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Historians Quotes and Sayings
Quotes about Historians

Please enjoy these Historians Quotes from the wise, the romantic, and the famous of the past and present.

God cannot alter the past, though historians can.
- Samuel Butler

Related topics: History

I believe that historians and analysts of historical
events need the authority of facts supplied by living witnesses to the events,
which they make their subject.
- Ibrahim Babangida

To write history is so difficult that most historians
are forced to make concessions to the technique of legende.
- Erich Auerbach

History repeats itself.
Historians repeat each other.
- Philip Guedalla

 

History had its own way of explaining things.
The way historians explain things is by telling a story.
- Donald Kagan

Fortunately, historians are now beginning to recognise
the historic role of Islam as a liberating force for
peoples oppressed by the burdens of unjust social systems.
- Aly Khan

Historians will have to face the fact that natural
selection determined the evolution of cultures in the
same manner as it did that of species.
- Konrad Lorenz

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Study men, not historians.
- Harry S. Truman

Scholars and historians have dubbed the last 100 years the American Century,
and I think there can be little doubt that the Council
on Foreign Relations helped to make it so.
- Spencer Abraham

Britain will be honoured by historians more for the
way she disposed of an empire than for the way in which she acquired it.
- Lord Harlech

How well Shakespeare knew how to improve and exalt little circumstances,
when he borrowed them from circumstantial or vulgar historians.
- Horace Walpole

Historians tell the story of the past,
novelists the story of the present.
- Edmond de Goncourt

The astrologers and historians write that the ascendant
as of Oxford is Capricornus,
whose lord is Saturn, a religious planet,
and patron of religious men.
- John Aubrey

Perhaps the most important lesson of the New Social
Historians is that history belongs to those about whom
or whose documents survive.
- Bruce Jackson

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering
questions that no one has asked them.
- Leo Tolstoy

It doesn't upset artists to find out that artists used
lenses or mirrors or other aids,
but it certainly does upset the art historians.
- Chuck Close

Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history -
revisionist historians is what I like to call them.
- George W. Bush

Historians don't really like to carry on speculative debates,
but you could certainly argue that the likelihood of
a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was extremely,
extremely low.
- Aldrich Ames

I learned more from my mother than from all the art
historians and curators who have informed me about
technical aspects of art history and art appreciation over the years.
- David Rockefeller

Intellectual honesty is the quality that the public
in free countries always has expected of historians;
much more than that it does not expect,
nor often get.
- Samuel E. Morison

You're making a movie, not a documentary.
If you made a film like the historians would like you to make,
you're not going to go and see it.
I'd rather see paint dry.
- Dougray Scott

Traditionally art is to create and not to revive.
To revive: leave that to the historians,
who are looking backward.
- Josef Albers

I think there's a tide that tends to carry historians back to the past.
- Ron Chernow

Reviewers are usually people who would have been,
poets, historians, biographer, if they could.
They have tried their talents at one thing or another and have failed;
therefore they turn critic.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I hope that not only my documentaries,
but everybody's documentaries, last.
It will really confuse historians in the next century,
because they'll have, in addition to all the print material,
they'll have all these pictures to look at.
- Frederick Wiseman

The issue of civil rights was too much for the establishment to handle.
One of the chapters of history that's least studied
by historians is the 300 to 500 riots in the U.S.
between 1965 and 1970.
- Tom Hayden

In taking action we must remember that the things which
are happening to the Jews today are but a part of the
general disintegration anticipated by philosophers
and historians of different schools for almost half a century.
- Louis Finkelstein

The way in which mathematicians and physicists and
historians talk is quite different,
and what a physicist means by physical intuition and
what a mathematician means by beauty or elegance are
things worth thinking about.
- Clifford Geertz

Historians and archaeologists will one day discover
that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful
reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.
- Marshall McLuhan

There's certainly more new SF available than when I started writing.
That means there's also more bad SF available.
Whether there is also more good is a matter for future historians of the field.
- Alan Dean Foster

Nations without a past are contradictions in terms.
What makes a nation is the past, what justifies one
nation against others is the past,
and historians are the people who produce it.
- Eric Hobsbawm

You're not a historian, but most historians will tell
you that they make very discrete judgment as to what
facts to omit in order to make their book into some shape,
some length that can be managed.
- Oliver Stone

You'd have to have one hell of an imagination to completely make up a story,
but historians are very anal about what they think
should be portrayed on screen.
Thankfully they don't make movies; we do.
- Dougray Scott

