James Adams at the Park Service Library

This fall I had an internship at the Gettysburg National Park Library. Gettysburg National Park Library has probably one of the best Civil War libraries, pertaining to the battle of Gettysburg, in the nation.  They have just about any book on the battle and those who were involved in it. They also have a large number of vertical and box files which contain copies of diaries, journals and other first hand sources. It was definitely one of the neatest internships I could have had. The main priority of my internship was sorting through the research folders of popular author Harry Pfanz. He is best known for his extremely detailed books on the first and second day of Gettysburg along with many other Gettysburg and Civil War books. I helped sort out his work, but a majority of that had been done by a previous intern. I spent most of my time the remaining months entering each research material into a program Gettysburg National Park uses called ProCite. This program is a catalog of all the materials the library has. I would go through each folder that had been organized by brigade, division or by the name of general and enter each work into ProCite. I would then have to give a title for the work, give a description and think of keywords for the piece. The keywords were the hardest at first, but I soon got the hang of it, especially as I learned more as the semester wore on.  They are in the process of moving to the new visitor's center so it was sweet that I am probally one of the last interns in the Cyclorama Center.

James Adams Cyclorama building

This internship really helped me gain a lot of knowledge in almost every aspect of the Civil War. It really helped reaffirm what I was learning in my classes, because I was expected to know regiments, brigades, and divisions of armies and their commanders so I could give as much detail to each entry I put in ProCite. Dealing with Harry Pfanz's work was amazing. I got to read drafts for one of his books. Along with that I was able to see the extent of the detail and research he had to do to write his books. This is where I first read the story of John B. Gordon and Barlow at Gettysburg. I was able to also read copies of many soldiers' diaries and also reflections from civilians in the town during the battle. I had not read Harry Pfanz books before I had come to Gettysburg, but I really enjoyed reading both his first and second day books while I was here. Not being a history major; I am Animal Science Pre-Vet, I really got a got a good grasp on how to do historical research through my internship at the library. The library helped me get a good start on both of my topics and also working with Pfanz's research I got a good idea on where he got a lot of his information, and I followed his path. The whole staff was helpful and hearing stories of the battle and the tourism around Gettysburg was really interesting.

the Cyclorama building in disrepair


The part of my internship I enjoyed the most was interacting with Head of Library John Heiser, and Chief Historian Scott Hartwig. I officially was an intern for John, but Scott was always around as his office was connected to the library. They were two great people to work with, along with the rest of the staff coming in and out of the library. Overall it was a very positive work experience and it was neat meeting battlefield guides and other researchers who came in as I was working in the library. John and Scott loved to recite movie quotes such as this one from Planet of the Apes, "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah damn you! God damn you all to hell!" Another favorite was Clint Eastwood. They also would have sound clip wars which made the time go by faster and was a nice break from working on ProCite. Overall I enjoyed my internship and I learned a lot doing it. The staff was great and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a semester internship.