Do you ever just bow down to someone’s incredibleness? I know it’s a cliché topic, “What historical figure would you like to have dinner with?” I know you’ve all heard it. You’ve probably even prepared an answer, probably someone noteworthy, someone admirable, and well-known for a specific contribution.
But I take the question one step forward, what historian, archaeologist, archivist, curator has rocked your world? I bet there is one, whether you know it or not. If you are a photographer, maybe it was the curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, where perhaps you saw your first glimpse of Ansel Adams. Perhaps you are a scientist, and the biography you read as a kid about Marie Curie is what rocked your world. Almost everyone at some point in their life has been touched by the work of a historian.
Personally, the first honest example that pops into my mind is Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, a British curator, who specialized in Egyptology. I had about every book he has ever written, from his volumes on deciphering hieroglyphs to his commentary on the Book of the Dead. Because of him my passion for history blossomed and grew. Of course, there are many other everyday and famous historians that helped me along my way, but if I had to pick just one, he’d be it.
Do you know who your Histori(c/an) Hero is?