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Warts and All?: An Elusive Balance in Contracted Corporate Histories about Energy and Environment

Joseph Pratt
The Public Historian
Vol. 26, No. 1 (Winter 2004), pp. 21-40
DOI: 10.1525/tph.2004.26.1.21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/tph.2004.26.1.21
Page Count: 20
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Warts and All?: An Elusive Balance in Contracted Corporate Histories about Energy and Environment
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Abstract

Contract histories of organizations pose special challenges for public historians. Carefully worded contracts can establish procedures and guarantees that safeguard the historian’s independence. Such safeguards can help the historian capture as much as possible from the sponsored research for the history profession, while also completing a work that satisfies the needs of the sponsoring organization. The successful completion of such a project requires a reasonable deadline, a well-organized book, and an author or team of authors with special knowledge of the organization. Well-designed organizational histories have much to contribute to our understanding of historical efforts to balance the demand for energy with the need for a cleaner environment. Viewing events from inside corporations, regulatory agencies, and citizens’ groups, the historian can reconstruct the interaction of the key players who shaped our energy/environmental history.

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