Three CWI Fellows will present papers at the 2015 Central Pennsylvania Consortium symposium, Legacies of the Great War: Remembering World War I after 100 Years. The symposium will be held March 27-28 at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. In addition to the undergraduate research session, the event will feature leading authorities on the conflict and its commemoration, including Susan Grayzel (University of Mississippi), Chad Williams (Brandeis University), and Jenny Waldman, Director of the First World War Centenary Programme. The three Gettysburg students will present a panel on literary memories of the war, moderated by CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood. Heather Clancy ’15’s paper, “An Infinitely Bitter Leave-Taking,” will explore an atypical escape narrative written by a German POW. Sarah Johnson ’15 will examine a memoir written by Fritz Draper Hurd in her paper, “Growing Up in the Trenches.” Kevin Lavery ’16 will round out the panel with “Of Romance and Rhetoric: The Palestine Campaign in the Memory of Major Vivian Gilbert,” author of a romanticized narrative that nonetheless remains a valuable piece of war rhetoric.
In Spring 2015, CWI Director Peter Carmichael traveled south to headline the University of Alabama’s Sanders Lecture Series and the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Five Forks. Held annually, the Sanders Lecture Series commemorates the University of Alabama Corps of Cadets who fought in the Civil War and defended their school during the 1865 attack on the University’s campus. Carmichael’s lecture, “A Plea for Peace: The Literary Style of Semi-Literate Confederates” took place on April 4 and explored the opinions and modes of expression of semi-literate Confederate soldiers. The Five Forks event took place on Saturday, March 28. In the words of NPS coordinator Tracy Chernault, “With the help of Dr. Carmichael and others involved in Petersburg National Battlefield’s sesquicentennial commemoration of the battle of Five Forks, we hope to broaden public understanding of how this day in U.S. history at this rural crossroads was of national significance and led to the restoration of the Union." For more about the Sanders Lecture Series, please click here.
CWI Fellow Sarah Johnson ’15 and Assistant Director Ian Isherwood traveled to England in March 2015 to present a jointly-authored paper at a conference on the Great War (World War I) at the University of Oxford. The symposium was sponsored by the Globalising and Localising the Great War Project, a partnership between Pembroke College and the Oxford Centre for Global History aimed at encouraging ground-breaking new research and fresh insights which challenge often clichéd standard perspectives on an event that shaped— and continues to shape— the modern world. Johnson and Isherwood’s paper, “‘Yankee to the ranks from the towns and the tanks’: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and the First World War,” grew out of Johnson’s 2015 Mellon Summer Scholar project on Gettysburg and the Great War, mentored by Isherwood, and represents the sort of student-faculty research collaboration that distinguishes a Gettysburg education. In addition to participating in the conference and networking with colleagues from across the world, Johnson and Isherwood spent a day researching in the library of the Imperial War Museum (London). Read more of Sarah’s work on Gettysburg and the First World War here.
We live in a moment of intense commemorative activity. The 2010s have brought us the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the centennial of the Great War, the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and the 50th anniversary of key moments in the American civil rights movement. CWI associate director Jill Ogline Titus, a public historian and scholar of the 20th century black freedom struggle, recently published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer challenging Americans using civil rights anniversaries to highlight the structural issues underlying continued racial inequality. Read Titus’s piece in its entirety here.
CWI Director Peter Carmichael was interviewed for Civil War Monitor's "Behind the Lines" video series in January 2015. In the video, Carmichael highlights some of the speakers and programs awaiting attendees of the 2015 Civil War Institute Summer Conference, and weighs in on the recent controversy surrounding the state of Civil War military history. Challenging the idea that the future of Civil War scholarship is in crisis, Carmichael argues that debates over classification don't do the field any good and that instead of focusing on artificial distinctions, Civil War historians ought to focus on learning from the diverse perspectives embodied in recent scholarship and celebrating the integration of military history, cultural history, social history, gender history, political history, environmental history, etc.
