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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Notes From My Dissertation

I'm not going to go into too much detail here with the wheres and wherefores, but my dissertation research (surprise) involves a lot of digging through old documents, specifically those pertaining to certain historical hurricane-type things. Lately I've been collecting and analyzing* old documents relating to the Galveston Storm of 1900. It was a doozy. But don't take my word for it. . .

"A summary of conditions prevailing at Galveston is more than a human intellect can master. Briefly stated, the damage to property is anywhere between fifteen and twenty millions. The loss of life can not be computed. No lists could be kept, and all is simple guess work. Those thrown out to sea and buried on the ground wherever found will reach the horrible total of at least three thousand souls. My estimate of the loss on the island of Galveston and intermediate surrounding district is between four and five thousand deaths. I do not make this statement in fright or excitement. The whole story will never be told, because it can not be told.
"The necessities of those living are total. Not a single individual escaped property loss. The propery on the island is wrecked, fully one-half totally swept out of existence altogether. . .The help must be immediate."

R. G. Lowe - Manager, Galveston news

And then there's this, Clara "Red Cross" Barton's response to claims that the needs of Galvestonians had been met:

“. . .there is nothing that can exceed the spontaneous rush with which we spring to the relief of the first cry of distress that goes out, unless it should be the readiness with which it is forgotten after the first effort, and the proneness to feel that nothing more in that line can be needed, and the impulsive spirit waits for something new.”



* For those of you who find qualitative methodology interesting, I am using the constant comparative method to try and pin down those pesky meanings. Hermeneutariffic!

1 comment:

Wanda Bunch said...

What happened to your thesis, Brady? Well, I think some MSc or Phd dissertation format really needs a lot of researching for documents and information, especially those that deals with statistic and history. Anyway, the excerpt from your paper really looks amazing. How did you managed to find data for your paper?