Made His Mark: Daniel J. Boorstin, A Man and His World

renee kimball dog photo written by Renee Kimball


Education is learning what you didn’t even know
you didn’t know. ~ 
Daniel J. Boorstin

2018-08-09 renee kimball www Daniel_Boorstin copy wiki commons
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There are many people who have never heard of Daniel J. Boorstin.  You may not know of him or his lifetime of work.  Boorstin is one of a group of modern historians who rose to prominence in the 1950’s and beyond.   At the beginning of his career, there was no internet and the general public was eager for information primarily found in books.

Boorstin was born in 1914 and died in 2004, at the age of 89.   He was a man of many talents, but in terms of authorship and approach he was truly unique.   To study all his work would take a lifetime.

He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for the last book of a trilogy he titled The Americans. The trilogy included:  The Colonial Experience (1958), The National Experience (1965), and The Democratic Experience (1973).

Boorstin’s gift was his laser-like insight and unrivaled ability of connectedness.  He was adept at evaluating trends and society, as well as history, and combining both into highly readable chronologies.  His writing details historical events, social change, progress, and scholarly viewpoints throughout the history of America and the world.  To say that Boorstin was the consummate researcher is an understatement.

Not only was Boorstin adept at interconnecting facts, people, places, inventions, and abstract concepts into a smooth and interconnected whole, no one that I am aware of has written with the same clarity or ability as a historian – Boorstin has no equal.  He was also such a prolific writer; a published annotated bibliography was produced comprised solely of his work in 2000.

2018-08-08 WWW Renee kimball amazon The image - book cover - boorstein 51iKBhLpL4L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_
The Image

Daniel J. Boorstin is what I have personally dubbed “a place keeper.”  He is the type of historical and social writer who sees the pivotal in the mundane, marks it, explains it and knows what effect the event had at a certain point in time, and the impact it could have in the future.  Boorstin was one of the first to literally name certain social conditions.  He was the first to coin “image”, the “non-event” and the “celebrity”, all concepts either invented, or first dissected, by him.” (Hodgson, 2004).

But who was this man? Why is his writing so important to us today?

Boorstin was born in 1914 in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Russian Jewish Immigrants.  His father was an attorney who represented Leo Frank, and despite being found innocent of the rape and murder of a young girl, Frank was later lynched by The Klu Klux Klan.  Anti-Semitism forced the Boorstin family to relocate to Oklahoma.

After completing his early schooling, Boorstin went first to Harvard Law, graduated, then studied at Balliol College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.  During 1938, he joined the Communist Party for one year. He dropped his affiliation when Russia and Germany invaded Poland.  He never returned to the Communist Party, and fully denounced it when questioned in later years.

He received his doctorate at Yale and was hired as a professor at Swarthmore College in 1942. Later, Boorstin became a professor at the University of Chicago, holding that position for twenty-five years.  He later attained the position of “Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions,” at the University of Cambridge.  In 1974, he became the Librarian of Congress upon the nomination of then President Gerald Ford, and retained that position for a full twelve years.

He married Ruth Frankel, in 1941.  Their marriage was a solid one lasting the rest of their lives.  Ruth was also Boorstin’s editor. “Without her,” he was quoted as saying, “I think my works would have been twice as long and half as readable.”

Boorstin is most famous for the trilogy, The Americans; however a second well-known trilogy spanned an all-encompassing study of man and the world in which he lives.   That trilogy included : (1) The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself, (2) The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination and (3) The Seekers: The Story of Man’s Continuing Quest to Understand His World Knowledge Trilogy.

These works are maps from where man began, his creations along the way, the curves and changes that mark man’s historical progress, and their effects on society. They are important because Boorstin is a place finder and a place keeper who shows our progress as a country, society, and habitants of this large world that we all are a part – and guides us to something better in ourselves.   These works are lasting works, we can all learn something from Boorstin’s achievements.



Daniel Boorstin’s books cited above are available from Amazon,


Hodgson, Godfrey. Obituary – Daniel Boorstin. Prolific American social historian who charted the corrupting influence of advertising and spin on political life. The Guardian U.S. Edition.

Mon 1 Mar 2004 03.59 ESTFirst published on Mon 1 Mar 2004 03.59 EST.

Daniel J. Boorstin. Wikipedia.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Daniel J. Boorstin. American Historian. The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Washington Post.  Langer, Emily.  Ruth F. Boorstin, writer and editor, dies at 95. December 6, 2013.


A former paralegal, Renee Kimball has a master’s degree in criminal justice. Among her interests are reading and writing. She is an active Animal Advocate, fosters and rescues both dogs and cats from shelters, and works with various organizations to find them forever homes.


