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Students Produce Third Issue of Online History Journal

BOONE—When two history majors at Appalachian State University first sought papers for a proposed online history journal, they received submissions from 11 student authors.

For the journal’s recently published third issue, the students received 66 submissions from 25 colleges.

The success of History Matters, an online journal for undergraduate history majors, has amazed its creators Eric Burnette and Matthew Manes.

“We were a little caught of guard with the number of submissions we received,” said Burnette, who is the journal’s editor.

Although there are no space constraints with an online journal, the editors are critical about what is selected for inclusion. “We try to maintain some pretty high standards in what we publish, which ends up being the best of the best,” Burnette said.

Papers published in the spring 2006 edition include “Christmas Lights and Community Building in America” by Yale College senior Brian Murray; “Ethnicity, Politics, and Society in the New South: German Immigrant Communities in Early Twentieth-Century Charleston” by Rebecca Wieters from the College of Charleston; and “Immigrant Health and the Public Schools: A Discussion of Public School Reform in New York City, 1900-1920″ by Yale College senior Carolyn Rothman, plus papers by students from UNC Chapel Hill and Amherst College.

The current issue, available at, also contains five book reviews, all written by students.

“Since we are focused on primary research, it limits the type of research undergraduates can undertake,” said Manes. “Generally we receive research papers focusing on American history or local topics.”

“We put these authors through a lot,” Burnette said. “They go through multiple edits and revisions of their papers, and at each point in the review process, there is no guarantee that a paper will be published. It’s a very strenuous, rigorous process, but one of the keys to our success is in the quality of the papers published.”

Burnette and Manes say Brian Murray’s paper was the best submission this time. “It was just fantastically written and it’s was a very original topic, well researched and a great story,” Burnette said.

Manes from Charlotte graduates in May. He has received a Rotary International Scholarship for study at Hong Kong University. Burnette of Greensboro also graduates in May. After taking a year off from studies, he will enroll in the University of Louisville’s law program.

Allison Jobe of Greensboro, a rising junior history and anthropology major, will edit the journal next year. Leah Brown of Raleigh will serve as associate editor. A rising junior, she is majoring in history education.

“It’s a daunting task,” Jobe says of her future work. “I look forward to reading future papers and finding the best ones to publish.”

The deadline for submissions for the spring 2007 issue will be January 31, 2007.

The students will be assisted by a faculty editorial board. History professor Michael Moore will continue as faculty advisor.