Well, now that football has ended for another year (albeit on a disappointing note; we lost 20-13 in the championship game) I will have more time to devote to research. I’d like to resume writing book chapters (with the material I have-there’s still a lot more to be researched), but I actually have a small side project that I will be working on.
Even though I’ve done all this research over the years, I have never had anything published; well, maybe that will change. I’ve been very fortunate to meet some great people over the last 17 years who share my passion for history and particularly the history of this area. Last March I approached Superior National Forest archeologist and fellow historian Lee Johnson about sharing research material. Lee had contacted me several years back when the US Forest Service decided to use the 2007 Ham Lake to create a new hiking trail along the old railway right of way in Minnesota (Centennial Trail) and we have kept in touch since. As part of our collaborative research, Lee proposed the idea of co-authoring an article about the railway and the Paulson Mine for the Minnesota History Magazine.
I immediately jumped on the idea, but truth be told I was (and still am) a little nervous. I’ve written a lot of papers, articles, etc. over my academic and teaching career, but I’ve never done anything of this magnitude. Fear of the unknown? However, I guess it’s like writing a big essay. Maybe because this is my first scholarly article I am a bit apprehensive, especially since I don’t really regard myself as an academic. I am extremely knowledgable about the subject, but I always think that this is the stuff that doesn’t fit my mold. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but since there is already a book out there about the railway, it’s like there is something hanging over my head.
So if I can find some time this week I’ll start working on the outline for this article. Lee and I will have to spend some time working out the fine details, since I’m only writing half of the article. Hopefully I can start writing before Christmas and with any luck this article will be out in the second half of 2012. Maybe this will lead to other opportunities; I’ve considered writing an article about Leeblain for the Thunder Bay Historical Society’s Papers & Records. Maybe that’s next on the list!
On a related note, I had a few research highlights in the last few weeks. Working with a fine gentleman from North Dakota named Clark, I’ve received a few more tidbits about the life of John Paulson. I also received a response from the Queen’s Own Rifles Museum in Toronto (located at Casa Loma) regarding a request for a picture of A.B Lee Jr I sent in a letter for back in September. The scan was from a book (and I already had the pic) but the resolution was much better. Now I just have to track down photos of J.F. Eby and David Blain and I’ll have the entire Toronto Syndicate. Happy hunting to me!