Donate a Book–Save a Life

Today Writing Wranglers and Warriors
welcomes a new blogger,
Renee Kimball.

Posted by Renee Kimball

Imagine being unable to read or to read at such a low level that you cannot understand a simple receipt, a renter’s lease, or your child’s homework, complete a job application, or learn a basic skill set.  If one is functionally illiterate – unable to read and comprehend the simplest of materials -daily life is a monumental struggle.

One of the largest populations of the functionally illiterate are found within the criminal justice system of the United States. The U.S. prison population is now at 2.2 million, and according to The Literacy Project, 75 percent of these are functionally illiterate. This number however, does not include the number of individuals on parole status–currently over 3 million.

Inmate illiteracy will remain a road block to social integration unless educational opportunities are provided – most importantly– reading skills.  Without educational support the recidivist cycle is a revolving door back to prison.  The Rand study found prisoners who are provided educational support “had a 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not.”

There are however, many who believe that providing reading materials – books – are a way to break the hopeless cycle of recidivism.

In Texas, The Inside Book Project, ISP, responds to prisoners’ requests for reading and instructional materials and providing over 35,000 books yearly to Texas inmates.  ISP’s site provides a listing of inmates’ most requested books, where a dictionary is the second most requested item.  They also list books that are not allowed by the Texas correctional system (each state has specific requirements as to subject matter allowed in their system).

If you happen to be a lover of books and are considering donating the books you no longer need, consider researching which local organization in your state provides books for prisoners– you might just possibly change  a life.

2018-03-21-RENEE 2 -WWW



A former paralegal, Renee Kimball has a master’s degree in criminal justice. Among her interests are reading and writing. She is active in rescuing dogs from shelters and placing them in forever homes.

Getting Educated on Marketing

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

As a writer there are two things I truly suck at, punctuation and marketing.  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to work on both.  So when an on line course I had been eyeing was offered for free for one week only I signed up.


This was my first experience with an on line class and how they work.  I knew each day of the Book Marketing Summit I would receive an email with links to the days segments.  On day one I learned there would be 4 or 5 segments each day.  Each link was accessible for 48 hours and then it disappeared.


The segments consisted of interviews with a knowledgeable professional about a specific aspect of marketing; most of them were an hour long.  That’s four or five hours a day, add in my part time job, laundry, meals, etc, etc.  I would not be spending any time with critters that week.


At the end of the seven days I had worked 26 hours and traveled close to 400 miles to do it.  I had completed all 28 segments and had 40 pages of notes. 

I have now sorted my notes into categories and have a game plan.  The first order of business for me is to start building my list.  What list you ask, why my e mail list of course.  This list will consist of people who want to follow the progress of my publishing journey with my new book. 

On a bi-weekly, or possibly monthly basis I will e mail each of them an update on my progress, and offer a free look behind the scenes every now and then to keep them engaged.  Once the book is released they will get an e mail with a bonus if they purchase the book.   .  If this sounds like a journey you would like to take with me just E mail me   Feel free to share this blog with others that may also be interested.


The timing on this marketing summit couldn’t have been better. I am in the final stages of finishing a book my sister and I wrote together.  The working title of the book is simply “Sisters”.  It is a memoir that takes the reader through 12 years of our lives as we become adults.


As I build my list I will also be putting together my launch team. What is a launch team?  It’s a group of people that are super interested in this process.  The launch team is my sounding board for decisions on things like the book description, the cover,  keywords, what freebees to offer (launch team members get all the freebies)   categories and more. The launch team members will have first access to the book and I am hoping most will write reviews. 


There is still a lot to do before we go to print, but I have learned a lot about on line marketing and I am hoping my new found education will serve me well in the future.  What are your marketing secrets? How will you apply them to your next project? 

Thanks for stopping by.

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.


S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at

Or get your autographed copy at S. J. Brown website

S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

You can order your copies from her website S.J. Brown

Cover All the Birds I See CoverHow will you apply them to your next project.






Elevation Education by Doris

hhj spc 3Post copyright Doris McCraw

Ever Envision Entertaining the thought of writing about E? There are a lot of avenues of possibilities. For myself after entertaining the idea of Electricity- Tesla V Edison, I realized I lived at 6,000+ feet above sea level and traveled to 8,000 and 10,000 regularly. What is common place for me can be challenging and sometimes hazardous to others. Therefore a lesson in Elevation seemed in order.

