HIST 597: Topics in Applied History

HIST 597-001: Mason Legacies
(Spring 2024)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W

Innovation Hall 328

Section Information for Spring 2024


This course is both a contribution to the university's Mason Legacies initiative and an introduction to documentary editing. Students will transcribe and annotate sections of a plantation account book that belonged to Stevens Thomson Mason (1760-1803), nephew of George Mason IV (the famous George), and his son Armistead Thomson Mason (1787-1819). The class’s work will eventually be published as a born-digital project accessible to the public. The centerpiece of the project will be biographical sketches of all of the people—men and women, free and enslaved—mentioned in the account book, which will offer users a cumulative portrait of a significant subset of the population of Loudoun County in the post-revolutionary era.


The class will read select secondary sources to understand the account book and its historical context in post-revolutionary Virginia, and students will write biographies based on research in both online databases and local archives. By reading, transcribing, and annotating the account book, students will learn about family relationships and finances, legal practice and fees, medicine, slavery, the plantation economy and local trade, and other related topics. They will also develop certain digital and editing skills.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Addresses specific topics in applied history selected by the instructor, with emphasis on combining theoretical analysis and readings with attention to practices and skills of applied history. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 15 credits.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Junior Plus, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Seminar
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

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