It has been a while since I’ve done a concentrated study on any topic in American History. In fact, the last one was for my Colonial America class at AMU. The French and Indian War reading list and historiographic essay were the product and were early posts on this blog. Well, its been a few years, the masters is completed, and it turns out I miss that kind of directed study. So I’ve decided that this year (2018) I’ll begin a more detailed study of religion in the 13 colonies. I’ve got a decent reading list (see the link), but if any of you have any additions for me I’d love to hear them.
I was reading Catherine Brekus’ Strangers & Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America 1740-1845 as background for my thesis when I stumbled upon Jemima Wilkinson. In October 1776, after a bout of typhus, Wilkinson believed she had died, gone to heaven, and returned “sinless spirit” neither female nor male. Identifying herself as a Public Universal Friend, Wilkinson, often referred to herself in the third person and would only answer to Public Universal Friend not Jemima. Following suit, several of her inner circle also stopped calling her Jemima which evidently led to convoluted references to her in the written record.
I have found two biographies of Jemima, Herbert Wisbey, Jr’s 2009, Pioneer Prophetess, Jemima Wilkinson the Public Universal Friend and Paul Moyer’s more recent (2015), The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America. I find this interesting enough to follow up on after I finish my thesis.
Look at that, two months to the day since my last post. Time flies when you sink knee deep in Adventist history I guess.
So 2016 started off with a new job – I still work for Colonial Williamsburg but now in the School and Groups department. The training is in-depth and lots of fun so 2016 has been excellent so far.
The thesis prods along at what seems like glacial speed sometimes. The hardest part is the waiting time between submitting parts for comment/review and getting those comments back. To avoid burnout I’ve been trying to write only on the weekends which, of course, slows the process. In addition, I’ve ignored this blog but hope to get back to writing on a regular basis.
I spent some time going through my old book marked links and rediscovered this one. It links to a 1922 article in Concrete Highway Magazine that talks bout a visit to Williamsburg by President Harding. It also provides some info on the paving of the Duke of Gloucester Street. Enjoy!
I received great news this week! A while back I submitted a paper proposal to the Virginia Forum. The Virginia Forum is an annual conference that connects Historians, Museum Professionals, Teachers, and anyone interested in Virginia history to share research and experiences. The paper I proposed, “Colonists’ Patsy or Vainglorious Opportunist? Lord Dunmore and His War.” has been accepted. The conference will be March 3-5, 2016 in my own backyard as the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation will be our host. I’ll post more information as the conference draws near. To check out the Virginia Forum visit their website here.
I had to submit a short literature review (in a sense a historiography) as part of the thesis writing process. This serves to make sure that I am keeping focused on my topic and not reading too far astray. It also shows that I have given the topic some thought and did enough background reading so that I am not flying blind. Below is a copy.
Adventist history, while important within the denomination, is not a subject much researched and written about outside of denominational circles. My thesis seeks to place the beginnings of Adventist denomination within the greater historical context of slavery and the American Civil War. Consequently, the following sources broach a wide variety of topics starting with Adventist histories and continuing on to works covering the Antebellum and Civil War periods.
George Knight who is a history professor at Andrews University, an Adventist College and Seminary, specializes in Church History. He has written several books and devotionals on the Bible but for our purposes his two series, the “Adventist Heritage Series” and other concerning Ellen White provide background for our topic. Ellen White’s World: A Fascinating Look at the Times in Which She Lived provides a brief overview of the society during Ellen White’s day. Knight has divided his topic into before the Civil War and after the Civil War periods, yet at 144 pages it is hardly a comprehensive study of the topic. Meeting Ellen White: A Fresh Look at Her Life, Writings, and Major Themes again provides a brief introduction to the topic. Starting with a short biographical sketch, Knight then outlines some of Mrs. White’s writings and overarching themes she presented to the church. Reading Ellen White: How to Understand and Apply her Writings provides the reader with the background necessary to interpret the variety of Ellen White’s writings.
A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists, the first of Knight’s Adventist Heritage Series, is an introduction to the history of the denomination. Starting with Adventism’s Millerite roots and spanning the century plus until modern times, again Knight provides a brief 156 page overview. A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs is similar to Knight’s History except that it explores the evolution of Adventist beliefs. Particularly helpful in understanding Adventism’s Millerite roots is Chapter 3 “The Millerite Theological Foundation”. Rounding out the series is Organizing to Beat the Devil: The Development of Adventist Church Structure. This short 180 page work covers the structural evolution of the church from a loose collection of believers connected through publications to a modern denomination with a strong congregational structure organized into conferences, unions, and divisions.