Colorado Topographic Map-USGS

Colorado is considered one of, it not the highest state in the nation. It is home to over 50 peaks above 14,000 feet. The highest incorporated town in North America is here, the town of Leadville, know for it history, minerals and the folks who came, went or died there. Many people in the late 1800 and early 1900’s came to Colorado for their health. The clear air, the exact opposite of the coal laden city air of the eastern cities, was the factor that drew them here. It was life saving for many, but for some, a death sentence.

Colorado Springs historic map – Colorado Springs, Colorado City and Manitou, CO, 1882

Why a death sentence? If you have ever been to Colorado you will notice cities have their elevation listed, not population. If you have heart problems elevation is a defining factor in your traveling. It is my thought that one of the reasons elevation is listed is for that very reason. Many people with heart problems have trouble when they go above certain elevations. For many that is 8,000 feet, for others it is much less. For Mary Lincoln Mellon (Queen) Palmer, it was the reason she could not remain in Colorado Springs with her husband, Wm. Jackson Palmer, the city’s founder.

Palmer and his wife “Queen” Palmer …

Even those without heart issues can find the change in elevation challenging. Coming from sea level to Colorado Springs or higher can lead to altitude sickness, depending on your susceptibility. The following are two links describing the problem and some tips:

One interesting side effect, especially for those who imbibe in alcoholic beverages; folks you can’t drink as much at a higher elevation as you did at a lower one. There ain’t as much oxygen at higher elevations. Even when going from my 6,000 to the top of Pikes Peak’s 14,115 is a big change. I’ve been to the top many times, sometimes to speak and sing ‘America the Beautiful’ as Katharine Lee Bates, and I have to conserve and use what oxygen there is to be effective.

Pikes Peak as seen from the West
Pikes Peak as seen from the West, from the authors collection

Now you have had a bit of an education, please don’t let it stop you from traveling. There are many beautiful things to see in this world. But as they say, education is power. Power to make good choices and to prepare for eventuality. Until next time, may this little education about elevation help you make plans for travel and add insights and ideas to your writing.

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Author Page:
Photo and Poem:

A to Z Blog Challenge Post A-to-Z Road Trip

A Tale of Two Sisters and Hamlet



By Kathy Waller


Do young female college graduates still worry about being consigned to the typing pool?

English: Smith-Premier Typewriter Company of S...
English: Smith-Premier Typewriter Company of Syracuse, New York – Model 2 – December 1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By Smith-Premier Typewriter Company (Modern Motor Cars, Volume 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
That was a big issue when I was in college in the 1970s: It was well known that educated, qualified women often had to settle for clerical work while their male counterparts filled professional positions.

At a women’s conference I attended in the early 1980s, a college junior announced her plan to prevent such gender discrimination: Both she and her sister had decided they would never learn to type.

Her tone hinted that they looked at typing as royalty once looked at writing by hand: a variety of manual labor reserved for lesser folk. It occurred to me they might regret skipping that skill: after all, because Prince Hamlet could write, he was able to ensure the treacherous Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would be put to death as soon as they arrived in England, thus saving himself (for a few more days). As an English major, I had acquired the skill of relating Great Literature to Real Life.

Anyway, I’ve thought about those sisters often over past thirty years. I thought about them as I banged away on my electric Smith-Corona, trying to produce a readable draft of my master’s thesis. I thought about them at every computer workshop the school district where I worked sent me to. I thought about them when the library I served as director installed a network, automated the catalog, and began subscribing to online databases. I thought about them when I became so comfortable with the computer keyboard that I stopped composing with pen and paper.

(I thought about them the day I was too lazy to pick up a marker and  dash off Out to Lunch/Back at 1:00 on a sticky note, but the memory embarrasses me, so I don’t like to talk about it.)

Not long after that conference, typewriters moved out of the secretary’s office and super-typewriters–Apples and PCs–moved in. From there, they moved in with the boss. And with the doctor, the lawyer, the nurse, and the mechanic.

So I’ve wondered how the sisters got along.

Well, actually, I think I know how they got along. I’ve wondered where they took their typing class and how easy it was to catch up with their former high school classmates.

Now there’s a move in education to remove the teaching of cursive writing from the curriculum. Learning cursive takes time and practice, and the school day is packed with so many other subjects–including keyboarding (the new and improved term for typing). By the third grade, some children type thirty or forty words a minute. Fourth-graders do reports in MS Word and post them to their own websites. It just makes sense to toss out cursive and embrace the new technology.

Except that it doesn’t.

Studies show that writing in cursive affects brain development in ways that keyboarding does not. It engages multiple areas of the brain. It improves thinking and memory. It promotes reading readiness. It supports higher SAT scores. When a keyboard isn’t available, cursive is faster than printing.

