What is Histories, then?

Histories is a weekly journal exploring the hidden corners of history in the English-speaking world, particularly Britain as that’s where I’m based. Each week I’ll send you carefully curated excerpts from articles, diaries, letters and memoirs of the past. The aim is to find interesting stories about real people’s lives in the past, mostly away from the usual spotlights on royalty and people in the public eye.

Sometimes these windows onto the past will reflect the big events of history – what was it like being at the Great Exhibition, or in the American Civil War? – and at others they will offer interesting insights into what it was like doing a particular job, or illuminate daily life in the past. And where possible they will ferret out interesting little stories and vignettes.

Histories is brought to you by history journalist and editor Andrew Chapman – I’ve been writing in the history field since 2003. Between 2015 and 2018 I ran the magazine Your Family History and since 2011 I have been editor of Discover Your Ancestors. I’m in the UK so a lot of my material comes from British history, but I’m also going to be looking across the whole English-speaking world for interesting tales to share. But you’ll have to forgive my British spellings.

(Speaking of spellings, I have lightly edited many of the extracts to modernise spelling and some punctuation, purely for clarity, while preserving the words and tone of the original writers.)

Histories is a personal project to bring to light many of the fascinating things I have come across in the course of this work, on the assumption that ‘ordinary’ people in the past have often had great stories to tell which have sometimes been forgotten or overlooked. (Sometimes there might be more well-known names popping up here – but generally only when they’re saying something that’s not part of what they are most well known for!)

You can enjoy these newsletters conveniently on any device, through your inbox or at this website.

(I’m offering lots of this for free, because I love the subject – but if it grows I might add a premium subscription option. Rest assured, if you’re an existing subscriber you’ll get a discount if I do!)

If you like this sort of stuff, do please spread the word, too! Please click the like button that comes with each newsletter, and use the sharing options: these things make a huge difference. And if you come across great sources for these sorts of stories, please let me know! Replies to the newsletter will come directly to me.