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Matthew R. Isham

Matthew R. Isham

Managing Director, Richards Civil War Era Center

Managing Editor, The Journal of the Civil War Era

Office Address: 114B Pond Laboratory
Mailing Address: 108 Weaver Building

University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-6702


  1. Colby College, B.A. English Literature, 1993
  2. University of Maine, M.A. American History, 1999
  3. The Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. U.S. History, 2010


I am a proud native of northern New England (just ask my colleagues) who migrated into the field of American History after earning a B.A. in English Literature.As a political historian, I study the organizational structure of antebellum political parties. My research focuses on the ways in which partisan newspapers and their editors essentially defined their parties' organizational form and practices. I am particularly interested in the ways that partisan editors managed the parties' skeletal organizational structure and orchestrated their electoral campaigns through both legitimate and illegitimate means, from handling party correspondence and distributing campaign literature to buying votes and mobilizing gangs of thugs to "work" the polls on election days.