My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I also blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
Damaging historical documents in libraries and archives is vexing for those of us who value such treasures. Making notations in the margins of print material is also troubling (but sadly it can be common).
Of course, notations in the margins of historical documents can be humorous or insightful. See this article in The Atlantic for some fun and fascinating examples.
It should also be noted that there are people who invest a great deal of attention to what is called "marginalia" - the study of notations in the margins (see article here and and here). In fact, there is concern among marginaliaists over the introduction of digital books and the concomitant loss of writing in the margins.
All that said, writing in the margins can be a problem. The other day on one of my research trips I came across such a notation, ironically, coming to the defence of historical documents. The comment was "People who cut pages out of Church Minutes burn in hell forever."
While having the author of the notation come to the defence of the historical records may have warmed the heart of the librarian, at least one reader found the theology was suspect. And responded with the quip: "Ouch. Vicious. I don't think God cares that much."
And that little exchange in the margins was my serendipitous moment for the day.