Knight has also written biographies of central figures in the Advent movement. William Miller and the Rise of Adventism is the most recent biography of the man who predicted Christ’s return in 1843 and then 1844. In, Joseph Bates: The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism, Knight puts forth the case that as Adventist’s first theologian and historian, he drove the movement from disappointed Millerites to Sabbatarian Adventism and the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
George Knight is not William Miller’s only biographer. God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World by Middle Tennessee State University history professor Davil L. Rowe, puts Miller’s life in context of the times. In an age of religious ferment, Rowe argues that Miller is more mainstream than others portray him. (Knight would argue his work is more comprehensive as he takes the reader from historical Millerism to the rise of the Advent movement.)
Another leader in the Adventist church was James White. Gerald Wheeler’s biography James White: Innovator and Overcomer focuses on his contribution to the evolving Seventh-day Adventist church. More than just Ellen White’s husband, James was a man of vision and energy, but more importantly, Wheeler paints a picture of the human side of James White warts and all. Gary Land presents Uriah Smith’s contributions to Adventism in Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator. As editor of the Review and Herald and author of numerous pamphlets and books Smith was certainly a contributor to the development of SDA beliefs.
As prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventist church Ellen White has had several biographies written about her. Paul B. Ricchiuti’s 1988 Ellen: Trail and Triumph on the American Frontier, much like Wheeler’s book on James White, tries to show Ellen White as a human being. Ricchiuti is an Adventist so for him White is still a prophetess, but that does not deny her humanity. By contrast, Rene Noorbergen’s Ellen G. White: Prophet of Destiny is a gushing biography that puts Ellen White up on the pedestal that Ricchiuti argues against. Oxford University Press’ Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet, contains a series of essays on various aspects of the life of Ellen White. Though published by a university press, this book contains numerous essays by Adventist scholars. Of the eighteen essays, fifteen are written by scholars associated with the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Two volumes of Arthur L. White’s five volume biography of his grandmother provide a near first hand account of the period. Ellen White: The Early Years covers the “Great Disappointment” and beginnings of the Advent movement from 1827 to 1862. Ellen White: The Progressive Years covers the years 1862 to 1876 with the initial chapters focusing on both the Civil War and the incorporation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Several works examine America on the eve of the Millennial movement. Paul Jonson’s A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 provides insight into the changes occurring in the “burned over district” that sets the stage for religious revivals and northern reform movements. Ronald Walters’ American Reformers 1815-1860 gives shape to that American reform movement. The more recent America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election that Transformed a Nation by John Bicknell, follows the current trend in highlighting particular events in a given year. It sets the background for the beginning of my study as the “Great Disappointment” occurs in October, 1844.
Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America’s Millennial Role by Ernest Lee Tuveson examines the school of thought that sees the Unites States as chosen by God for some special mission. James Brewer Stewart’s Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery and Southern Enterprize: The Work of National Evangelical Societies in the Antebellum South by John W. Kuykendall provide background material for religion and the abolitionist movement.
Religion in conjunction with the Civil War is a subject that is just beginning to be studied. Several works provide excellent background material for my examination. C.C. Goen’s Broken Churches, Broken Nation: Denominational Schisms and the Coming of the Civil War addresses the role of churches in the years leading up to the Civil War. Almost as a prelude to the splitting of the nation over slavery, the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches split. A Shield and Hiding Place: The Religious Life of the Civil War Armies by Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr. while focusing on the revivals and clergy in the two armies, does provide a nice overview of the state of religious thought on the eve of war, as well as sermons given related to the war.
A Visitation of God: Northern Civilians Interpret the Civil War by Sean A. Scott looks at the religious thought of the northern home front during the war. It helps provide the background against which Adventist attitudes will be measured. Also contributing to this background is George C. Rable’s God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War. Rable’s which examines religion on both sides of the conflict.
The official publications of the fledgling and then incorporated Seventh-day Adventist Church are The Midnight Cry and the Review and Herald. Ellen White’s visions for the church and the American Civil War are contained in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1. Sermons given by non-Adventist preachers provide insight as to the attitudes and beliefs of other denominations toward the war. God the Giver of Victory and Peace: A Thanksgiving Sermon, Reverses Needed: A Discourse Delivered on the Sunday after the Disaster of Bull Run, and the article “The Victory of Manassas Plain” fall into this category.
Atkinson, Joseph M. God the Giver of Victory and Peace: A Thanksgiving Sermon.
Raliegh, NC, 1862.
Brooklyn Eagle. November 21, 1842.
Bushnell, Horace. Reverses Needed: A Discourse Delivered on the Sunday after the Disaster of Bull Run. Hartford, CT: L.E. Hunt, 1861.
