George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions


Do you have an interest in preserving U.S. history and sharing it with the public? Do you
want to put your knowledge of history and your research skills to good use this summer?
The Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State invites applications from qualified Penn
State undergraduate students for two paid positions at Harpers Ferry National Historical
Park, and three paid positions at the National Park Service’s Gettysburg National Military
Park during the summer of 2024. The internships provide students with hands-on public
history and archeology work experience. These noncredit internships come with a $3,500
stipend and free housing at the national parks.

Gettysburg National Military Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Deadline: Monday, January 15, 2024

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is looking for:

Interpretation intern: Are you interested in presenting engaging history content to the
public? This in-person internship is an opportunity to work in Public History with National
Park Service rangers in the Harpers Ferry’s Interpretation, Education, and
Partnerships team. This intern will develop public presentations and walking tours on a
variety of topics, including but not limited to, the United States Armory and industry at
Harpers Ferry, American slavery, John Brown’s raid, the Civil War, Storer College (one of
the nation’s first HBCUs), and the genesis of the Civil Rights movement including the
Niagara Movement and the National League of Colored Women. They will have additional
opportunities to learn and present third-person Living History programs such as historic
weapons demonstrations. The staff will provide each intern time to research and develop
their programs. 

This intern will work in the park’s Visitor Contact Station, greeting and orienting visitors to
the park. They may also staff exhibits in the Historic Harpers Ferry Lower Town such as
the John Brown Museum. Interns will be expected to hike the park’s trails to familiarize
themselves with the routes and difficulties, and to rove high-trafficked outdoor areas of the
park such as the Lower Town sidewalks to assist visitors. They will also experience digital
interpretation as a part of the Park’s social media team for the summer. 

Housing will be provided in the Historic Harpers Ferry Lower Town, with internet access.
Interns will work a full-time, forty-hour per week schedule. Summer temperatures in
Harpers Ferry often exceed ninety degrees with high humidity. Park hiking trails range from
short, easy walks, to strenuous hikes of six to eight miles. Interns may be asked to lift
objects up to thirty pounds, such as plastic tables or boxes of park brochures. 

Gettysburg National Military Park is looking for interns in:

Interpretive operations: Are you interested in education, public facing history, and
storytelling? As interpretive operations intern you will do research, design historical
presentations for the public, and put on programs for park visitors (particularly
families) that interpret the history of the town, the battle, and their broader historical
significance, highlighting the experiences of civilians and soldiers alike. The intern
will also work in Visitor Services, ensuring that visitors to Gettysburg make the most
of their time at the park. Ideal applicants are those enthusiastic and engaging in
public-facing roles and interested in working with families and children.

Museum services: Are you interested in experience in museum and archival
studies? As museum services intern you will learn the fundamental skills of archival
and museum management. Interns help to install museum exhibits and to inventory
and conserve the park’s vast historical collections. These collections include diaries
and letter collections from soldiers and civilians, as well as material objects, such
as flags, banners, uniforms, weapons, paintings, and prints, among other items.

Cultural resource history: Are you interested in conducting historical research
about Gettysburg, or the African American families residing in the area? As cultural
resource history intern you will work with the physical resources of Gettysburg
National Military Park. Since 1999, Gettysburg was subject to an aggressive
treatment and management program to rehabilitate the battlefield landscape. The
intern will contribute to historical research in support of this program. The research
will involve primary and secondary sources in local archives. Document examples
include cultural landscape reports, historic structure reports, and background
material for compliance documentation. The selected intern will have the
opportunity to participate in applied history projects and discussions with other
park staff— including the management team, regional office staff, as well as staff
from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Some fieldwork on the
battlefield may be required.  

Archeological intern: Are you interested in participating in archeological
fieldwork? As archeological intern you will assist the park archeologist in the
excavation and identification of archeological sites within the park. The intern will
also assist in the care and curation of archeological collections and the
development and presentation of archeological findings through public programs
and written reports. The intern will develop practical skills through planning and
conducting archeological research—including field methods, collections
management, satellite mapping, archeological documentation, and archival
research. The work will provide real-world experiences alongside practicing
professionals. Interested candidates should be aware that fieldwork occurs
outdoors in various environmental conditions and summer temperature extremes.
Successful candidates must be able to bend, kneel, and lift at least twenty pounds.
Office work, including archival research and collections care and curation will be
sedentary in nature. The candidate should have a current driver’s license in good

Each year, Richards Center interns play a crucial role in the National Park Service’s mission
to preserve U.S. history and help visitors make sense of the nation’s past. If you would like
the opportunity to support this mission and gain valuable skills in historical interpretation,
communication, research, preservation, and public education, we encourage you to apply
by following the directions below.

