In Gentlemen Capitalists (Stanford University Press, 1992), Howard L Malchin defines the subjects of his study as belonging to ‘a large part of the nation just below the movers and shakers’. I find this a helpful way of locating the position of ‘family history’ as a genre; it sits between historical biography on the one hand and social history on the other, making its own valuable contribution to our understanding of and connection with the past.


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