(Ever try to scrawl a quick note by printing?)

And, says Dr. William Klemm, Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, cursive is “more likely to engage students by providing a better sense of personal style and ownership.”

Remember, once you’d mastered the basics, playing with cursive? Writing your name over and over, decorating your textbook covers with it, imitating your left-handed teacher’s elegant backhand even though she told you not to, trying out different ways to form capital letters until you hit upon one that was you?

And the pens. Getting to use your father’s Papermate fountain pen, filling it with ink from a bottle and ending up with dark blue smudges on your fingers and your face. Discovering cartridge pens in sixth grade and blowing your allowance on replacement cartridges. Discovering that Bic pens cost less and last longer. Investing in gel pens, felt tips, roller-balls . . . in a variety of colors.

The men reading this might not remember, but I’ll bet the women do.

I didn’t plan to write a paean to cursive writing, but I suppose that’s how it’s turned out. My own emotions aside, however, I believe removing cursive from the curriculum does a disservice to children, and, possibly, to our collective future.

After the young woman at the conference said she would not learn to type, another panelist, a retired nurse active in the Gray Panthers, said she believed in acquiring every skill she could. Perhaps the sisters took note.

Times have changed and will continue to do so. Technology in the form of operating systems, apps, social media, tablets, smart phones, blog platforms–if I weren’t so far behind, I could name others–have us scrambling to keep up.

But cursive writing, too, is a technology, one that has served us well and that has value we can’t see with the naked eye. Before educators toss it out, I hope they’ll consider what else they’ll be tossing out with it.


What part of your early education do you consider most valuable? Are there subjects being taught that you think are no longer necessary? Or anything you’d like to see instituted or brought back?




Kathy Waller blogs at and with Austin Mystery Writers at

Visit her Facebook page at







Enhanced by Zemanta



by Neva Bodin

Recently, as part of research for a freelance newspaper article I am writing, I visited a Montessori pre-school. It took me on a memory journey.

The school I visited is for three to five year olds. The atmosphere was calm, quiet, and respectful. Students chose and worked on projects independently. They were learning life skills that encompassed physical, mental, and social. I was impressed. The guide said the young learn from the older, and the older gain self-esteem when they help and model for the younger students.

But another reel was playing in my head as I tried to record what I was seeing so I could write about it. The reel was a decades old re-play of country school.

I grew up in a rural farming community and attended a one-room school for six years. They were years of learning respect, social skills, and academic proficiency. We usually had 5-8 grades with a varying number of students. One teacher had charge of the whole group—to teach, to keep safe, to supervise work and play. There was no phone, usually no car, and no teacher’s aide present. The teacher boarded at our house three of those years; my dad took us both to school in the morning and returned at 4 p.m. We never felt insecure, isolated, or unsafe. At least I didn’t, now I wonder about the teacher!

Isn’t it hard to imagine being without the cell phone? I feel insecure now driving anywhere without it.

But the freedom and fun: At recess we played ball, or kick-can-run, or ante over the old horse barn in the schoolyard. I don’t remember the rules to “kick the can” anymore, but for the latter, when two teams were formed, each chose a side of the horse barn and threw the ball over the roof to each other, shouting “Ante over!” One team could sneak around and tag someone on the other team if one of them caught the ball.

The older kids put their arms around the first and second graders to help them bat the softball if needbe. They even ran the bases for them sometimes! We teased, played together and looked out for each other. We were a family.scan0008

A few of those years we had a city child go to our school, occasionally because they had social problems or behavior problems in the town school. They could benefit from a smaller group, a diverse age group, and the country school philosophy. All became part of our country family and we enjoyed getting to know them. I remember one boy, who joined third grade with me and my best friend and only other classmate, a neighbor boy. The new boy was partially deaf and wore hearing aids with wires leading to good sized batteries that he had to keep in the front pockets of his bib overalls.  Naturally his need to wear something that could hold his battery pack and his hearing difficulty marked him as different. The year he attended our school, he confided, was the first time he had made a friend, and he named my classmate as his first friend.

Now my husband’s memories of country school are good, but mixed with getting caught smoking in the outhouse when the teacher opened the door with a pail of water in her hand to “put out the fire,” and seeing the paddle with the holes in it (to sting a little more) hanging on the schoolroom wall.

No paddle in the recent school I visited, but similarities evoked strong memories. (My fourth grade picture–I’m the kid in the v-shaped stripes shirt!)

