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History

Through your studies you will gain an understanding of the present that is informed by history. Your courses will help you develop sophisticated writing and speaking skills; expect to write extensively. You will learn to conduct research and hone an ability to think critically about complex issues and events of the past. You may get a chance to conduct college-funded research with a professor over the summer.

Anderson Tuggle '14 in India.
Anderson Tuggle '14 in India.

A student’s growth: delving into primary sources

History major Anderson Tuggle ’14 is packing in as much as he can of the Hamilton College experience. He took accounting because he wanted to; wrote for The Spectator student newspaper; interned with the federal Department of Justice; and won a College grant to research history he learned about from photos on his host family’s wall during study abroad in India.

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Tuggle stayed in Jaipur, and when he asked his host father about the photos, Tuggle learned the family had helped administer Jaipur when it was a small monarchy or  “princely state.” Conversations with his host inspired Tuggle’s grant-funded research project about the princely states’ peaceful incorporation into a newly independent India. 

As part of Tuggle’s summer research, he traveled to the University of Chicago to scour its vast collection of original source material about India. He says that was a great experience because undergraduates learning to be historians typically use secondary sources, and when they work with primary sources, they must determine which material to use. It’s more responsibility as writer and framer of an issue, he says.

“And you feel more professional, more like a serious academic, when you’re doing that,” says Tuggle, who built his senior honors thesis around the princely states research.

Jacob Sheetz-Willard '12 atop the Grand Teton mountain.

A graduate’s progress: earning a master’s, seeking to inspire

Jacob Sheetz-Willard ’12 is studying the subject he learned to love at Hamilton College – history – in a master’s program in American history at Utah State University. He entered the program as the presidential fellow for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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The summer after Sheetz-Willard graduated from Hamilon, he worked with high school students at an institution in the mountains in Leadville, Colo. He and the rest of the staff taught what he describes as the values of place-based education, intentional communities, human relationships and leadership.

“I’m seeking a career founded on those principles, one in which I can teach history and literature, learn from my colleagues, and inspire young people to value and preserve both their communities and their natural surroundings,” he says.

At Hamilton he minored in environmental studies and snowshoed in the nearby mountains with his Adirondack history class.

He also won Hamilton’s prestigious James Soper Merrill Prize, which goes to the graduating class member "who, in character and influence, has best typified the highest ideals of the College."