Under the leadership of Managing Editor Heather Clancy ‘15, the Civil War Institute’s blog, The Gettysburg Compiler, has had a banner year, reaching new heights of readership and visitor engagement with posts. Over the course of the fall semester, student writers for the blog have experimented with a variety of new formats, including Warpinion editorials, Archival Adventures, Battlefield Correspondence reports from Oak Ridge and the Virginia Memorial, and Point/Counterpoint pieces on topics ranging from Civil War reenacting to lecture reviews. Old favorites, such as the video series “Special Collections Roadshow,” have also returned to the pages of the Compiler, bringing new episodes dedicated to investigating war-related artifacts housed in Musselman Library’s Special Collections & College Archives. Student writers have brought their training as historians to topics such as the commercialism of Gettysburg, battlefield art and monuments, the ghost tour industry, Civil War music, the “dark turn” in Civil War scholarship, popular memory of Stonewall Jackson, and the ethics of archival research, sparking and spurring new cyber-conversations about the interpretation and relevance of history in 21st-century society. Browse The Gettysburg Compiler.
Since 2011, CWI’s Brian C. Pohanka Internship Program has provided opportunities for Gettysburg College students to do paid work on the frontlines of history, interning at a wide range of museums, national parks, and historical organizations. In November 2014, representatives from 8 host sites came to Gettysburg to interview applicants for positions for the 2015 summer season. In the wake of the interviews, 21 students have been awarded Pohanka positions. In addition to providing frontline interpretation at their host parks and sites, intern projects for 2015 will range from exploring Thaddeus Stevens’ relationship to Gettysburg College to investigating the historic landscape of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House. Interns will receive a $1,500 stipend from the CWI and free on-site housing at their respective parks/museums. More information about the Pohanka program available here.
In Fall 2014, CWI co-sponsored an exhibition of works by internationally renowned, New York-based contemporary artist Michael Scoggins at Schmucker Art Gallery. Opening September 10, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” features a selection of large scale works on paper reflecting Scoggins’ interest in military and political topics. Scoggins’ works actively appropriate popular imagery to take a critical stance on contemporary politics, historical memory and the formation of cultural identities and biases. Two new works in this vein, The Gettysburg Address and Battle of Gettysburg, were created specifically for this exhibition at Gettysburg College.
Curated by Lauren Roedner ’13, the Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens exhibit on display in Musselman Library from November 2012-December 2013 traced the role of enslaved African Americans, black soldiers, and freedpeople in transforming mid-19th century understandings of human rights and citizenship. Based on materials from the collection of Angelo Scarlato, the exhibit included a strong teaching component and engaged significant numbers of Gettysburg College students (as well as visiting teachers) in hands-on object study. Students enrolled in a wide variety of courses visited Special Collections over the exhibit’s run to deepen their understanding of the power dynamics of slavery, the experiences of black soldiers, and the complicated realities of emancipation through investigating artifacts ranging from slave collars to enlistment papers to a playbill from Ford’s Theatre.
Students in Professor Scott Hancock’s Spring 2013 “Slavery, Rebellion and Emancipation in the Atlantic World” course used the exhibit as a springboard for a series of interpretive essays based on the artifacts. Each student chose a piece in the exhibit and conducted independent research on the artifact in order to gain a deeper understanding of how the black men, women, and children connected with the artifact succeeded or failed in their attempts to achieve some measure of freedom. Ultimately, the story the students sought to tell was one of people fighting for humanity within a dehumanizing institution.
Several of the essays written for this course have recently been published in the exhibition catalogue, Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African American Artifacts of the Civil War. Student contributors include Jordan Cinderich ’15, Tricia Runzel ’13, Avery Lentz ’14, Lauren Roedner ’13, Brian Johnson ’14, Lincoln Fitch ’14, and Michele Seabrook ’13.