Miller, William. Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, About the Year 1843. Boston: Joshua V. Himes, 1842.
“The Battle of Bull Run – Gen. McDowell’s Report,” The New York Times. August 9, 1861.
Seventh-day Adventist Church General Conference Archives. The Midnight Cry.
Seventh-day Adventist Church General Conference Archives. Review and Herald.
Smith, Uriah. The United States in the Light of Prophecy; or, An Exposition of Rev 13:11-17. Battle Creek, MI: Steam Press, 1874.
Smyth, Thomas. “The Victory of Manassas Plain,” The Southern Presbyterian Review Vol. XIV No. 4 (January 1862).
White, Ellen G. Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948.
Aamodt, Terrie Dopp ed. Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014.
Bicknell, John. America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election that Transformed the Nation. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2015.
Johnson, Paul E. A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1978.
Goen, C. C. Broken Churches, Broken Nation: Denomination Schisms and the Coming of the Civil War. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985.
Knight, George. A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1999.
__________. A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2000.
__________. Ellen White’s World: A Fascinating Look at the Times in Which She Lived. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1998.
__________. Joseph Bates: The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2004.
__________. Meeting Ellen White: A Fresh Look at Her Life, Writings, and Major Themes. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.
__________. Organizing to Beat the Devil: The Development of Adventist Church Structure. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001.
__________. Reading Ellen White: How to Understand and Apply Her Writings. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1997.
__________. William Miller and the Rise of Adventism. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2010.
Kuykendall, John W. Southern Enterprize: The Work of National Evangelical Societies in the Antebellum South. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982.
Land, Gary. Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2014.
Noorbergen, Rene. Ellen G White: Prophet of Destiny. Brushton, NY: TEACH Services, Inc., 2001.
Rable, George C. God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A religious History of the American Civil War. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Ricchiuti, Paul B. Ellen: Trial and Triumph on the American Frontier. Dodge Center, MN: The Upward Way, 1988.
Rowe, David L. God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008.
Shattuck, Jr., Gardiner H. A Shield and Hiding Place: The Religious Live of the Civil War Armies. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987.
Stewart, James Brewer. Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1976.
Tuveson, Ernest Lee, Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America’s Millennial Role. Chicagi, Il: The University of Chicago Press, 1968.
Walters, Ronald G. American Reformers 1815-1860. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1978.
Wheeler, Gerald. James White: Innovator and Overcomer. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2003.
White, Arthur L. Ellen G. White: The Early Years. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1985.
__________. Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1985.
It has been a few days since my last post so I thought I’d catch everyone up with what has been going on since I last ruminated about working on my thesis.
So far I’ve read two good books as background for my thesis America 1844 by John Bicknell is an excellent read that provides a background for where my thesis starts – with the Millerite movement and the Great Disappointment of 1844. Bicknell does a great job outlining the struggles of westward migration and outlining the year leading up to the 1844 presidential election. For my purposes I found he did an outstanding job of covering William Miller, the Great Disappointment, and the genesis of what would evolve into the Adventism.
A Visitation of God by Sean A. Scott by contrast provides an overview of Northerners view of God in relation to the Civil War. Sadly, the book does contain a pet peeve of mine. In several places throughout the book Scott refers to the ROSECRANS family. General William S. Rosecrans led the Army of the Cumberland most notably at the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga. His brother Sylvester was a Catholic Bishop. Unfortunately, in the book their name has been changed to ROSENCRANS – including in the Index. A minor peeve perhaps, but one would think that an academic press like Oxford University Press would take more care in proofing their work.
I have also discovered a new website: TheHistoryReader.com. Connected to St. Martin’s Press, TheHistoryReader.com provides articles and author interviews that span a wide variety of historical topics. Check them out if you please!
If you are Twitter follower you might have seen my tweet on Tuesday, “Working title: Everything is to be Shaken that can be Shaken: Slavery, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Civil War….not sure, still thinking”. As I am now winding down my second Masters degree it is time to write a thesis and this is the topic I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. The collection of books you see in the picture above is just a little bit of background material related either religion and the Civil War, or Adventist founders/Adventist movement. (And yes, you’ll note that I use the Dewey Decimal system to keep track of books that have made it into my permanent library – by the end of this project they will all probably be so marked.)
Some years ago I was interviewed for the documentary WAR IN HEAVEN, WAR ON EARTH: The Birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church During the American Civil War which I blogged about on USHistoryfiles here. It was an excellent experience and I’ve long thought of doing a written study of the intersection of the church, slavery, and the war. This promises to be an interesting project and I am curious to see where this leads as these types of things often don’t end up where you think that they will.
