Letter from the Editor, Princeton Historical Review, 2021-2022
On behalf of the Editorial Board, we are delighted to present the 2021-2022 Edition of The Princeton Historical Review. Each of the papers featured in this issue represent stellar undergraduate independent research completed in the past academic year at Princeton University.
For this issue, each of the papers were selected not only for their well-achieved execution of fascinating, compelling, and original independent work; but also for the wide variety of historical methods employed by these student-researchers. While this issue may not present the most diverse set of topics, we have sought to feature an array of historical approaches and source-use, attesting to the breadth of undergraduate research endeavors.
In the first paper of this issue, “'Our Common Father': The Image of George III in Colonial America,” Juan José López Haddad leverages an eclectic selection of sources, including news media, poetry, private correspondence and numismatics. He crafts a refreshing perspective on the emergence of an American conception of sovereignty – not from primordial proto-Republican sentiments but rather from the grounds of a much more ambiguous and initially flexible allegiance to George the III as separable from the British crown.
Second, introducing a refreshing perspective on the fight for minimum wage in the United States, Margaret Murphy combines personal, labor, and legal history in her paper, “The Constitutionality of Minimum Wage: The Legal Battles of Elsie Parrish and Frances Perkins for a Fair Day’s Pay,” to excavate the efforts of two extraordinary women, whose indispensable work pushing towards a minimum wage impacted the course of American labor rights. Murphy’s paper thus gives account to the oft overlooked significance of women actors, situating her analysis in a broader history of the role of gender, paternalism, and women’s suffrage in formulating and contesting minimum wage legislation.
Following, in his paper, “Finding Norman: The Many Selves of a Kindertransportee,” Isaac Wills presents a thoroughly researched work of microhistory. Tracing the steps of Norman Müller through his correspondences with his family as he moves from German refugee to resettled apprentice in England, Wills weaves together a story of agency on behalf of this subject of the Kindertransport, an “exceptional nobody” of history. Demonstrating the acts of planning, strategizing, dreaming, material acquisition, training, and finally possession, Wills argues against the notion that the Kindertransportees were mere passive recipients of aid in a larger game of British humanitarian politics.
And finally, Dante Sudilovsky positions his paper, “The Saturated Jungle and The New York Times: Nature, Culture and the Vietnam War,” in conversation with several traditions of historiography: namely, media, war, and environmental history of the Vietnam War. Sudilovksy’s analysis brings together two starkly different but equally accomplished approaches, employing Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) keyword searches to screen and select articles from The New York Times, and attentive genealogical analysis of the term “jungle” as used to portray and understand Vietnam, its natural environment and population, reproducing colonial dichotomies between nature and culture, primitive and civilized, enemy, and hero.
We are proud to present these papers to you, made possible only with the hard work of our editors. We also want to express our gratitude to Judith Miller and the rest of the History Department for their support. Finally, we are thankful to all the writers who submitted their work to the Review – and we hope to get the chance to feature more exciting work in the coming semester.
Maddie Winter & Johanne Kjaersgaard