Great News!

Historybuff.com has always been a one-man effort. From 1983 to 1995 I was Editor and Publisher of a magazine for newspaper collectors. I researched and wrote about 98% of the articles. Many libraries and historical institutions were paid subscribers. There was lots of great historical information in these articles. It seemed a shame that more people weren't able to have access to the information in back issues of the magazine I published. In 1993 I "discovered" the Internet. It didn't take long for me to see the potential of the Internet. This was before the days of HTML editors so I purchased an HTML manual and taught myself how to do HTML. I opened historybuff.com in the fall of 1994 with a few dozen articles from my magazine. I kept adding articles as time went by. Traffic to my site was about 250,000 file accesses in the first year. I slowly kept building and adding to my site. The April, 1995 issue of Collectible Newspapers was the last issue published. With that much traffic, I could no longer justify the $6,000 a year it cost me to publish the print magazine for 300 subscribers. From that point on, any new material was added directly to my Web site. I slowly plugged away in building historybuff.com until now, nine years later, there are over 350MB of files on the Web site. In 2003 there was over SEVENTEEN MILLION files accessed on historybuff.com with over ONE-AND-A-HALF MILLION different visitors! 1,827 different Web sites have links to historybuff.com -- many of which are schools.

Keeping historybuff.com open is expensive. Server fees alone cost me almost $1,300 annually. There are several things I would like to add to historybuff.com, but these would cost money for software and hardware to accomplish. Among other things, I am using a 15-year-old computer that is "somewhat souped up" with a "blazing" 256K processor -- compared to newer ones that have 1.5GZ processors or faster. I've tried accepting banner ads from companies but the income wasn't worth the effort and distraction -- only about $5 to $15 or so a month in banner ad fees. I've tried several affiliate programs -- companies that pay a commission on all goods they sell as a result of visitors to my site -- these paid even less income. (In one case, I "earned" a total of $1.12 commission after having their banner on my site for 90 days.) Finally, I started looking around for funding in the form of grants. After several months, I found the truth about obtaining grants: Grants to individuals are almost non-existant. Grants go primarily to non-profit organizations.

I started investigating what it takes to have a non-profit status. Six months ago I obtained the application from the IRS, but as I started filling out the thirty-seven page application, eight questions had me totally confused as to how to respond. I consulted an attorney. He offered NO SOLUTIONS but refered me to a CPA. The CPA answered my questions and he charged me $150. I finished the application and mailed it along with the government application fee. Three months later the IRS responded back. I had responded incorrectly to seven of the questions -- the CPA had only ONE of my eight questions correct. The IRS gave me three weeks to respond back with the ammended question responses. I consulted another attorney but he wanted to charge me $500 to make the corrections. I was in a quandry. $500 is A LOT of money to me. I ended up taking my chances and filled in my own answers to the seven questions. Guess what? Six weeks later I received a letter from the IRS advising that Historybuff.com had been APPORVED and granted non-profit status!

Michigan State University, less than ten miles from my home, has the largest archive of information about who gives grants, for what, and how to apply. On my last day off, I made a trip out there. WHOA! Their collection consists of over 1,000 very thick volumes of grant givers! After an hour of searching through a few volumes, I can see that finding grants that historybuff.com would qualify for is going to be quite an undertaking. Although there are over 100,000 grant givers, each only gives grants to a very narrow focus -- e.g. One offers a $5,000 grant for "dissemenating information about the culture of Samoa" etc. Guess you know where I will be spending my days off from work for the next several months :-)

If any subscribers know of possible grants I could apply for, please forward the information to me. Thanks in advance.


From the Email Bag

Hello,
I'm a student at the university of wisconsin - River Falls. I am very fascinated by the American history. I would like to ask you a few questions to see if you could help me out with the answers.

1) State's rights have been a divisive issue in American history. could you trace the debate concerning state's rights from the writing of the Constitution to the Missouri Compromise? How important were state's rights in the flow of early U.S. history?

2) Hamilton and Jefferson offered contrasting visions of American society. Could you describe each of these views and how American society embraced each of them over time up to 1830?

