Kimmel and General Short.  He examined correspondence between their families and the Army and Navy on reinstating their ranks posthulously.  He also read works from Kimmel’s own book, and Gordon Prange’s At Dawn We Slept.  In addition to extensive research,  The three-man commission conducted a site visit to Oahu and met with the families of Kimmel and Short.

4.  When was the book written?

  • The book was written in 2005.

5.  How will you use the source for your paper?

  • There is a plethora of information regarding General Short’s culpability as well as a large list of primary and secondary sources available in the bibliography. 

6.  What are some of the problems that you foresee in using this source for your paper?

  • I can only use it as a secondary source, but I can also use it as a jumping-off point to collect primary source data.


September 25th, 2007

When taking  notes in class, I try to organize the notes in somewhat of an outline format, using the main talking points as headings and the discussions of these points as subheadings.  When doing research, I think that my method is rather cumbersome but effective for me.  I usually sketch out a rough outline of the paper I’m trying to write, then look for pertinant data.  Once I have it, I usually include all of the bibliographic info right in the outline, making sure to put it parantheses or bold the data.  Then, when I’m ready to write the report, I have the information right there to footnote. 

Primary Resource

September 16th, 2007

One of the primary resources that I will be using for my research is the personal manuscript from Major General H.D. Russell, a member of the U.S. Army Pearl Harbor Review Board.  General Russell dictated his recollection between 1944 and 1946, the two years following completion of the Review Boards investigation and conclusions.  General Russell relays the facts of the investigation in chronological order.  Having gained first-hand knowledge of the investigation, General Russell puts forth a strong argument in the defense of General Short, and is very critical of General George Marshall. 

I think that some of the limitations in using this source are:  the review board used the evidence that the Roberts Commission collected 5 years prior, General Russell has a background in the law, so his take on some issues might differ from someone without a legal background,  There was a concerted effort by the War Department to control the investigation and I don’t know yet whether they were successful.  Other sources that I’m planning on using are the Roberts Commission report, newspaper articles of the time period, and Admiral Kimmel’s book.


September 9th, 2007

So far, I have consulted with Dr. Blakemore and am meeting with a UMW research librarian tomorrow. 

I have used the various UMW search engines by keywords, search terms, jstor, and have looked under official military websites as well as the National Archives webpage. 

 The search terms that I have used are: Pearl Harbor, U.S. Army Pearl Harbor Investigation Board, as well as Military Intelligence 1941.

Research Topic

September 6th, 2007

A few years ago, I travelled to Hawaii on vacation and one of the side-trips was a tour of Pearl Harbor.  At the time, I wasn’t too interested in the history, just wanted to say that I’d been there, done that.  When I stepped onto the Arizona Memorial, I was spellbound.  Everyone there was so quiet, even children.   The site itself brought feelings so overwhelming, that it took my breath away.  When you look down the turret and see the oil still seeping out of the ship, it almost seems that those men who were killed might still be alive down there.  I was also fortunate enough to meet some of the survivors there and their stories were fascinating as well as horrifying. 

My subject is going to assess the successes and failures of the Japanese on the attack of Pearl.  I want to know why the Japanese only went after battleship row and the airfields but neglected to bomb the fuel depot, the submarines and the dry docks.  In leaving these relatively in tact, I think that they allowed us the opportunity to rebuild quickly; much quicker than I think they ever imagined.  My “So What” then will deal with the ramifications of their decision to not proceed with a third attack.  I worry that this topic might be too much for me to analyze in a 8 page paper and would appreciate any suggestions anyone has on how I could narrow this topic down.