(May 24, 2018) — I am Kim Cook. I have a Ph.D. in Sociology and have always been interested in social history. I was born and raised in New England and have heard stories about our colonial ancestors for all of my life. As a child in school my favorite field trips included going to historical locations such as Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It was the first time I ever had rock candy. When I started college I decided to major in sociology, and then went on for a master’s and Ph.D. in sociology. To be a sociologist one should also appreciate and understand the historical factors that created the social context that we currently confront. While in graduate school I was fortunate to have a summer job as the director of a small historical museum in Maine; I loved it. I also took a doctoral level history seminar with Professor Laurel Ulrich in 1990 while she was writing her Pulitzer prize winning study of a midwife in colonial Maine: A Midwife’s Tale. (Professor Ulrich coined the phrase that has become a popular slogan and bumper sticker: “Well behaved women rarely make history.”) For that class I collected and analyzed over 500 gravestone inscriptions from Portsmouth, NH and Newburyport, MA. It fascinated me then and I regret I did not keep a copy of that paper. So, going deeper into my genealogy makes sense to me and I want to know more about my ancestors — the whole truth: the good things and the bits that challenge me, and especially about the devastation of slavery and colonization.
My training as a scholar makes me very careful about the information I use and share. My experience as someone who occasionally reads blogs informs me that using too many scholarly conventions (footnotes, citations, data tables, etc) can get in the way, so I aim to keep these things to a minimum. When necessary I will share the names/titles of publications or reports that I use here.
I am a feminist and will incorporate intersectional feminist leanings along the way. It’s just who I am, and while I realize it may not be everyone’s preference, I am not doing this for anyone else. I want to share it with others who want to read it, but I will not deny what motivates me or the lens I use to examine the materials I find.
I am new to blogging, so this will inevitably produce some clumsy posts and awkward mistakes along the way. I hope you will be patient with me as I learn how to use this platform. I have no idea how many people might end up reading this, or what the responses might be. I am not doing this for attention. I am doing this as a personal reckoning with my ancestors; and as an online “scrapbook” if you will. I am inviting readers to take the journey with me. I have not yet told my family about this and some relatives will be unhappy with me, others won’t care, and some might find it interesting. I have a huge family, so we have some of everything: every political leaning, many many ethnic groups and social class statuses. From the outset, I will also inform the readers that I am an anti-sexist/anti-racist activist in my community, a restorative justice practitioner, and supporter of LGBTQIA people. So, that’s a little about me and I will share more as the blog develops. Thanks for reading.