On April 11, the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley, visited Gettysburg and toured the battlefield with CWI Director Peter Carmichael and history faculty member Michael Birkner, who regularly teaches a course on Australian history and politics. A Civil War enthusiast, Beazley has visited the Gettysburg battlefield at least half a dozen times during his five year tenure as the Australian ambassador to the U.S. After the tour, the group returned to the Gettysburg College campus for lunch and then visited the Eisenhower Farm. Ambassador Beazley is an important figure in contemporary Australian politics. He has held numerous key legislative and cabinet posts, including Minister of Defense, Finance, Aviation, Transport and Communications, and Employment Education and Training. Beazley served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1995-96 and Leader of the Opposition from 1996-2001 and again in 2005-06. In 2009, Ambassador Beazley was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian Parliament through contributions to the development of defense and international relations policies and as an advocate for Indigenous people.
Two Civil War Institute fellows, Brianna Kirk '15 and Sarah Johnson '15, were recently named 2014 Mellon Summer Scholars. The prestigious grants will help fund a summer of archival research and writing in collaboration with their respective faculty mentors, Brian Jordan '09 and Ian Isherwood '00.
Jeff Davis, a Sour Apple Tree, and Treason: Fear in the Post-Civil War North
Brianna Kirk '15
The end of the Civil War raised many questions, and one of the thorniest was how to piece the Union back together. After such an unprecedented war, the exact course of how to survive Reconstruction was unknown. Furthermore, the question of what to do with Jefferson Davis, leader of the Confederate rebellion, lingered. While many Union veterans dreamt of "hanging Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree," Northern civilians recoiled in fear, quickly embracing sectional reconciliation and dropping all charges of treason. What would such a high profile trial and execution say about a democracy staggering away from the battlefields of war? Would it destroy the tentative peace, thereby complicating Reconstruction? My project will examine this fear in the immediate post-war period and work to explain why Northerners were so eager to spare Davis from the gallows and forget the four bloody years of war.
Gettysburg & the Great War
Sarah Johnson '15
My research this summer will use the town of Gettysburg as a case study of an average American community at the dawn of the twentieth century and its relationship to the Great War. Dismissed as the tragic and futile Forgotten War, the Unknown Soldier and vague references to red poppies on Veterans Day are not enough to understand a war which laid the foundations for America in the twentieth century. By taking a town like Gettysburg, already so famously and intimately acquainted with war, and drawing out reactions and responses to the Great War, I intend to utilize Gettysburg not only for its unique relationship to war, but also as a snapshot of an American small town at the turn of the century.
Recent Gettysburg College graduate Hannah Grose '13 recently turned her senior capstone project into the Gettysburg Battlefield Community Garden at the Sherfy Farm. After months of coordinating multiple partners -- including the Gettysburg Foundation, National Park Service, the Civil War Institute, and the Center for Public Service -- and researching historic gardens, Grose and a team of volunteers began planing the day after graduation this past May. "When I was choosing a capstone project, I wanted to do something that would have a lasting impact," Grose explained. "I don't know when the line was crossed that this project stopped being about the class and became more about the garden. When I graduated, it was no longer for a grade. It became my job."
The Gettysburg Battlefield Community Garden, however, is more than just a living history project (as all produce grown there is consistent with the Civil War Era); everything grown in the garden is donated to Campus Kitchens, which uses fresh produce to make food for lower income households.
Learn more about Hannah and her work bringing the Sherfy Farm garden back to life.
In January 2013, CWI Associate Director Jill Ogline Titus will serve as the faculty advisor for a Center for Public Service-sponsored Immersion Trip to Alabama. Over the course of this nine-day trip, Dr. Titus and seven Gettysburg College students will visit some of the sites that played a central role in the 20th-century black freedom struggle: Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the small towns of Lowndes County, home of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. In addition to exploring the history of civil rights, the group will participate in service projects, spend several nights with host families, and delve into the relationship between the triumphs of the movement and contemporary civil rights issues, including immigration policy, voting rights, economic injustice, and educational policy.
Sponsored by Gettysburg College's Center for Public Service, Immersion Projects offer off-campus, educational service opportunities at sites in the United States and abroad. Students travel to a site where they work and serve in a community different from their own. Each project seeks to foster a dialogue between the College community and the host community around issues of social justice. By working alongside people and sharing their stories, students learn about themselves and the world. For more information about CPS Immersion Trips, please visit the Center for Public Service.