This Week in Personal History... July 25

curated links to blogs and articles of interest to personal historians and family biographers

“Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.”

—Oprah WInfrey



This week’s collection of links runs the gamut from frivolous (think Meryl Streep’s hair) to the significant (the value of personal storytelling to bridge divides). Which story lingers with you after reading? Please comment and share with other memory-keepers and storytellers!

Roundup of Personal History Blogs - July 25, 2017

In the News

“The dead help the living face what lies ahead. In exchange, the living must translate the lives of the dead into history. They can find myriad ways to do so, from visiting gravesites to writing someone’s biography.” An interesting look back at the phenomenon of postmortem photographs in The Atlantic.

Storytelling evenings aim to engage Muslim & Jewish communities in conversation at a time when the climate is strained. “The ability to have conversations across difference has never been more difficult and never been more important.”

In Beirut, where the tradition of public storytelling has faded in recent decades, a new phenomenon is drawing crowds: autobiographical storytelling events where participants share their experiences on a theme such as love, transition, or roots. 

On the Blogs

Birthday letters are an easy way to keep a consistent & meaningful record of your life, writes Olive Lowe of Phoenix-based Life Stories by Liv.

Family names can reveal more than just family history—they can be indicative of social & cultural influences, and sometimes plain old taste. Australia-based personal historian Rose Osborne takes a light look at the women in her family.

For Richmond, Virginia–based Carol McLaren, July 20, 1969, is a date with both personal & historical significance. Read about her memorable childhood experience that just happened to coincide with “a giant leap for mankind.”

Worth Checking Out

Spotted: Meryl Streep donning a teased-up mouse-brown wig to better resemble Katharine “Kay” Graham, who she’s portraying in a Spielberg-led biopic. It’s based on The Washington Post publisher’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1998 memoir, Personal History, which I highly recommend you read (whether you plan to see the film or not)! Get a taste of the book in Nora Ephron’s original New York Times review from 1997.

“Your legacy is every life you’ve touched,” said Oprah Winfrey in her 2017 commencement speech at Agnes Scott College. View highlights in this brief video.

oprah winfrey speaks about the importance of legacy at agness scott college commencement speech


Quick Takes