Plagiarism and fraud

As the Harvard Law school plagiarism meltdown continues (scroll down for this week's blog entries), we find indications that a Utah State University professor manufactured evidence to support the authenticity of typography in the CBS memos. It was a good effort: you can see for yourself because he (or his grad students) left their project/cut and paste folder on line in the university's directory system; the materials were captured and saved by bloggers.

It will all turn out to be a terrible, terrible misunderstanding, one hopes.

All this university fraud fuss reminds me of the corruption and degradation in the field of Civil War history, which is why I bring it up.

More specifically, it motivates me to write a series of Civil War posts I've wanted to put out for a long while. It's theme is "tracings." I plan to take the verbatim formulation of a specific editorial insight on the war from the editorial pages of an 1860s newspaper and then trace it through generations of Civil War histories, where it is repeated by the author without attribution. I first noticed it in a work by Catton, where he repeated, as his own insight, the thought expressed a hundred years earlier by Swinton of the New York Times - the idea about how much better it would have been for McClellan had he accepted the Pennsylvania USV commission than the Ohio USV commission.

ACW pop history is crawling with these little acts of fraud but my library is in storage until December. A Christmas present, it will have to be.

Thank you, Harvard and Utah State, for reminding me and energizing me. You don't have to keep it up, however.