The Civil 
War Institute

300 North Washington Street
Campus box 435
Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: 717.337.6590
F: 717.337.6596


2016 Summer Conference Sneak Preview: Interview with Gregory Downs

Gregory Downs

Over the course of this year, we’ll be interviewing some of the prominent speakers scheduled to speak at the 2016 CWI conference about their upcoming talks and their thoughts about Reconstruction and its legacies.  Our first interview is with Dr. Gregory Downs, Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Downs is the author of Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908 (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) and most recently, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War (Harvard University Press, 2015), which uses the lens of occupation to examine the immediate period after Confederate surrender as an extension of wartime. Read our interview with Downs here.

Gettysburg College Launches New Minor in Public History

Public History

Gettysburg College launched an interdisciplinary minor in public history in Fall 2015. The new minor is administered by CWI’s Peter Carmichael and Jill Ogline Titus, housed in Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS), and directed by a faculty advisory council. What is public history? Public history revolves around the politics and practice of preservation and interpretation, in public settings and in conversation with public audiences. Students with a focus on Public History can pursue graduate study in history, public history, museum studies, art history, anthropology, library science, film studies, public policy, education, ethnic studies, public humanities, geography, sociology, or American Studies. They can also seek employment in fields ranging from museums, libraries and historic preservation to education, consulting, and government. For more information on course requirements, learning goals, and program faculty, please visit the program website.

The Commemoration Continues: 2016 CWI Summer Conference


Despite the fact that media outlets have already proclaimed the end of the sesquicentennial with retrospectives on the anniversary, at CWI, the commemoration continues. There is no one date that definitively marks the end of the war, and ending anniversary commemorations in 2015 obscures the close linkages between the conflict and its aftermath. For that reason, CWI’s chronological march through the war will continue in 2016 with "Reconstruction and the Legacy of the War." This conference – one of the first of its kind for a popular audience – will include a number of exciting new formats: small-group overview sessions, battlefield tours exploring postwar use of the Gettysburg battlefield, and breakout sessions devoted to Reconstruction through biography. Check out the full schedule for the 2016 summer conference.

Titus Speaks at First-Year Walk

Jill Ogline Titus

Associate Director Jill Ogline Titus served as the featured speaker for the 2015 First-Year Walk. Now in its 13th year, the First-Year Walk brings together Gettysburg College faculty, staff, and incoming First Year students in recreating the historic walk to the National Cemetery to hear President Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address. This orientation week tradition commemorates Gettysburg students’ participation in the historic events of 1863 and introduces new students to the history and landscape of their new home. Titus’s remarks focused on the power of place, the responsibilities of citizenship, and the process of drawing meaning from historical events. Read more about the 2015 First-Year Walk.  

Pohanka Intern Blends Interest in History & Environmental Studies

Amanda Thibault

Each year, around 20 Gettysburg students spend their summer connecting to the past through the Civil War Institute’s Brian C. Pohanka Internship Program. Placing students at various National Park locations along the East Coast, this internship experience offers them an opportunity to lead tours and educational programs, work with historical documents and artifacts, and work with a wide range of visitors.

As an Environmental Studies and History double major working at the Women’s Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, New York, Amanda Thibault ’17 has been able to apply her passion for both subjects to her work as a Pohanka Intern. In addition to immersing herself in the history of the suffrage movement and leading tours at the park, Thibault is wrapping up a proposal to restore the original landscaping surrounding the Elizabeth Cady Stanton home. Read more about Amanda’s experience here.

CWI Hosts Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar

2015 GLI SeminarCWI Director Peter Carmichael’s annual Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, “The American Civil War Through Material Culture and Historic Landscapes” brought 27 elementary and middle school teachers to Gettysburg College from July 12-18. GLI’s highly competitive teacher seminars provide participants a rigorous one-week program of classroom sessions and field experiences devoted to enhancing their content knowledge and providing new pedagogical approaches to teaching a particular topic. Participants in Carmichael’s seminar explored strategies for using artifacts, photographs, and historical landscapes as a means to understand the revolutionary experiences and consequences of the Civil War. Activities included visits to Culp’s Hill and the fields of Pickett’s Charge, crafting a lesson plan at Oak Ridge, and exploring the battlefield landscape as a teaching tool for introducing students to the civil rights movement and the Cold War. Read more about Gilder Lehrman’s Teacher Seminar Program.