A few weeks ago I posted the above picture to my Facebook account. The final paper for my Colonial History class is a type of writing known as the historiographic essay. Simply put, the essay is a “history of histories” where one examines how historians have written about a particular topic. In this case (as if you couldn’t tell from the picture) we are looking at the Seven Years’ War in America commonly known in the U.S. as the French and Indian War. Overall we are to have 30 sources for our essay and pictured are the books I will be using. Below is the list of books organized into an annotated bibliography which is simply a bibliography with my notes / comments about each book.
Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.
Anderson’s book emphasizes the Seven Years’ War / French and Indian War as “decisive” in American history. He argues that changes brought about within the British Empire led directly to the American Revolution. Over 700 pages, Anderson takes the book beyond the war’s traditional end in 1763. Rather, he follows events in the colonies up to 1766, concluding the book with the repeal of the Stamp Act. He is a professor of History at the University of Colorado and has written or edited several books and articles on the Seven Years’ War.
__________. The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War. New York: Viking, 2005. Also by Anderson, this book was written as a companion to the PBS documentary of the same name. Not as large as Crucible, this book of Anderson’s also takes the view that the French and Indian war was instrumental in setting up the American Revolution. As Anderson notes in the Bibliographic note, many of the secondary sources are shared between the two books.
__________. “Why Did Colonial New Englanders Make Bad Soldiers? Contractual Principles and Military Conduct during the Seven Year’s War.” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 3 (July 1981): 395-417. Written when Anderson was still a doctoral candidate, this paper examines the importance of “contractual principles” in combating “unwarranted pretension of superiors”. Anderson agues that this is reflective of how colonists felt toward authority, especially the authority of the crown. This eventually led to the British believing that Americans would not make good soldiers while putting American colonists under arms giving them military experience but also exposing them to imperial authority.
Borneman, Walter. The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America. New York: HarperCollins, 2006. Sharing the general theme that the French and Indian war set up the American Revolution in this book, Borneman, though he has a background in History (a BA and MA) is not an academic. This shows in the writing that has a more popular feel to it. Borneman highlights many of the personalities of the war including William Pitt, George Washington, Edward Braddock, and somewhat of a concentration on Robert Rogers. The first chapter does a fair job of summing up the conflicts leading up to the Seven Years’ War.
Breecher, Frank W. Losing a Continent: France’s North American Policy, 1753-1763. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998. One of the few works to examine the French side of the Seven Years’ War, in Losing a Continent, Breecher examines both France and its colony. Chapter 3 examines Bourbon France on the eve of war, with the military analysis consisting of chapters 8-11. Breecher too seems to see the war as a prelude to the American Revolution. The difference in this book is that the war is that Breecher’s conclusions focus not just on the future of the British colonies in North America, but he includes the future of France as well. Breecher is a former member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service and has also written Securing American Independence: John Jay and the French Alliance and Negotiating the Louisiana Purchase: Robert Livingston’s Mission to France, 1801-1804.
Brumwell, Stephen. White Devil: A True Story of War, Savagery, and Vengeance in Colonial America. Boston: Da Capo Press, 2004. White Devil focuses solely on one event of the French and Indian War, the slaughter of an Abenaki village by Major Robert Rogers and his crew. One of several books published during the 250th anniversary of the war, White Devil does include Native American as active players in the story. It is not a grand sweeping political history of the war, and no major arguments are presented. White Devil, however, does help to paint a snapshot of the Indian experience during the war. Brumwell is an independent historian and also wrote Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763.
__________. Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Stephen Brumwell’s Redcoats evolved from his doctoral dissertation done at the University of Leeds. In it, he challenges the stereotypes that have evolved in describing the British regulars who fought in the Seven Years’ War. British regulars, Brumwell argues, have been seen as “fops and fools” and while he admits a “core of truth” overall the truth is much more complex. The second major theme in Redcoats is that due to the different conditions between Europe and North America, the “American Army” evolved into an army vastly different than other British or European armies.
Clary, David A. George Washington’s First War: His Early Military Adventures. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. George Washington is the primary focus of Clary’s book. While Clary does see the importance of the Seven Years War as the first real world war, his focus is on how Washington’s experiences sets him on the road to become a Founding Father. For Cleary, understand Washington’s experiences is key to understanding the Washington who would be commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
Clayton, T. R. “The Duke of Newcastle, the Earl of Halifax, and the American Origins of the Seven Years’ War.” The Historical Journal, Vol. 24, No. 3 (September 1981): 571-603. Clayton’s article argues that the American origins of the Seven Years’ War, “have been surprisingly neglected by historians” and that much of the reason that the Ohio valley was important was because of Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie. Clayton then goes on to argue that British policy was not as a result of what happened in America but what happened in London and Europe. Laying the blame for the war at the feet of French aggressiveness in the colonies and its perception in London, Clayton in may ways sees the war as an extension or, “simply a continuation of the last Anglo-French war”.
Crocker, Thomas E. Braddock’s March: How the Man Sent to Seize a Continent Changed American History. Yardley, Pennsylvania: Westholme Publishing, 2009. Many historians see the Seven Years War as a “decisive” point in American History. In Braddock’s March, Crocker views the Braddock campaign as a “decisive” point. For Crocker this takes two sides, military and political. He argues that the “unknowns” assembled by Braddock would, years later, form the nucleus out of which the Continental Army would be formed. It would also be the first use of rifles and shatter the myth of invincible British Regulars. On the political side there is the “burden-sharing” between the colonies and England which would eventually lead to cost sharing (taxation) and revolution.
Fowler Jr., William M. Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. New York: Walker & Company, 2005. In Empires, Fowler does not see the Seven Years War as a prelude to the American Revolution. In the prologue he claims that ideologically the split between Britain and her colonies had happened years before and that by using the Revolution as a lens to view the War, historians have “masked” its true importance. For Fowler, the Seven Years War was really a world shaping event. It defined the limits of the French and British empires around the world, and in North America it was the beginning of the decline of the natives of the United States and Canada as the natives could no longer play the British and the French off against one another.
Hofstra, Warren R., ed. Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years’ War in North America. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Cultures in Conflict is a collection of essays looking at several different aspects of the war. Fred Anderson once again argues that the Seven Years’ War is a significant turning point in American History leading to the Revolution. Paul Mapp looks at Britain’s evolution from a mercantile empire to a territorial one and sees the Seven Years War as an expression of this change. Jonathan R Dull argues that the War was not just another in the long history of conflicts between Britain and France but an expression of the difference between the political cultures between the two countries.Timothy J Shannon and Eric Hinderaker look at the Iroquois and Ohio Indian experiences respectively in their two essays. Woody Holton argues that the War could have made the Revolution less likely and explores reasons why that didn’t happen. And two Canadian scholars, Catherine Desbarats and Allan Greer, examine the War from the Canadian perspective.
Parkman, Francis. Montcalm and Wolfe: The French and Indian War. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1901. Reprint, Boston: Da Capo Press, 2001. Part of a seven part work entitled France and England in North America, Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe really gives birth to histories of the Seven Years War in North America. Written over one hundred years ago, it is a reflection of the time period in which it was written. The prose can be dramatic and Parkman can ignore evidence not within his viewpoint. The idea of a woodland struggle and the noble savage has been ingrained in the American imagination since James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans a that romantic style is present here. Parkman is also writing at a time before the specialization and professionalization of the history profession so one must read his work with that in mind. However, if one is going to examine the history of the conflict, one needs to begin at the start.
Titus, James. The Old Dominion at War: Society, Politics, and Warfare in Late Colonial Virginia. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1991. The Old Dominion at War is an examination of the Virginia colony and where its military experience fits in with the “bigger picture” socially and politically. Titus argues that while the war may have been involved in the beginning of the war, the attitudes of the Virginia ruling elite and attempts to draft the “lesser sorts” into the armies, combined with the resistance of the “lesser sorts” led to a reordering of Virginia society which made the Revolution much more likely.
The question of my area of specialization in relation to historical study comes up fairly frequently. This especially happens when people find out about my educational background or that I am an adjunct professor. My challenge is that I have such a wide variety of interests my patterns of study go something like this:
As an undergraduate I was interested in the American Civil War and read almost exclusively in that field. I did have access to Dr. William Gillette’s collection of letters from New Jersey troops and even did a paper using those sources. On the other hand for an internship I also worked with Monmouth Battlefield State Park looking for Washington’s camp on the night before the battle – so I got a little Revolutionary War experience too.
At MTSU I started out in Public History but quickly switched to traditional history. I discovered an interest in Cherokee History, Tennessee History, and the Age of Jackson. After leaving MTSU I went to work at two Civil War battlefields which rekindled my interest in the Civil War.
Working for the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church fostered an interest in Christian History specifically Adventist but also Millerism and other religious movements. The time period (1840s-1860s) also rekindled my interest in the Jacksonian and Civil War eras though with a different slant. I also created three courses: Age of Jackson, History of the South, From Colony to Nation which added to my studies.
Now working for Colonial Williamsburg I find myself reading/studying in the Colonial-Revolutionary periods in American History. Guess it is a good thing my wife doesn’t mind me collecting all these books!