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I stand corrected

September 14, 2009 - Deb Gau
I just recently learned that my last blog post has a historical gaffe in it, and I’d like to correct that: Hubert Humphrey was born in Wallace, S.D., not Huron. He grew up in Doland, S.D. and didn't work at Humphrey's Drug Store in Huron until he was college age. (For shame, Deb. To be honest, the thought that goes through my head most on realizing the mistake is, what would my history-buff dad think?)

So, that’s a lesson well learned - always, *always* check your facts, even when you’re writing a jokey intro to a blog post on your day at the fair. It also gets me thinking as to where mix-ups like that come from. On one hand, it’s entirely possible I made the Hubert H./Huron connection in my mind and skipped over some of the details when I tried to recall it later. But I’m sure I’ve also heard the same misinformation from other people once or twice in my life.

Maybe it would be helpful to think of history in the popular imagination as being sort of like a big game of telephone, with parts of the story becoming exaggerated, left out or changed every so often. Or maybe one of those family anecdotes where everyone’s version of the story conflicts. Perhaps that’s where urban legends and historical myths come from. If so, that also makes the real discipline of history, with its focus on accurate documentation and firsthand accounts, all the more important and necessary.


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