Studying the history of a set of memories requires more than simply analyzing events and documents to discover hidden meanings.  In his essay on the role of memory in American History, David Thelen explains that the goals of a study of memory are different from a more traditional historical project.  This type of endeavor “would explore how people together searched for common memories to meet present needs, how they first recognized such a memory and then agreed, or negotiated over its meaning, and finally how they preserved and absorbed that meaning into their ongoing concerns.”[1]  In Bristol, and throughout Rhode Island, these meanings were contested and negotiated on the pages of the local newspapers and through the public events that acknowledged the war and sought to preserve different interpretations of the legacy of King Philip.  As the story grew more complex, the range of analyses widened and more people became interested in the story of the war. 

[1] David Thelen, “Memory and American History,” The Journal of American History 75, no. 4 (March 1989): 11233.