Application process: Applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average at Penn
State University Park and have not graduated by the time of the internship. Applicants
must: 1) submit a one-page statement of interest detailing why they would like to work at
Gettysburg National Military Park and how they think the experience will further their
education. In this statement, applicants should also specify which internship(s) they are
most interested in. 2) Applicants must also provide a résumé, one letter of
recommendation from a faculty member (email is acceptable), and an unofficial transcript
(it is not necessary to provide a certified official Penn State transcript). Statements of
interest and transcripts must be received by Monday, January 15, 2024. Letters of
recommendation can follow.

Direct all application materials to Abena Boakyewa-Ansah, associate director of the
Richards Center, at

Funding is made possible through the generous support of Larry and Lynne Brown,
Matthew Isham, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


We are looking for TWO postdoctoral scholars in African American history and history of the Civil War era! Fellowships are for TWO years, and the start date is July 1, 2024. Postdocs have no teaching or administrative responsibilities and are an integral part of our scholarly community. 

Postdoctoral Scholar in African American history: We welcome applications from those with research interests spanning the origins of slavery through the civil rights movement. More info & to apply:–African-American-History_REQ_0000048808-1

Postdoctoral Scholar in the history of the Civil War era: We welcome applications from those with research interests spanning the pre-war period through Reconstruction, including slavery, abolition, and emancipation. More info & to apply:–Civil-War-Era_REQ_0000048810-1

More information on the Richards Center Postdoctoral Fellowships can be found here:

Hiring Graphics 1

CANCELLED – Noted historian Thavolia Glymph to deliver 2023 Brose Distinguished Lectures.

“Playing ‘Dixie’ in Egypt: A Transnational Transcript of Race, Nation, Empire and Citizenship” is the theme of the three lectures being delivered Oct. 19-21 by Thavolia Glymph, Peabody Family Distinguished Professor of History and professor of law at Duke University and a faculty research scholar at the Duke Population Research Institute, as part of the 2023 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series.

Glymph’s research and teaching explores the history of slavery and plantation economies, the U.S. Civil War, emancipation and Reconstruction. She is the author of the multiple award-winning book, “The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation” (University of North Carolina Press, 2020); and “Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household” (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which won the 2009 Philip Taft Book Prize and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize. She also co-edited two volumes of the prize-winning documentary series, “Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867,” and has written numerous articles and essays, including the award-winning article “Rose’s War and the Gendered Politics of Slave Insurgency in the Civil War,” which received the George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in the Journal of the Civil War Era in 2013.

Glymph is president-elect of the American Historical Association, holder of the 2023-24 Rogers Distinguished Fellowship in Nineteenth Century History at the Huntington Library, and past president of the Southern Historical Association. She is also an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer and an elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society and the Gettysburg Foundation Board of Directors. She has also been a historical consultant to several prominent national museums and historical centers and has also consulted on films such as “Harriet” and “Mercy Street.”

All three of Glymph’s lectures are a study of white Northern and Southern Civil War veterans who joined the Egyptian Army during the Reconstruction Era. Glymph examines the soldiers’ roles as mercenaries and military surveyors, doctors and engineers, but more importantly their participation in the transnational circulation of ideas about race and national belonging during this time. It places the story of why these men traveled to Egypt and what they hoped to accomplish in the context of the U.S. Reconstruction and the transnational dialogues taking place regarding racism, nationalism and imperialism at the time.

