Top 90 Historian Quotes

In this post, you will find great Historian Quotes from famous people, such as Ian Hacking, Mike Tyson, Alexander Chee, Herodotus, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel. You can learn and implement many lessons from these quotes.

Despite a certain amount of rhetoric, such as 'the seco

Despite a certain amount of rhetoric, such as ‘the second American Revolution,’ there is a fair consensus about which events in the affairs of a people can rightly be called revolutions. It is also clear that such revolutions are proper objects of study for the historian.
I’m a historian, and that freaks me out.
I quickly learned that as a fiction writer, you need the sort of details a historian or a biographer would find extraneous or useful to provide context via a footnote.
Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all. The conscientious historian will correct these defects.
Those who read the fiction assume that, because I’m also a historian, I know what I’m talking about.
There were various turning points, but the main one at the beginning was that I was going off to do another degree in the history of art. I would have ended up as some art historian at Sotheby’s or something.
The historian is, by definition, absolutely incapable of observing the facts which he examines.
Marc Bloch
I haven‘t studied history – I couldn’t give a discourse in medieval literature – but I am a personal historian, and I do a lot to take in the histories of the people around me.
As a historian, I love every little detail, but whole long passages about wood paneling and journeys on horseback and every stop at every inn had to go out the window. I decided the history in the books should be like spice in a soup – a little went a long way. Like cilantro.
The same contingencies of time and space that force a statesman or soldier to make decisions, impel the historian, though with less urgency, to make up his mind.
Samuel E. Morison
I’m a huge fan of the Navy. My father was a Naval historian, and I’ve been studying Naval battles forever.
I’m not a historian who thinks Confederate memorials should be boarded up.
What is a historian, anyway? It is someone who uses facts to record the development of humanity.
Lion Feuchtwanger
I think it’s outrageous if a historian has a ‘leading thought‘ because it means they will select their material according to their thesis.
Yes, I’m a reasonably good self-taught historian of the 1930s and ’40s. I’ve never wanted to write about another time or place. I wouldn’t know what to say about contemporary society.
The first qualification for a historian is to have no ability to invent.
I’m not a historian. I know historians. I’ve worked with them. They have a really powerful way of looking at the world, and I think so do poets.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, FDR committed a most visionary act: He appointed a Harvard historian to write the official account of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Samuel Eliot Morison was given the rank of lieutenant commander, with the right to interview anyone of whatever status.
I’m no politician. I’m an historian who has learned through a lifetime of studying that nothing in the world beats universal education.
My main ambition as a historian is to figure out what’s really happening in the world, instead of the fictions that humans have been creating for thousands of years in order to explain or control what’s happening in the world.
Whether religion is man-made is a question for philosophers or theologians. But the forms are man-made. They are a human response to something. As a historian of religions, I am interested in those expressions.
Mircea Eliade
I tried, after I wroteTwilight,’ to read ‘The Historian,’ because it was the big thing that summer. But I can’t read other people’s vampires. If it’s too close, I get upset; if it’s too far away, I get upset. It just makes me very neurotic.
Wolf Hallattempts to duplicate not the historian’s chronology but the way memory works: in leaps, loops, flashes.
Maya Angelou, the famous African American poet, historian, and civil rights activist who is hailed be many as one of the great voices of contemporary literature, believes a struggle only makes a person stronger.
My big subject as a historian is how Americans divide themselves. What are the divisions that structure our political lives. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were perfect foils for that story.
The novelist‘s obligation to remake the sensuous texture of a vanished world is also the historian’s. The strongest fiction writers often do deep research to make the thought and utterances of lost time credible.
The Who quite possibly remain the greatest live band ever. Even the list-driven punk legend and music historian Johnny Ramone agreed with me on this.
I am a historian. I do a lot of research, and I try to get it right.
I can find my way from 500 A.D. through to 1066 pretty well as an amateur historian.
Farber had a huge effect on me as a writer. I don’t mean I write like him. Farber is, first of all, a great stylist, a great writer. Anyone can read Manny Farber’s film criticism, whether that person is a novelist, a poet, another critic, a historian, and learn a lot about writing by reading him.
Every historian has informally an anthropology, without

