Today in my Historical Methods class we discussed Jill Lepore’s Journal of American History essay, “Historians Who Love to Much: Reflections on Microhistory and Biography.” It was a hilarious class. I confessed that during the course of writing and researching The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America I would often have dreams about Philip Vickers Fithian. I told them about the day I spent running around colonial Williamsburg with my family looking for a Fithian re-enactor. I even referenced my “relationship” with Fithian as a “bromance” and a “mancrush.”
The students seemed to get a big kick out of this. Some of them thought I needed therapy. I tried to defend myself by saying that at least I was not like Jill Lepore–sitting in an archive gently stroking a lock of hair from Noah Webster!
How about you? Have you ever developed an affection for a historical figure? All stories are welcome!