People take the longest possible paths,
digress to numerous dead ends, and make all kinds of mistakes.
Then historians come along and write summaries of this messy,
nonlinear process and make it appear like a simple,
straight line.
- Dean Kamen

The quarrel of the sociologists with the historians
is that the latter have learned so much about how to
do it that they have forgotten what to do.
They have become so skilled in finding facts that they
have no use for the truths that would make the facts worth finding.
- Albion W. Small

Among those people lucky enough, if you will,
to have actually been brought to trial as a political prisoner,
several historians have said there has not been one
acquittal since the Bolshevik Revolution.
- Barbara Amiel

No, this customary aim of research by excavators is
completely foreign to the historical work with which I am occupied...
my sole and only aim is to be able to establish a historical fact,
on which I disagree with some eminent historians and geographers.
- Heinrich Schliemann

In the more recently disclosed field of history in the ancient Near East,
however, there has been no such sense of responsibility
displayed by historians either in Europe or America.
- James H. Breasted

Historians still often see the end of the war as meaning
nothing more for Germany than lost territories,
lost participation in colonization, and lost assets
for the state and individuals.
They frequently overlook the most serious loss that Germany suffered.
- Gustav Stresemann

The historian must have some conception of how men
who are not historians behave.
Otherwise he will move in a world of the dead.
He can only gain that conception through personal experience,
and he can only use his personal experiences when he is a genius.
- E. M. Forster

If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors,
were to enslave the European nations and destroy most
of the treasures of their past,
future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe.
- Simone Weil

Privatization came on slowly.
When something very big happens, like privatization,
historians and economists like to think you must have had very big causes.
That is not how it happened.
- Kenneth Baker

Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
- H. L. Mencken

Reason is the historian, but passions are the actors.
- Antoine Rivarol

If you think about it, the historian's task is like that of the detective.
- David Herbert Donald

Ignorance is the first requisite of the historian -
ignorance,
which simplifies and clarifies, which selects and omits,
with a placid perfection unattainable by the highest art.
- Lytton Strachey

I ain't no historian but I happen to savvy this incident.
- Charles M. Russell

The search for the truth for truth's sake is the mark of the historian.
- B. H. Liddell Hart

No man can be a politician, except he be first a historian or a traveller;
for except he can see what must be,
or what may be, he is no politician.
- James Harrington

The good historian is like the giant of the fairy tale.
He knows that wherever he catches the scent of human flesh,
there his quarry lies.
- Marc Bloch

A good historian is timeless; although he is a patriot,
he will never flatter his country in any respect.
- Francois Fenelon

The first qualification for a historian is to have no ability to invent.
- Stendhal

I'm no politician.
I'm an historian who has learned through a lifetime
of studying that nothing in the world beats universal education.
- Stephen Ambrose

I'm a historian in my own mind.
- Quentin Tarantino

Too rigid specialization is almost as bad for a historian's mind,
and for his ultimate reputation, as too early an indulgence
in broad generalization and synthesis.
- Samuel E. Morison

The historian is terribly responsible to what he can
discern are the facts of the case,
but he's nothing if he doesn't make out a case.
- Howard Nemerov

The writer's language is to some degree the product of his own action;
he is both the historian and the agent of his own language.
- Paul de Man

Every historian discloses a new horizon.
- George Sand

The historian is a prophet looking backward.
- Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

You need, as a historian, essential triangulation from
your subject and the only way you get that triangulation is through time.
- Ken Burns

Historian - a broad-gauge gossip.
- Ambrose Bierce

Very few things happen at the right time,
and the rest do not happen at all.
The conscientious historian will correct these defects.
- Herodotus

The historian's job is to aggrandize,
promoting accident to inevitability and innocuous circumstance to portent.
- Peter Conrad

Every historian with professional standards speaks
or writes what he believes to be true.
- Samuel E. Morison

The historian of science may be tempted to exclaim
that when paradigms change,
the world itself changes with them.
- Thomas Kuhn

I'm a historian, and that freaks me out.
- Mike Tyson

I don't really have a historical overview of my work at all.
I'm not an art historian.
I don't see that there's this period and that period.
- Howard Hodgkin

Every historian has informally an anthropology,
without ever using the word.
- Peter Gay

The novelist must look on humanity without partiality or prejudice.
His sympathy, like that of the historian,
must be unbounded, and untainted by sect or party.
- Goldwin Smith

I'm not an historian but I can get interested -
obsessively interested -
with any aspect of the past,
whether it's palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
- Penelope Lively

The first duty of an historian is to be on guard against his own sympathies.
- James Anthony Froude


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