All three lectures, which are free and open to the public, will be held in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium on Penn State’s University Park campus. Titles and scheduled dates/times for each lecture are as follows:

  • “’I am not going into the wilds of Africa’: Race and Nation in the Imagination of U.S. Civil War Veterans in Egypt” – 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19
  • “Playing ‘Dixie’ in the Wilds of Africa” – 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20
  • “Egypt in the American Imaginary and the Making of an American Archive of Race and Nation” – 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21

The Brose Distinguished Lecture Series is offered by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center through an endowment created by Steven and Janice Brose. The series is co-sponsored by the University Libraries. For more information, contact the Richards Center at 814-863-0151 or visit the center’s website.

Shared from the Penn State, Liberal Arts Newswire.

Thavolia Glymph

The Journal of the Civil War Era is pleased to announce that Dr. Lindsey Peterson has been selected as the recipient of the Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award for 2023. Her winning essay is titled, “‘Homebuilders’: Gender and Union Commemoration in the Trans-Mississippi West.” The prize selection committee, consisting of Dr. Beth Lew-Williams (chair), Dr. Paul Barba, and Dr. Antwain Hunter, wrote: “In this fascinating essay, Peterson explores the history of Civil War commemoration in the trans-Mississippi West, drawing out powerful connections between memorialization of war and the ongoing violence of settler colonialism. In addition to examining white Union veterans and their families, she spotlights the complicated role of Native peoples in this history, interrogating their incorporation into the pageantry (with or without their consent) in highly gendered, racialized, and exploitative ways. The result is an exemplary study of the Civil War’s legacies in the West.”

Dr. Peterson is the Digital Humanities Librarian at the University of South Dakota. She earned her PhD in December 2022 from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she studied in the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society. She also is the co-director of the Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi project (CWRGM), which has digitized and edited over 22,000 documents written to Mississippi Governors during the American Civil War and Reconstruction (late-1859–1878).

Congratulations Lindsey and thanks to the awards committee for their service!


The Richards Center is excited to share that Brooke Thomas and Nicole Viglini will join us as postdoctoral scholars in the 2023-2024 academic year. Brooke will be the Richards Center/Africana Research Center Postdoctoral Scholar in African American History and Nicole will be the Richards Center Postdoctoral Scholar in the Civil War Era. We are delighted to welcome both of these outstanding scholars to Penn State and the Richards Center, and look forward to seeing them continue their important work.

Brooke Alexis Thomas received her Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and specializes in twentieth century African American History, focusing on Black women’s history, African American organizing, and African American formal politics. Her dissertation “To Capture a Vision Fair:” Black Sorority Women and the Shift From Respectability Politics to Public Policy, 1935-1975,” explores the ways in which members of Black colligate sororities strategically pivoted their ideologies and programming, beginning in the 1930s, to build upon legacies of uplift and respectability and move beyond them to a combination that envisioned a greater partnership with the federal government to propel the long Black freedom struggle. This project explores the ways in which Black sorority women began to think more broadly about public policy and the ways the state could further support the needs of African Americans, particularly around issues of employment, economic justice, health, and full political inclusion and representation as a part of a persistent and consistent effort to shape United States politics and policies, make the state accountable to the needs of Black people, and expand the professional opportunities for a new cadre of Black women political leaders. Brooke received her BA in history from Spelman College and her MA in history from the University of South Alabama. Her work has been supported by The Institute for Citizens and Scholars, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and the Mellon Foundation.

Nicole Viglini will receive her PhD in history from University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. histories of slavery, capitalism, gender, and legal cultural histories. Nicole’s dissertation, “‘She is a very smart woman and a great trader’: Enslaved and Free Women’s Economic Strategies and Gendered Geographies of Credit in the Nineteenth-Century South,” foregrounds enslaved and free Black women’s skills, knowledge, and survival strategies, and shows how antebellum southern women claimed property and credit to define their belonging within their communities. Her project centers the testimony of propertied Black women who filed claims to compensation before the Southern Claims Commission (SCC), a federal organization created in 1871 to reimburse unionist southerners in seceded states for property confiscated by the U.S. Army during the Civil War. At the Richards Center, Nicole will focus on turning her dissertation into a book manuscript and will begin a digital project to bring visibility to the lives and livelihoods of the Black women who filed SCC claims. Nicole’s work has been supported by several institutions, including the American Historical Association, the Wilson Library at UNC Chapel Hill, and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University.

