This is compiled from the various things I had on the FAQ pages that will give you some information on my background, how this site came to be, etc. There is also info on the Contact Information page about image use, requests for links, advertising, copyright questions, and more.
Who runs this site? Where are you located? Where is the site published? ...and all the other things you might need for a bibliography for a school project or paper
Even though a lot of this information is somewhere on the page, I still get emails asking for it, so I decided to compile all the answers into one place: My name is Lara Eakins and the site is created in and uploaded from my hometown of Austin, Texas. I run the site myself as a hobby and it is not part of any organization, company, university (even though I work at one... this site isn't part of that job), etc. The latest update information for an individual page is located at the bottom, above the copyright and image use link or on the left hand side of the page. I've started keeping a record of the changes I make (Wikipedia-style) on pages as I update them.
Why did you start this page in the first place? How did this page get started?
I'm still rather amazed that this site has grown into the monster that it has. It started as just one page of my personal homepage in 1994. A friend and co-worker of mine had started playing around with running a webserver off of the machine where we worked and I decided to make a page too. I had the usual stuff: a little about where I work, my hobbies, my interests, etc. and I had a little gif icon of Elizabeth I that went to a page about the Tudor monarchs. Slowly but surely I expanded that, until I decided to move the Elizabeth pages to a GeoCities site since they were getting the most attention and starting to put a drag on my work computer. That ultimately got a little messy, with some files at GeoCities and some still on my work computer, so I decided to get a webhosting account at Simplenet, and tudor.simplenet.com debuted on July 1, 1997. In August 2000, I moved the site to another host and finally got a domain name: tudorhistory.org. I had previously called the pages Tudor England, but after thinking about it while trying to decide on a domain name, I came to the conclusion that Tudor History made a lot more sense.
How did you get interested in Tudor history in the first place?
I think I was actually born an Anglophile, since from my earliest days I can remember a fascination with England and the British Isles. Part of it no doubt comes from the fact that most of my ancestors originally came from Great Britain and Ireland.
My interest in Tudor History took off when I was in 8th grade. My American History teacher used to "threaten" us with a lesson on Henry and his wives. Well, one day, she followed through on her "threat" and spent that class period and the next talking about Henry and family. She showed us some of the famous paintings and quickly told us the tale of each of the six amazing women that Henry VIII took for his queens. I was hooked. I quickly went out and read Carolly Erickson's Great Harry and shortly after, The First Elizabeth.
When I got to high school the next year (1986, for those who are curious), I took World History for the first time. My teacher was great, but unfortunately didn't know much about the Tudors. (He once mistakenly called Mary Queen of Scots "Bloody Mary", which I corrected him on, of course.) But, when it came time for our research paper, he quickly signed off on my proposed topic: "The Changes of Religion in Tudor England" and encouraged my interests. (And I got an A+!)
Since then I continued to read many books on the subject of the Tudors although my career interests have mostly been science-related. I did take a Tudor History class in college, although it didn't count toward my astronomy degree! After finishing my degree in astronomy I have continued working in the field.
What is the purpose of this site? Who is your target audience?
The short answer is that the purpose of the site is to share my interest in and thoughts on Tudor history. Therefore, the primary audience is folks who share that interest. My original goal of the site wasn't for schoolkids doing class projects, although I know that's one of the main demographic groups of my readers and I have tried to keep that in mind.
For a more long-winded answer, keep reading.
Not too long after the site moved to Simplenet (maybe even before?), I started getting a lot of email about it and I was starting to finally get an idea about just who was reading it. That helped me really get ahold of a "philosophy" about the site -- the purpose I wanted it to serve.
The pages grew out of my personal homepage, and like most of the other stuff there was just basically a "fan" site. In the early days of the site I was getting email from basically two groups of people: other Tudor history fans and school kids. The first group usually started off their emails with "Gosh, I thought I was the only person obsessed with the Tudors!" and this is what eventually gave me the idea to start some Pen Pal pages and the TudorTalk email list. The second group - the students - usually sent emails about getting more information, how to use pictures in a project and the like.
I still primarily think of it as a fan site. Because my interests have ranged all over the topics and reigns of the period (and continue to reach earlier and earlier... I think my Wars of the Roses and medieval history books are starting to catch up with the Tudor ones!), I don't see the site ever becoming in-depth on any one thing at a very high level. If you look at the Links section of the site, you will see lots of links to pages that are devoted to one slice of Tudor history. There are some fantastic sites out these just covering fashion, food, Anne Bolyen, and so forth. I could never hope to reach their level of knowledge, so I just aim for a general overview of most topics and people. To try to match some of those sites would just be a needless duplication of effort and would probably never be as good! In a similar vein, I originally added portraits and pictures of people, places and things because they are our visual link to the period, and frankly, some of them are just down right neat to look at. In the case of the Holbein painting of Anne of Cleves, they are quite a part of the history itself. But, it's never been my intention to try to collect images of every person ever painted in the period or every image of Elizabeth I.
When I started getting emails from kids (and sometimes older students) saying "Thanks! Your site really helped me with my history project", I was flattered, and a bit surprised.
Are you a historian or an expert in Tudor history?