Every historian has informally an anthropology, without ever using the word.
Peter Gay
But in answer to your question about the conspiracy angle, I think that any historian worth his salt, and this is where I fault Stephen Ambrose and a lot of these guys who attack me – not all of life is a result of conspiracy by any means! Accident occurs alongside conspiracy.
I would love to be an historian. I’m a bit of a history geek and love books and programmes on the subject.
The good historian is like the giant of the fairy tale. He knows that wherever he catches the scent of human flesh, there his quarry lies.
Marc Bloch
I can see that you are a true historian because you really always ought to ask that question about anybody at a different place or a different time: What’s the same and what’s different?
Donald Kagan
I’m a historian. The act of predicting the future discomfits me, in any event – and the bigger the prediction, the more distrusting I am.
If you want to avoid criticism, then you shouldn’t be a historian, because historians are trying to understand and explain. If you’re trying to please people, then you should go into the fashion business, or the candy business.
I consider myself a writer who happens to write about history, rather than a historian. I was an English major in college. What I’ve learned about history is in the field, so to speak. Going into the archives and working with it directly.
My view as a historian is that the empire was an extractive, exploitative, racist and violent institution and that the history of empire is one we need to confront and come to terms with, rather than celebrate.
While historians may go on attempting grand, sweeping and defining narratives, they work in a time when readers know that another narrative always lies in wait, and that the more intelligent an historian is, the more tentative and self-scrutinizing the tone.
In any case, his judgment and set of values, acting alone or through his assistants, determine not only what is gold and what is dross but the design of the history which he creates out of the metal. The historian decides what is significant, and what is not.
Samuel E. Morison
In my work as a historian and in my relationships as a friend, teacher, wife, and mother, I have come to think that the most useful way to understand the past and make it work for you is to look at the trade-offs and contradictions that, however deeply buried, can be uncovered in every memory, good or bad.
I see it as my job to try to make history to be a popular thing. The longer I keep going the less weird it will be to be a female historian.
As a historian, what I trust is my ability to take a mass of information and tell a story shaped around it.
I don’t really have a historical overview of my work at all. I’m not an art historian. I don’t see that there’s this period and that period.
Howard Hodgkin
The writer’s language is to some degree the product of his own action; he is both the historian and the agent of his own language.
Paul de Man
If you think about it, the historian’s task is like that of the detective.
David Herbert Donald
But I’m a historian. I wasn’t interested in just being a producer, I was interested in doing research and presenting that research to a general public.
I think ‘Historian’ is ultimately a positive record, but I was a little bit worried about taking people into a dark world. I tried to do it with as much care as possible, but it’s not easy to ask people to think about death or loss or confusion.
The first Elizabeth film was an absolute travesty historically. It really was sloppy. Things like ‘The Other Boleyn Girl‘ and ‘The Tudors,’ people’s perception is distorted because of these. It matters to me as a historian, because I spend my life trying to get it right.
Alison Weir
As a financial historian, I was quite isolated in OxfordBritish historians are supposed to write about kings – so the quality of intellectual life in my field is much higher at Harvard. The students work harder there.
Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian – ignorance, which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits, with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.
No man can be a politician, except he be first a historian or a traveller; for except he can see what must be, or what may be, he is no politician.
James Harrington
I’m not a teacher; I’m not a historian. I’m trying to create a world for my characters.
Newt Gingrich seldom misses a chance to note that he is a historian.
Adam Hochschild
As a historian, I’ve spent much of my career warning people about the dangers of nostalgia.
I went to medical school after having decided to do so somewhere between my junior and senior year at Harvard – very late. I initially wanted to be an intellectual historian.
Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
The historian Linda Colley has analysed how and why George III transformed himself from being a figure of ‘perfect hatred‘ to the father of the country.
So with truth – there is a certain moment when one can say, this is the truth and here I put a dot, a stop, and I go to another thing. A judge has to put an end to a deliberation. But for a historian, there’s never an end to the past. It can go on and on and on.
It is almost a rule that the more complex a man is, the simpler his billing. A person with a retrospective ability gone rampant often would be called an historian. Similarly, one to whom reality doesn’t seem to make sense gets dubbed a philosopher.
In African-American culture, there's often a family his

In African-American culture, there’s often a family historian, someone who does the genealogy or keeps the family Bible. I became aware that might be one role the poet has.
I am not a qualified historian, but rather a teller of stories from history.
A good historian is timeless; although he is a patriot, he will never flatter his country in any respect.
Francois Fenelon
I am not a theologian or a historian, and I feel no call to become a defender of the faith, so in my case, the search for what remains valuable focuses on language itself: Catholic prayer, ritual, the naming of things.
I am no historian, but Hungary is a country which has never known democracy – and by that, I mean not a democratic political system, but an organic process which has mobilised the entire country’s society. In the case of Hungary, this development was blocked by the growth of the Ottoman empire in the 16th century.
Viereck became a historian, specializing in modern Russia, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.
I’m a basketball junkie and a real historian of the game, so for me to get a chance to express it and give my perspective on a national stage, I’m really enjoying it.
As a historian, I always think you know what a moment was 20 years later.
A couple years ago, the novelist Russell Banks told me he was reading the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. I asked why. He said, ‘Because I’ve always wanted to and am tired of having my reading assigned.’ I thought it was a marvelous declaration of independence.
Looking back as an historian, I find myself having great respect for Ronald Reagan’s consistency: his absolute conviction that the Soviet Union – the only competing world empire at the time – was bound to collapse!
I ain’t no historian but I happen to savvy this incident.
Charles Marion Russell
I once interviewed David Herbert Donald, the Lincoln historian, and we talked about how one deals with the secondary sources and the previous biographies. He said something which kept coming back to me as I worked on Cleopatra, which was: ‘There’s no further new material; there are only new questions.’
The acceptance of the facts of African-American history and the African-American historian as a legitimate part of the academic community did not come easily. Slavery ended and left its false images of black people intact.
It was necessary, as a black historian, to have a personal agenda.
John Hope Franklin
The novelist must look on humanity without partiality or prejudice. His sympathy, like that of the historian, must be unbounded, and untainted by sect or party.
People fight today for the same fundamental reasons the Greek historian Thucydides identified nearly 2,500 years ago: fear, honor, and interest.
As a historian, I’m sceptical about conspiracy theories because the world is far too complicated to be managed by a few billionaires drinking scotch behind some closed doors. But I do think that the voters are correct in sensing that they’re really losing power. And in reaction, they give the system an angry kick.
I am part of a broad social movement. Ten years ago, it would have unimaginable for some random Dutch historian to go viral when talking about taxes. Yet here we are.
Technological change is essential, but to a natural historian it often feels cold and distancing.
I called it ‘Historian’ because I feel like most of my creative efforts are efforts to capture something or to document it.
It is the job of the historian to say what is likely, and of faith to say what is possible.
‘Know,’ says a wise writer, the historian of kings, ‘Know the men that are to be trusted‘; but how is this to be? The possession of knowledge involves both time and opportunities. Neither of these are ‘handservants at command.’
The duty of a historian is simply to understand and then convey that understanding, no more than that.
It’s the historian’s job not to ridicule the myths, but to show the difference between myth and reality.
A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
The historian must have some conception of how men who are not historians behave. Otherwise he will move in a world of the dead. He can only gain that conception through personal experience, and he can only use his personal experiences when he is a genius.
I don’t know if a historian or scholar owns an opinion.
I had worked in politics with Johnson and Nixon before becoming a historian and biographer. I kept discovering these dirtier, murkier threads in American politics that led back to Vegasgambling interests and criminal connections.
Roger Morris