Public History

When John Mattera ’00 of the New York City Parks and Recreation Department was assigned the task of finding out where Union Square got its name, he employed research skills familiar to all Vassar History majors: “I sought primary sources (like Vassar taught me) around New York City and helped lead a team of interns in writing these more than 2,000 narratives… I also ran the Parks Department’s small research library. My crowning achievement came when the phone rang and it was the NYPL ‘quick answers desk’ (a wonderful, if outdated, service) with a question they couldn’t answer. By the end of the call, I got added to their quick-answer list.”