History Speaks is maintained by Bill Jeffway as a personal workspace.

I invite your comments.

HistorySpeaksWide 2021

I have long felt history has more to do with the present and future, than the past. What do we choose to remember and memorialize? What gets passively forgotten through neglect? What gets actively erased, or "reconfigured?" The past allows for there to be a second point relative to the present. You get a kind of trajectory that can imply the future, suggesting what might be needed to either stay the course or change course of preferred.

I have put a particular focus on research and writing related to what I feel are lesser told histories, such as the stories and voices of veterans' stories of service, women, immigrants, and Persons of Color, especially African American studies. I have also put a focus on both traditional and new ways of speaking about local history by supporting documentary theater, advocating for physical monuments and memorials, creating teaching aids, being active as a Wikipedia contributor, and supporting all forms of digital communication which can offer broad access at less cost.

Our perception of the past, what we call history, is not  fixed, nor should it be. History needs to be constantly rewritten, as the historian Lucy Maynard Salmon described so eloquently a century ago. My goal is to identify, preserve, and creatively share the stories of the past as a guide to the present and future. This an open workspace, please feel free to comment. ~ Bill Jeffway

History Speaks. Listen. Learn.

Recent Exhibitions, Books, Videos Produced

"Over Here" Traveling Exhibition Launched at FDR Presidential Library
Caroline Clowes Exhibition
112-Page Print & Online Book
Dutchess County Fair National Anthem

Pre-Civil War Rural African American Experience in Mid-Hudson Valley

Rediscovery of Rural African American Burial Grounds
November 10 ~ 11 am Installation Ceremony
Conflicting stories of an African American Patriot
Dual racial legacies of a man called Prince Minisee

Northampton, MA Topics


Milan, Dutchess County, NY

Video Library

HistorySpeaks Video Library

Yeoman's Cemetery

Yeomans Cemetery

Milan Post Offices

Milan Post Offices

I have always found local history rich in experience and reward, giving context and perspective across time, geography, and community. I hope to help others understand similarly, as a powerful, accessible means of learning.

In addition to understanding common, shared experiences across generations and centuries, I find it fascinating to come to understand the degree to which we all perceive historical “facts” and embed them in narratives shaped by our own biases (consciously or unconsciously) which in turn gives us an insight into ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes: [We] map what we see, marking some features, ignoring others.  History is not the past, but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveler.~Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore.

Bill Jeffway


History Speaks. Listen. Learn.