A recent editorial in the Punta Gorda Herald pointed out the dangers of people having mythic conceptions of what has happened in the past. The author contends that textbooks frequently scrub embarrassing truth from the history being taught.
It is without doubt that secondary and tertiary sources of information regardless of intent will often omit or distort in some way the facts of history. Written history often over summarizes and like any story told is interpretive - the product of the filters of its authors.
This is why it's so essential to have access to sources that are primary - as close to the actual events as possible. Articles written, deeds recorded, diaries, notes taken, correspondence exchanges in the course of business or personal all provide clues to the past. While even these sources can often be somewhat filtered by their recorders by their purpose or viewpoint, they are as close as we can get to the actual facts of the past. It is only in preserving these precious sources and providing access to them that today's and tomorrow's detectives of history - students, researchers and those who just plain want to know can uncover truths that may have been scrubbed from more contemporary materials and texts.
The Punta Gorda History Center through the efforts of Vernon Peeples and those who will continue his mission will identify, collect and preserve those sources for future history detectives.