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This was in today's Boston Globe, at this link:


http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/276/l ... ook+.shtml


University asks historian to defend his research on gun ownership book


By David Mehegan, Globe Staff, 10/3/2001

Emory University historian Michael A. Bellesiles, author of a controversial book on gun ownership in early America, has been asked by his department to write a detailed defense of his research for the book.


The 2000 book, ''Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture,'' won the prestigious Bancroft Prize for history, but a story last month in the Globe appeared to confirm a pattern of questionable research claims.



''What is important is that he defend himself and the integrity of his scholarship immediately,'' said James Melton, Emory history department chairman. ''Depending upon his reponse, the university will respond appropriately.''


Melton added, ''If there is prima facie evidence of scholarly misconduct, the university has to conduct a thorough investigation. Whether it be a purely internal inquiry, or the university brings in distinguished scholars in the field, will depend on how Michael responds. It is important that he be accorded due process.''


Bellesiles's book argued that few Americans had owned guns in early America, and that more than half of those that were owned were old or broken. The book set off a storm of protest by gun-owner organizations, but independent scholars also raised serious questions about the veracity of Bellesiles's research. The Globe story confirmed allegations that San Francisco probate records, which Bellesiles had cited in his book as one of his sources, had been destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. It also confirmed that an article by Bellesiles on his Web site, defending his work, misstated the contents of some 18th-century Vermont probate records.


Melton, in a telephone interview yesterday, said, ''I advised him that he needed to find a public professional forum where he would give a full and complete response to the allegations against him.'' Melton's letter to Bellesiles asked for ''a detailed point by point response.''


Bellesiles, responding by e-mail to a request for comment by the Globe, confirmed he will write a response in the quarterly newsletter of the Organization of American Historians. He wrote, ''I am trying to treat errors in an honest, scholarly, and non-confrontational form.''


David Mehegan can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].


This story ran on page C5 of the Boston Globe on 10/3/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.





<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Sig 226 on 2001-10-03 18:18 ]</font>
 
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