Isherwood Co-Leads Trek Along the West Highland Way

Group with Gettysburg flag

At the end of May, CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood partnered with student leaders from the Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB) to co-lead an 8-day backpacking trip along the West Highland Way, an old military road rambling through 96 miles of the Scottish highlands. Blending history and hiking, the group explored the social, economic, and cultural history of Scotland and the complex nature of Scottish identity. Participants – current students, staff, and alums – hiked the trail from the Bridge of Orchy to Fort William, passing through moors, mountains, and rolling hills and camping each night next to local inns, where they warmed up, met other hikers, and got a taste of modern Scottish culture. The group covered between 7-12 miles per day, eating meals along the trail and stopping regularly for conversation, photos, and exploring the sites. For Isherwood, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in 2012, the trip offered an opportunity to share the history, culture, and striking views of his former home with members of the Gettysburg community. To learn more about the expeditions and wilderness programs offered through GRAB, visit the Experiential Education website. Photo credit Eric Lee ’15.

Australian Ambassador Tours Battlefield

Australian Ambassador visit

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.

Carmichael and Guelzo Appear on History Channel Production

Blood and Glory logo

Two Gettysburg College historians, CWI Director Peter Carmichael and Allen Guelzo, head of Civil War Era Studies, are featured in a new primetime documentary, Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color, which premiered on April 8, 2015 on the History Channel. This four-part documentary series brings the Civil War to life as never seen before. With unprecedented access to government and private archives and using state-of-the-art technology, over 500 rare and compelling black and white photographs have been painstakingly colorized to illustrate the story of the Civil War in remarkable detail. In addition to Carmichael and Guelzo, the program features historians James Oakes and George Rable, actors Richard Dreyfuss and Ben Stein, former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, and retired U.S. Army Generals David Petraeus and Colin Powell, in addition to descendants of Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant and Jefferson Davis. The series focuses on pivotal events that led the nation into conflict, the impact of state-of-the-art weaponry and technology, the tragic and unimaginable cost of combat, and the struggle to rebuild both individual lives and the country as a whole after the Confederacy’s surrender.

History 219 Goes Over the Top

Newville trenches

In April 2015, thanks to the efforts of Jesse Campana ’18, students in CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood’s class on the Great War had a unique opportunity to visit an authentic replica of a World War I trench line located near Newville, PA. The Caesar Krauss Great War Memorial Site is owned and maintained by the Great War Association (GWA), which strives to honor those who fought in the conflict through battle reenactments and educational events. On a 100 acre site in the woods of south-central Pennsylvania, the organization has authentically recreated a portion of the Western Front as it may have appeared circa 1917-18. The GWA places intense emphasis on historical accuracy and participatory history. The group’s reenactments take place within systems of opposing trenches complete with a crater-pocked No-Man's Land; participants remain in character 24/7 and spectators are not permitted. The memorial site provides a remarkable window into the material culture of trench life, including belts of barbed wire, used to protect the sandbagged front line trenches, bunkers with functioning machine guns, and supporting and communication trenches, connected to underground dugouts where officers plan operations and the common soldiers eat and rest. Campana, a GWA member and student in History 219, gave his classmates a tour of the trenches and an introduction to the material culture of war. Photo and title credit Kevin Lavery ’16.

Titus Joins "Civil Rights at 50" Panel

Selma to Montgomery March

In April 2015, CWI joined the President’s Office, the History Department and the Africana Studies Program in co-sponsoring a two-day symposium exploring the 50th anniversary of the seminal civil rights campaigns of 1965. On Wednesday, April 8, CWI Associate Director Jill Ogline Titus joined colleagues from across campus in a faculty panel discussion on “The State of the Movement and Public Opinion in 1965.” On Thursday, April 8, Dr. Richard Hutch ’67 built on the previous evening's event by sharing his experiences as a college student volunteer with the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project spearheaded by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).


Three CWI Fellows Present Papers at CPC Conference

Clancy, Lavery, Johnson

Three CWI Fellows presented papers at the 2015 Central Pennsylvania Consortium symposium, Legacies of the Great War: Remembering World War I after 100 Years,  held March 27-28 at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. In addition to the undergraduate research session, the event featured 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 presented 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,” explored an atypical escape narrative written by a German POW.  Sarah Johnson ’15 examined a memoir written by Fritz Draper Hurd in her paper, “Growing Up in the Trenches.” Kevin Lavery ’16 rounded 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.

Johnson and Isherwood Present Paper at Oxford Conference

Oxford skyline

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.  



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