3) American society saw a dramatic set of change between 1795 and 1830. One historian, Alice Felt Tyler, called this period, Freedom's Ferment. Was she correct? Why or Why not?

Thank you very much and I hope to hear from you soon. Once again, thank you.

EIDTOR'S NOTE: Do you get the impression that what this student wanted is for me to do his homework assignment for him as each question requires a lengthy essay answer?


Site Update

I am in the process of adding information to the State Facts section. So far I have added population statistics for each state from their first census right on up to the 2000 census. I have also added the lyrics for all the 50 states official song as well as MP3 audio recordings of their songs. At present, I am in the process of adding lists of ALL the governors for all 50 states from their first right on up to current data. At present, going alphabetically, I am on the state of North Carolina. The original 13 colonies that became states averages an hour-and-a-half per state of my labor. Most average an hour of my labor to enter the data. This expanded section should be back online again by the next issue of this newsletter.

So far in entering the governors' lists, I have come across some interesting facts:

  • One state went through FOUR governors in ONE year

  • Hannibal Hamlin was governor of Maine for almost one month when he resigned in 1857. In 1860 he was Abe Lincoln's running mate for the 1860 presidential election. It has me curious as to why he resigned from office and why so soon.

  • Most states only had three or four governors die in office over their entire history. Other states had ten or more die in office

  • Many states had numerous governors resign from office in their history

  • Several governors ran for president, but failed to get elected -- Only two governors ran for president and won

    Your Opportunity for Imortality

    Last issue several people responded to my request below. However, so far, no one has sent me their article. Thus, I ask again:

    I want to expand the Primary Source Material section on HistoryBuff.com in the Historic Events/People link. Were you alive when JFK was assassinated; during the Cold War of the 1950's-1960's; When John Lennon was shot; When Elvis Presley died; etc. Or, even better, grew up during World War II? If it was a major event in American history, where were you when you heard the news? How did you receive the news (newspaper, radio, televison, etc.) and what your reactions and memories are of this event/era. If you grew up during WWII, tell us about the paper drives, war bond rallies, rationing etc. and how it affected your life. From those submitting first person articles, I will select some for including on HistoryBuff.com. Those that I publish will receive an original New York Times newspaper from the Civil War era. If you have any questions, be sure to email me.


    HistoryBuff.com Survey
Thanks to those who filled out and submitted my survey in the past few months. I would appreciate it if you have not yet filled out the survey if you would fill out the survey form and submit it. The URL for the survey is: http://www.historybuff.com/survey/survey.html. Thanks in advance.

POLL RESULTS -- 3782 VOTES CAST
In your opinion, do you approve of reparation payments for relatives of ex-slaves, Japanese Internment Camp survivors, Native Americans, etc.?
No59.6%
Yes20.8%
I Dont Care11.8%
Undecided7.8%

February's Contest

FEBRUARY ISSUE'S QUESTION: During the Cold War between the United States in the 1950's a special bunker was built to harbor Congressmen and Senators and their families under a golf course in the Carolinas. What was the name of that golf course?

ANSWER: Greenbrier. In my haste to get the newsletter out, I mistakenly put Greenbrier in the Carolinas, but it is actually in West Vriginia.

Last Month's Question

All of the American Presidents have lived in the White House except one. Which one never lived in the White House? (Too easy?)

ANSWER: George Washington -- The White House hadn't been built yet when he was in office. All three Civil War newspapers were awarded.

This Month's Question

Three American presidents appeared on American television shows as entertainment. (State of the Union Addresses, Message to the People of the United States, Political Debates, etc. do not count.) One hosted a television series years prior to being elected president. One appeared as a guest on a talk show and played a musical instrument just prior to being elected, and the third appared on a comedy/variety show as a guest after leaving office. Name these three presidents and what show/series they appeared on as entertainers.

Contest entry deadline is Wednesday, April 14, 2004. Only one entry per subscriber. Later entries will be disqualified. To enter, email your answer to "help@historybuff.com" with the subject heading "Contest Entry". From subscribers submitting the correct answer and correct subject heading, three will be selected at random to win original historic newspapers. To give more people a chance to win a historic newspaper, previous winners are NOT eligable to win.



That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown