The writing of history is a process of discovery. Historians look at many sources and pieces of evidence, then draw conclusions and write the story as they see it. They become sleuths who track down details hinted at in other sources. All discoveries help complete the picture.

At some point, the amateur or professional historian feels he or she has enough of a grasp of the tale to present it to others. However, the process of discovery is never done. Another letter will come to light; a business transaction or public record will surface; someone will remember a new detail; and so on. The historian continues to sift and re-sift the material and to re-tell the story.

(roll over the headings to the left
for more information on these sections,
or click to explore a topic)

rollover images