Join Neva on Facebook, Twitter @NevaBodin1

Do you like your pen? by Barb Schlichting

imageThis blog by Barb Schlichting

I know it sounds like a dumb question, doesn’t it? Do you like pens that allow you to zip down all your thoughts? There’s certain brands that I avoid because the ball point doesn’t roll fast enough or the ink doesn’t come out fast, like it should. The writing itself doesn’t keep up with what I’m thinking. It’s frustrating.

My advice is to find a brand of pen that you like and stick with it. Always keep one handy. The last time that I was at a workshop, my trusted pen had disappeared and I had to borrow one. It was slow, and my arm and head hurt by the end of the session.

Here’s a brief history about the invention of the Fountain Pen.

The same holds true for pencils. I began writing with them because I felt closer to the words and my thoughts. If this is what you use, have several sharpened and ready before beginning.

The main purpose is to write. Keep writing and don’t stop until you’re done. Then start all over again until your writing is right.


The images are from free photo stock. Thanks!

What is your favorite pen like? Do you have a favorite pen you take with you and one you keep at home? Do you write better with a pen or a pencil?

I write the First Ladies Mystery Series. My blog is all about historical data and the White House. Here’s my link:

Join Barb on Facebook 

Finding Your Character

doris curiosity

A post by Doris McCraw

Actors have ways of finding their character when preparing for a performance.  As an acting coach it is my job to help them learn the easiest way for them to access that information. Many of the tips and tricks used by the actor translate to writing also.

Let’s start with how you find your character.  Some actors create by finding what the psychological make up of the character they are to play.  What makes them tick? How do they think and react to those around them? How does the character sound, is their voice low or high, soft or strident?  Many times clues are found in the script itself.

Other actors find their character from the way they perceive how the characters body moves.  Is it stiff or fluid in movement?  Do they dress conservatively or bohemian? Do they march when they walk or glide as if on a cloud? What kind of shoes to they wear?

Once the actor makes their choices it is on to delivering the lines. Many new students believe that you just say the lines as written with emotion and clarity.  They don’t understand the depth that they are capable of bringing to those lines.

If you want to be believed it is necessary to understand what has happened before even saying your first line. If it is the first line in the script why are you saying what you are saying?  What is the subtext? What is your biography?  The audience may never or need to know, but it will inform your whole performance.

Now you may ask yourself how does any of this relate to my writing? Take a look at some of the questions actors  ask themselves when preparing for a performance. If in your writing you answer those questions you may find that your characters and story take on a life of their own.  The stories become more than just lines and settings, they become flesh and blood.  If they do that for you, imagine what they will do for your readers.

If you would like to study more about the actors process the following books are a good read.

The Technique of Acting” by Stella Adler

“Acting on Film” by Michael Caine

“The Power of the Actor” by Ivana Chubbuck

Getting Into Character” by Brandilyn Collins

For the Monday – Friday haiku:

A Degree . . . or a Car? Lincoln and Education

Blog post by Alethea Williams

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln described himself as uneducated and penniless.  Growing up on the frontiers of Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, Lincoln was largely self-taught.  From such humble beginnings, Abe Lincoln rose to become America’s visionary President.

One hundred and fifty years ago, in addition to signing a bill authorizing the transcontinental railroad and the homestead bill, in 1862 President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, the land grant college bill.  To fund the new educational institutions, a state was awarded 30,000 acres of federal land for each member of Congress it had according to the 1860 census.

Avg. $30,000

In the intervening years, college has become big business.  According to Wikipedia, there are 106 land grant institutions of higher education today.  Time Magazine says in total there are 4,400 degree-granting institutions in the U.S.  Any news or financial source announces in chilling headlines the rising cost of college.  President Lincoln might have joined parents and students in asking whether the cost of a degree will pay off.

Avg. $28,400

But a President as pragmatic as Lincoln might also ask if all the whining in this country about going into debt for a college degree isn’t a tad embarrassingly hypocritical.  The figure touted, $30,000, is almost exactly equal to the cost of a new car.  I don’t see too many magazines or news websites crying about Americans financing a car for seven years, especially not when they’re featuring stories and pictures of the shiniest, newest models.

If the question is purely about knowledge versus a degree, President Lincoln might also have applauded the appearance of new, free, online courses as one means of self-education.   As Amanda Ripley concludes in “College is Dead.  Long Live College,” education is not about a certificate on the wall, it’s about learning!

If you would like to read my historical novel Willow Vale, it is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Jargon Media. It was written for adults but its latest review suggests it is also suitable for older YA audiences.

blog on Actually Alethea about writing, writers, and Wyoming history.  You can follow me on Twitter @actuallyalethea, or visit Alethea Williams, author on Facebook. Thank you!