The Civil 
War Institute

300 North Washington Street
Campus box 435
Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: 717.337.6590

Fortenbaugh Lecture

Professor Robert FortenbaughThe 2017 Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture will take place Sunday, November 19 at the Majestic Theater (25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg). The 2017 lecture, "I'm a Radical Girl:" Enslaved and Free Black Women Unionists and the Politics of Civil War History, will be delivered by Dr. Thavolia Glymph, Professor of History at Duke University. The program will begin at 7:00 pm. Free tickets can be obtained from the Majestic box office at 717-337-8200.

During the Civil War, enslaved and emancipated African American women sympathized with the Union cause.  They fought, prayed, sacrificed, and died for it and thus, for their own freedom. They did so as soldiers’ wives and refugees, as laborers on abandoned plantations, and as cooks and nurses in the Union army and on hospital transports and gunboats.  They fought for the United States on plantations, farms, towns, cities, and factories from which they could find no means of escape.  In the process, they made these places sites of wartime resistance.  But white Northerners rarely considered enslaved and emancipated women Unionist women or abolitionists.  Nor have black Union women found a place in the historiography of the Civil War or women’s political history.  Professor Glymph's lecture will  explore this lacuna in our history and its intellectual and political legacies.

The lecture is presented each year on November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, and takes as its central goal speaking to the literate general public without abandoning solid scholarly moorings. The series was sustained during its first two decades by an endowment contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde B. Gerberich of Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, in honor of Professor Fortenbaugh, who taught history at Gettysburg from 1923 until his death in 1959. The endowment has been substantially supplemented by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harry D. Holloway Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation. In 1990 the alumni and friends of Gettysburg College made special contributions to commemorate the 79 years of combined service to Gettysburg College by Professors Basil L. Crapster and Charles H. Glatfelter, who retired in 1988 and 1989, respectively. The roll of donors includes Michael Bishop (Gettysburg '57), the winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine. The Fortenbaugh Fund continues to welcome contributions from the friends of the lecture and the College.

The first Fortenbaugh Lecture was delivered in 1962 by Bruce Catton. He was followed by David Herbert Donald, John Hope Franklin, Willie Lee Rose, Richard N. Current, C. Van Woodward, Kenneth M. Stampp, Drew Gilpin Faust, Elizabeth Fox Genovese, Eric Foner, Jean H. Baker, Mark E. Neely, Jr., and other luminaries of American historical writing. With the 21st lecture by Jacques Barzun, in 1982, in the 151st year of Gettysburg College, the private printing of the lecture commenced. In 1992 Oxford University Press published, and the Book of the Month Club made an alternate selection of, a collection of revised lectures from recent years: Gabor Boritt, ed., Lincoln, the War President: The Gettysburg Lectures.

The Fortenbaugh Fund continues to welcome contributions from the friends of the Lecture and the College.  For further information, please call Heather Miller at 717-337-6590 or email


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300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: (717) 337-6300