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Historical Context Statement

University Archives strives to make our historical and digital resources openly available to faculty, staff, students, alumni, researchers, and the general public.

The Archives offers broad public access to a variety of historical materials.  Some of these materials may include content that some viewers find objectionable, including images, language, and the presence of negative stereotypes.  Is is essential to remember that these materials should be viewed in the context of the relevant time period in which they were created. 

 

According to the dictionary by Merrian-Webster, the word "context" is defined as:

  1. :the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning
  2. :the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs :environment, setting

 

When researching historical materials, it is important to understand the context of the time period in which they were created rather than to judge them by today's standards.  There are many resources to assist researchers with contextualizing a historical source; one example is the University of Minnesota's list of questions to consider when putting sources into historical context.