Prizefighters, Mediums, and Slave Auctioneers

Eagle Hill School

World Experts at Eagle Hill School publish a new book on unusual American History

Eagle Hill School (EHS) students are becoming accomplished “World Experts” on unusual and fascinating historical topics. In a newly published book, Prizefighters, Mediums, and Slave Auctioneers, American history is presented through a collection of twenty-five World Expert papers written by EHS students. The 185-page compendium was compiled and edited by alumnus William Duncan ’18, and EHS educator Dr. Nym Cooke, and grew out of an original idea for a high school history course—World Expert.

“Dr. Cooke and I are only curators of this amazing collection of research papers, infused with the passions of many different students,” expressed Will Duncan. “This compendium contains everything from an account of the administration of opium to human and canine species by medical students, to a 60-round illegal bare-knuckled boxing match, to depictions of paranormal events.”

Students in Dr. Cooke’s World Expert course, research and write on newly discovered historic topics—history never presented before—through extensive study on subjects of their choice. In this course, each student becomes the pre-eminent authority on his or her topic and becomes skilled in specialized research, as well as with the requirements needed for historical writing and documentation.

Ideas and research material for the World Expert course stem from a visit to the foremost library on early Americana, the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in Worcester, Massachusetts, and by exploring the organization’s vast collection of 18th and 19th century books, newspapers, periodicals and other printed documents. Once a topic is selected, students travel to the AAS on several occasions to research existing primary sources on the past with thoroughness and perseverance, read a variety of historical documents, and then write up their findings at considerable length and in exact detail. 

“Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this course is that the high school student, as a beginning historian, gets to participate in the process of writing real history, history that’s never been written before, history based on the students’ work with a real, live primary source.” stated Dr. Cooke.

The book, ­­­which will be available on May 10, 2019, can be purchased online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Included in Prizefighters, Mediums, and Slave Auctioneers, are detailed suggestions on how to run a World Expert course, a class syllabus, and a primary source worksheet. Mr. Duncan has also created a website to learn more information about becoming a “world expert” and how to making archival research fun.
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Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.