I am not a professional historian, but I do consider myself an amateur historian of sorts. At one point I would have thought that would have been a bit of a stretch to say, but now that I've racked up hours lost in the volumes of the Calendar of State Papers in my university's library, I think it's a justifiable statement. I also took several history classes in college, including one on Tudor England, so I also do have a bit of an academic background on the topic. My degree and current job are in astronomy, for those who are curious.
"Expert" is a relative term. I'm probably an expert on the Tudors compared to the average person. Compared to people who have devoted their careers to studying and/or writing about the period, I do NOT consider myself an expert. And there are definitely more knowledgeable amateurs out there as well. Like this site, I think of my knowledge of the period as being broad and general. I've met others who know some areas very in-depth and can debate an issue at a level that I will probably never be able to match!
Where do you get all of your information (and pictures)?
The first time I got this question, I thought it was a little odd, since I felt it should be fairly obvious. BOOKS!!! Most of the books are in my own personal collection. I have yet to meet any professional or amateur historian who isn't also (at least at heart) a fanatical bibliophile too. I know some who would have thousands of books if money and space allowed, and I know others who actually do!
A few of the images and texts come from books that I have checked out from the library. I'm lucky enough to work on a university campus with one of the largest libraries in the United States and with lots of great Tudor resources. Most of the images have come from my own books or library books, but some are also from postcards that I have bought when visiting galleries or properties in the UK. The majority of photographs at the site are ones that I took myself when visiting the UK.
Can I interview you for a school project?
First, you might want to read through the answer above to the "Are you a historian or expert?" question before deciding you want to interview me! If you decide you still do, then keep reading.
I prefer doing email interviews since I keep kind of a weird schedule at times. Plus, this gives me time to double-check things in books. It's actually been rare in the past few years for me to sit and read a Tudor history book from cover-to-cover. I mostly use my books to look up specific things, and therefore some of my knowledge on some parts of the period is a bit rusty. As such, if you want to interview me it might take me a little while to get back to you since I'll probably have to look some stuff up to make sure I'm getting it right!
Are you British? Where are you from? Where does an American get off writing about British history?
If you haven't already figured it out by reading the question -- no, I'm not British. I have spent several wonderful vacations there though! I was born and raised and still currently reside in Texas. I'm now in Austin which has been my hometown since 1980.
Okay, so now for that third question. Yes, I really have gotten this question on more than one occasion. The first time, I was a little perplexed! I have gotten the impression occasionally that some people are actually offended that an American would have such a big site talking about British history. I find this notion a bit odd, to say the least. I've come across Brits that are fanatics about the American Civil War, and it certainly doesn't bother me. In fact, I think it's pretty cool!
My usual response though has been: In that time period, most of my ancestors *were* British. Or more accurately English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh. So it really is "my" history just as much as it is that of anyone who currently lives there. Although I still have lots of genealogy left to do, I have tenatively tracked down some of my Norris line (through a great-great-grandmother) to Norfolk in Tudor times, for example.
Who are your favorite Tudors? Who is your favorite wife of Henry VIII?
I get asked variations on these questions from time to time, and they are really hard to answer. If someone put a gun to my head and said "Name your favorite Tudor -- NOW!", then I would have to go with Elizabeth I. But I also have a great interest in Henry VII (yes, that's a 7... you read it right). And branching out from the Kings and Queens, I also have a strong interest in Jasper Tudor (most people at this point say "Who????" -- Henry VII's uncle if you didn't know), Margaret Beaufort and Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland.
It would be even harder for me to pick a favorite of Henry VIII's wives. I have a certain soft spot for Anne Boleyn, since she's Elizabeth's mother and I also really like Katherine Parr and admire her intelligence and love of learning. I also have an odd interest in the wife that I think got the best lot in life of the bunch -- Anne of Cleves. Think about it... she only had to stay married to Henry for six months, didn't have to be intimate with him, got to keep her head and some castles to boot! I think the other three are interesting too but I don't think I would call any of them my "favorite".
This site has always been made on a Mac, from day one. It was even hosted on a Mac in the early days, until I started using paid hosting (now at Yahoo Small Business). Many moons ago I wrote my HTML code by hand, but that quickly became VERY time intensive, so I switched to using a WYSIWYG program. I started with Adobe's PageMill, then Go Live and now I'm using Dream Weaver. Most (maybe all) of the graphics were created in Photoshop.
I want to start my own website. What should I do? Any advice or tips?
First off, be prepared to work on it! I know that I don't always get around to working on this site as much as I would like, but I *do* continue to work on it. Although the occasional rude or flame email makes me grumpy for a little while, I ultimately have enjoyed working on this site. A lot of people I know - and I include myself here - find working on webpages addictive! But the drawback to that is that you often have goals for your site that you might not always be able to accomplish. But the ultimate point it to keep working on it if it's something you are enjoying.
Unlike the very early days of the Web, now you don't have to know all the details of HTML code and how to run a webserver. There are hosting companies with lots of helpful manuals to get you started and there are programs that will generate the pages for you, and hosting sites with built-in page creators with drag-and-drop modules that make putting together a site pretty easy.