Study the lives and careers of Presidents.
What does a Presidential Historian do?
The Presidential Historian is the person who knows the childhood of George Washington, the political views of Thomas Jefferson, and the height of Abraham Lincoln’s hat. Presidential Historians dedicate their time to researching and writing about Presidents.
As a Presidential Historian, you may focus on a group of Presidents, a specific political party, or a single President. For example, you may spend several years researching Woodrow Wilson’s time in office, and later move on to Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
From interviews and newspaper articles to photographs and videos, you scour the library for materials related to your topic of interest. You may also travel to historical locations or museums that keep rare documents relating to your research.
Once you’ve gathered your material, you decide how best to present it. Many Presidential Historians write nonfiction books about a specific subject relating to the President of their choice. Others do interviews on the news or in documentaries, either on their particular President or how past policies have affected current events.
Since sitting around reading about Presidents doesn’t pay well on its own, Presidential Historians often work for universities where they teach as well. Some are hired by governments or other organizations that are interested in presidential research.
Wherever you work, though, your focus is on how the past has shaped the present. Like any Historian, you seek ways to explain history and use it both to educate others on the past and to help plan the future.