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Civil War History: Archive

December 2022, Volume 68, No. 4

Dec 19th, 2022


Conservative to the Last Degree: The Emerging Illinois Republican Party and the Election of 1856
By Ian Iverson

“We Are Now at Gettysburg”: Gender and Place in the Iowa Woman’s Relief Corps’ Monument to Jennie WadeBy
By Lindsey R. Peterson

Roundtable Discussion on Deborah Willis’s The Black Soldier: The Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship
moderated by Jim Downs, with participants David W. Blight, Cheryl Finley, Matthew Fox-Amato, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Nell Painter, Ann M. Shumard, and Deborah Willis


David W. Blight is Sterling Professor of American History at Yale University. He is the author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018), American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (2011), and Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001).

Jim Downs is the author of Maladies of Empire: How Colonialism, Slavery, and War Transformed Medicine (2021). His other books include Sick from Freedom: African American Sickness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction (2012) and Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation (2016). He has published essays in the Atlantic, New Yorker, Washington Post, New York Times, Vice, Slate, Lancet, LA Times, among others. He is the editor of Civil War History. Downs is the Gilder Lehrman–National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Civil War Era Studies and History at Gettysburg College.

Cheryl Finley is director of the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Spelman College and associate professor of art history at Cornell University. Finley leads an innovative undergraduate program at the world’s largest historically Black college and university consortium in preparing the next generation of African American museum and visual arts professionals. She has written widely on photography for academic and popular publications, including Aperture, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, American Quarterly, Art Forum and Small Axe. She is also the award-winning author of Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (2018). Finley’s current research examines the global art economy, focusing on the relationship among artists, museums, biennials and migration in the book project, “Black Art Futures,” and the interdisciplinary project “Mapping Art History at HBCUs.”

Matthew Fox-Amato is associate professor of history at the University of Idaho. He is the author of Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (2019), the runner-up for the 2021 Shapiro Book Prize of the Huntington Library, a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, and a finalist for the Association of American Publishers PROSE Award. The book was also named one of the Advocate’s “Must-Read Books on Race and Hate.” Currently, Fox-Amato is working on two books, the first examining the memory of American slavery in photography and other forms of visual culture and the second book the history of the White House photographer.

Ian Iverson is an editorial specialist at the Kentucky Historical Society’s Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition. He is a graduate of Princeton University and completed his PhD at the University of Virginia in 2022. He is currently revising his dissertation, “Moderate Men and Conservative Influences: Illinois and the Politics of Union, 1854–1861,” for book publication.

Gregory Laski is the author of Untimely Democracy: The Politics of Progress after Slavery (2018). He is currently civilian associate professor of English at the US Air Force Academy. A Mellon Fellow at the Newberry Library in 2021–22, he is at work on a new book project: an intellectual history of revenge in the long Reconstruction era.

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis is associate professor of history of art and architecture and African and African American studies at Harvard University and the founder of the Vision and Justice Project. Her books and edited volumes include The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery (2014) and Carrie Mae Weems (2021), which won the 2021 Photography Network Book Prize, and the “Vision and Justice” issue Aperture magazine, which received the 2017 Infinity Award for Critical Writing and Research from the International Center of Photography. She was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow in 2022. Her forthcoming publications include Caucasian War: How Race Changed Sight in America (2023), Vision & Justice (2024), and Groundwork: Race and Aesthetics in the Era of Stand Your Ground Law (Spring 2023).” She is also on the Civil War History editorial board.

James G. Mendez is currently the senior associate dean of student affairs and assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He is the author of A Great Sacrifice: Northern Black Soldiers, Their Families, and the Experience of Civil War (2019).

Nell Painter (the artist formerly known as the historian Nell Irvin Painter, author of Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over [2018], The History of White People [2010], and Sojourner Truth, a Life, a Symbol [1997]) earned degrees in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers and the Rhode Island School of Design after a PhD in history from Harvard. She lives and works in East Orange, New Jersey, and when not writing essays and drawing self-portraits, she makes artist’s books that portray people and history. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2007, she also currently serves as chair of MacDowell.

Lindsey R. Peterson earned her PhD in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a US history instructor at the University of Sioux Falls and the senior assistant editor of the Civil War and Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi digital history project ( Peterson is currently writing a book about Union Civil War commemoration in the West, “‘Twin Relics of Barbarism and Savagery’: Union Civil War Commemorations as Tools of Western Colonization.”

Adam H. Petty is a historian and documentary editor with the Joseph Smith Papers. He is the author of The Battle of the Wilderness in Myth and Memory: Reconsidering Virginia’s Most Notorious Civil War Battlefield (2019).

Ann M. Shumard is senior curator of photographs for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. A contributor to publications such as Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits (2007); Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection (2013); and Smithsonian American Women (2019), she has also curated numerous exhibitions. These include A Durable Memento: Portraits by Augustus Washington, African American Daguerreotypist (1999); Bound for Freedom’s Light: African Americans and the Civil War (2013); and Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits (2019). She is cocurator with Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw of the forthcoming exhibition “I Dream a World”: Selections from Brian Lanker’s Portraits of Remarkable Black Women.

Mark Smith is Carolina Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He is author of Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South (1997), Listening to Nineteenth-Century America (2001), and The Smell of Battle, the Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War (2014), among other titles.

Jonathan Daniel Wells is professor of Afroamerican and African studies and of history at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South (2012), The New York Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance, on the Eve of the Civil War (2020), among other titles.

Timothy J. Williams is associate professor of history at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Intellectual Manhood: University, Self, and Society in the Antebellum South (2015) and coeditor, with Evan A. Kutzler, of Prison Pens: Gender, Memory, and Imprisonment in the Writings of Mollie Scollay and George Washington Nelson, 1863–1866 (2018).

Deborah Willis is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship (2021) and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), among others. Willis’s curated exhibitions include Framing Moments in the KIA, Migrations and Meanings in Art, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, at the International Center of Photography; Out of Fashion Photography: Framing Beauty, at the Henry Art Gallery; and Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments, at Indiana University.

Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai is director of research at the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is the author of Northern Character: College-Educated New Englanders, Honor, Nationalism, and Leadership in the Civil War Era (2016).


Book Reviews

Williams’ Gang: A Notorious Slave Trader and His Cargo of Black Convicts, by Jeff Forret
Reviewed by Jonathan Daniel Wells

South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War, by Alice L. Baumgartner
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Fighting for Citizenship: Black Northerners and the Debate over Military Service in the Civil War, by Brian Taylor
Reviewed by James G. Mendez

A Notable Bully: Colonel Billy Wilson, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Violence in the Civil War Era, by Robert E. Cray
Reviewed by Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

The Howling Storm: Weather, Climate, and the American Civil War, by Kenneth W. Noe
Reviewed by Adam H. Petty

The Record of Murders and Outrages: Racial Violence and the Fight over Truth at the Dawn of Reconstruction, by William A. Blair
Reviewed by Gregory Laski

The Generals’ Civil War: What Their Memoirs Can Teach Us Today, by Stephen Cushman
Reviewed by Timothy J. Williams