Developing an Article – Part II

Physical Elements

There is no such thing as a “typical article” on local history: the Schoharie Historical Society typically publishes much longer articles than those published by Gilboa, while Gilboa’s articles may rely more heavily on art and photographs. Some articles may rely on detailed research with footnotes, while others may be as colloquial as a dinner discussion — friendly, personal, and informative. Some may have no art, while others may rely extensively on photographic exhibits. Some may be short, while others may be 3– 4 times as long.

This page will give you the specifications for an “average” article published by the Gilboa Historical Society — with the caveat that there is a great deal of flexibility.

Objective: to comply with the physical characteristics of an article for the GHS Newsletter.

If you use a computer, we aim for 600 words in either an email or Microsoft Word file. Without the computer, this would equate to possibly 3 pages of typed, doublespaced copy or five pages of hand-written copy.

The main goal should obviously be clarity — please make sure that non-digital material is presented clearly so that we do not have to spend time deciphering handwritten material. Clearly number pages, and make sure that callouts in the article clearly identify where are is to be placed.

Art may be essential to your article with a picture or pictures carrying the message of the story.

If you use a traditional film camera, are not into the digital technology, and your story relies on historic photographs, you should submit the originals of your art program for scanning, and these originals will be returned to you. The reason for submitting originals is to make sure their appearance in the article will be exceptional — a photostat or photocopy of the original will not reproduce well.

However, many people do not like to let go of their original art. To get around this problem, take the art program to a digitally sophisticated person you trust and ask them to do the scanning. You can also arrange an appointment with the publisher of the GHS Newsletter or a library or county or local historical society to do the scanning in your presence. They can immediately return your original art, give you a digital copy of it for future use, and add it to their archives so that other people can also benefit from your collection.

When all is said and done, having your valuable photographs scanned is insurance against loss. The digital files can be reproduced later at a local photo shop with as much detail as the originals, and can be stored on CDs at various locations to guard against loss through fire or flood.

If you are taking pictures with a digital camera, use the “fine” or “high” color setting.

If you are able to do scanning yourself, there are 4 pages on file formats, conversions, scanning, and photoshopping in the Working with Your Pictures section.

When submitting art, please make sure to also submit complete captions for the art.

Flavor of the writing:
The article should be focused on local examples. Try to refer to local people, local families, and give examples of local happenings. For example,

Some farms would produce 500 crates of cauliflower per day


I drove the Todd’s truck during the shipping season and delivered nearly 500 crates to New York City every weekday, and to the A & P warehouse in Boston on Saturdays.

Gerry Stoner

Gerry Stoner

This article is one of several to help you document local history. Other articles will help you convert your interviews, documents, pictures, and artifacts into documentation of your local history that can be shared with your community.