Introductions & Biographies
When Bathilda Bagshot first published A History of Magic in 1947, many theories began to crop up about how she got her information. Over 20% of Bagshot’s material had never before been published. Therefore, people began to explain away her immense knowledge. Newspaper headlines read, “Bathilda Bagshot is a Dinosaur Animagus,” and “How did Bagshot Manage to Horde Hundreds of Time-Turners.” Incidentally, The Quibbler published an article some time later calling all of these theories, “utterly nonsensical, as Bagshot is clearly the Overlord of the Kneazles, returned to lead the Kneazle population to world domination.” We can now say with reasonable certainty that all of these theories are false. So how did Bagshot gather her information? The truth is… it was a lot of guesswork.
As Bagshot assembled her book, she travelled the world consulting with numerous historians to combine their ideas and then present a somewhat-cohesive picture. Notably, Bagshot also consulted with members of the centaur and goblin communities to gain their sides of the stories. Bagshot thus managed to gather a great deal of information that few wizards had ever before heard. Bagshot’s volume was remarkably informative. However, we have now disproved a significant segment of her work.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but history is actually an ever-changing field. Magical history is every bit as foggy and whimsical as every other aspect of magical studies. Every day, new data is fathered and new theories are composed. Where does this new knowledge come from? Those that tell us the most are plants and rocks, which endure time far more gracefully than mankind. Here is yet another situation where the Muggle sciences far surpass our own methods. For a long while, Muggles have used a method called “archaeology” to study artefacts and fossils buried deep below the ground in an attempt to discover the past. While Muggles developed this area of study, wizards focused more on experimental spell-and potion- making. By the time we got to the Muggle archaeological records, they had already succeeded in tainting and misinterpreting many of their samples that were clearly magical. In the past decades, the field of magical history has taken enormous strides by analyzing these Muggle records and discovering ones of our own, allowing us to now enhance and refute several portions of Bagshot’s original work. For example, while Bagshot’s texts on the Goblin Rebellions speak of the fierce goblin leader Colin the Conqueror, recent evidence has revealed that Colin never existed and was actually a character created by a Goblin group to intimidate the Wizarding Armies. While maintaining a great deal of Bagshot’s original work, the Hogwarts textbook staff has worked to update her book. Of course, we are confident that the majority of our information will also need to be revised in the next few decades.
Another reason that history is an ever-changing field is that the lens through which we see the past, as well as the world around us, is constantly refocusing. Modern readers may be surprised to discover how forward-thinking Bathilda’s original volume was. Bathilda’s inclusion of non-wizards that played an important role in our communities was quite controversial during her time. Of course, in the decades following the Wizarding Wars, our views of non-wizarding folk have shifted even more. Our updated version of A History of Magic therefore includes even more information on the non-wizarding communities which helped shape our own societies. We have devoted an entire section to various non-wizarding communities since we believe that their histories are every bit as complex and relevant to today’s societies as wizarding history is.
As you progress through your Magical History course, I encourage you to think critically about the material that you read. Consider how the events described here can be compared to current events. Think about the impact of events such as the creation of the first wand and the formation of the Statute of Secrecy. Finally, attempt to find an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a wizard in this world?”
Best wishes and good luck on your studies—
Director of Creative Literature
Editor for Hogwarts Textbooks
Salem Witches' Institute '07, Hollins University '11
A graduate of Salem Witches’ Institute, I had the opportunity to study with a number of magical historians and art historians both in Salem and London, where I went for a short period of further education following my graduation. Independent research, books, and new media presentations have furthered my knowledge of magical and Muggle history, which collide more frequently than we wizards like to acknowledge. My passion has always lain in the more hidden years, where much history is guesswork, fragments, and ruins. As such, I am better versed in the history of and theories about early civilizations of the Middle East and Europe, as well as the kingdoms and empires that predate modern Western Civilization. My interest dies in the increasing pollution and rural poverty of the Industrial Revolution. A stickler for details, passionate grammarian, and writer, I hope that you find this textbook informative, detailed, accurate, and grammatically correct in every way.
Mandi D. (Ravenclaw)
Salem Institute ‘09; Hogwarts ‘10; Brigham Young University - Currently attending
I’m that kid - the geeky one who sat in a corner reading about molecular theory instead of playing Quidditch. Why molecular theory, of all things? Even though I don’t have any Muggles in my close family, my cousin Lorcan and I have shared a fascination of their culture since we were little. We strongly believe that Muggle ideas and technology can revolutionize us, if we let it. When I began school at Salem Institute, I made special effort to learn more by studying Muggle Sciences and Muggle History. I transferred to Hogwarts my seventh year to be closer to Lorcan and his brother Lysander. While there, I fell in love with England, but I returned to America to attend a Muggle university. Over the last several months, I’ve been given the opportunity to help write both A History of Magic and A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration. My fondest wish is that, after college, I can teach at Hogwarts, so this has been a perfect fit for me. I sincerely hope that Hogwarts can also be the perfect fit for you.
Paige R. (Hufflepuff)
Salem Institute‘08; Longwood University - Currently attending
As a Muggle-born witch in the D.C. area, I was stunned and excited to get an acceptance letter to Salem Institute in Massachusetts. I loved the academics at Salem, and made some truly amazing friends. I specialised in History of Magic and Ancient Runes, though I loved the more practical arts of Charms and Transfiguration as well. In my sixth year, I was granted the opportunity to study abroad for a year at Hogwarts, where I was given the opportunity to be sorted and found myself in a Hatstall between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Sorted officially into Hufflepuff, I could not be happier and enjoyed my year at Hogwarts, though I must say Salem Institute’s History of Magic professor was far less dull than Hogwarts’ ghost professor! I returned to Salem Institute for my seventh year and graduated at the top of my class, from there continuing onto Muggle university, finding my aptitude for Muggle subjects had not diminished due to rigorous hard work I put in over the summers. While in Muggle university, I am studying social work, but my love for history never faded, so I was ever so glad when I could apply to co-write a new edition of A History of Magic! I have enjoyed writing this book very much, and I hope all the students will enjoy the book as well.
Alex S. (Ravenclaw)
A full blooded Filipino Ravenclaw despite my name, I was studying at Hogwarts at the time of the Second Wizarding War. I was only able to study on the grounds of Hogwarts during my first to fourth year. When the war broke, I went back home to the Philippines to avoid the conflicts arising at the time. Thankfully, Hogwarts granted me a chance to pursue my studies at a “long-distance term.” I am part of a special group of Hogwarts students belonging to the Fly Hogwarts program, a program created at the time of the war that is designed for overseas students to continue their Hogwarts education long-distance. I am currently a researcher at the Institute of Asian Magical History in the Philippines and work part-time at the neighboring Muggle university as a student moderator. My research has brought me to numerous parts of the world where I had the opportunity to meet and speak with renowned magical historians like Madame Bathilda Bagshot. I live in the heart of Manila with a small Philippine scops owl named Nugget and a mysterious midnight visitor who keeps stealing my oranges.