Thomas-Viglini 2

The Penn State Department of History and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center are seeking applications for an Assistant or Associate Research Professor to be the center’s next Associate Director.

The position is non-tenure-track, limited-term, and full-time in the Department of History. The first term is three years, but there is high possibility for renewal. The start date is July 1st and materials are due May 10th. Qualified applicants will have a PhD in history and focus on the long Civil War Era (roughly 1830s-1890s). Candidates whose research aligns with our interests in slavery, abolition, and emancipation are especially welcome.

Click here to read the full job description and to apply

As we start this job search, we also want to offer huge congratulations to current Associate Director Emma Teitelman, who has accepted a position at McGill University. We thank her for everything she has done for the center and wish her the best as she starts this next chapter!


The newest addition to the University of North Carolina Press Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era book series is Citizens of a Stolen Land: A Ho-Chunk History of the Nineteenth-Century United States by Stephen Kantrowitz.

The book is a concise history of Ho-Chunk sovereignty and citizenship in the Civil War era. UNC Press writes that it “[offers] a bracing new perspective on citizenship’s perils and promises, the way the broader nineteenth-century conflict between ‘free soil’ and slaveholding expansion shaped Indigenous life, and the continuing impact of Native people’s struggles and claims on U.S. politics and society.”

Citizens of a Stolen Land joins the series of books based on public lectures by distinguished scholars, delivered over a three-day period each fall, as well as edited volumes developed from public symposia. The Richards Civil War Era Center was established in 1998 and originally supported a single lecture by a distinguished visitor. The Broses added to the endowment in 2001, allowing a distinguished scholar to deliver three lectures. The Broses’ generosity also enabled the Richards Center to enter an agreement with the University of North Carolina Press, which publishes the lectures as part of a series of scholarly monographs with the Richard Center Director serving as series editor.

Read more about Citizens of a Stolen Land: A Ho-Chunk History of the Nineteenth-Century United States

Read more about the Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era

Citizens of Stolen Land

Jonathan W. White, an undergraduate alumnus of the Penn State Department of History and one of the first participants in the Richards Center summer internship program, was named a joint recipient of the 2023 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for his recently published book A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).

The Lincoln Prize is annually awarded to the “finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or the American Civil War era.” Of A House Built By Slaves, the prize jury wrote, “White captures the symbolic importance of social equality as an issue to be addressed during—and after—the restoration of the Union and eradication of slavery.” White shares the 2023 prize with Jon Meacham for his biography of Abraham Lincoln entitled And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (Random House).

White is Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University. He is the author or editor of thirteen books, including Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (LSU Press), which was a finalist for the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, a “best book” in the Civil War Monitor, and the winner of the Abraham Lincoln Institute’s 2015 book prize. He has published more than one hundred articles, essays, and reviews. He serves as vice chair of the Lincoln Forum and on the boards of the Abraham Lincoln Association and the Abraham Lincoln Institute, as well as on the Ford’s Theatre Advisory Council and the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Scholarly Advisory Board.

Learn more about A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House

Learn more about the 2023 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

White - A House Built by Slaves

Through March 1st, the Richards Center is accepting applications for the 2023 Catto-LeCount Fellows Program for Equity and Inclusion. The program exposes advanced undergraduates and post-undergraduates to doctoral study in the discipline of history. During this three day virtual program from Thursday, March 23rd to Saturday, March 25th, Pennsylvania State University faculty and staff demystify the graduate school admissions process and educate participants about the academic profession. All expenses including course materials are provided by the university. Students also will receive a $250 stipend upon completion of the program. Penn State’s Richards Center, the Department of History, the Latina/o Studies program, and the Department of African American Studies sponsor the program in a collaborative effort to attract and enroll students from underrepresented communities.

Read more about the Catto-LeCount Program

Apply to the Catto-LeCount Program

RCWEC 2023 Catto-LeCount Fellows Program Brochure

Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman, Paterno Family Professor of American Literature, professor of African American studies and history, co-director of the Center for Digital Black Research, founding faculty directory of the Colored Conventions Project, and faculty affiliate of the Richards Center at Penn State, has been named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Dr. Foreman is an award-winning teacher and scholar of African American studies and nineteenth-century literary history and culture. She is known for her collaborative work including an edition of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig as well as dance/poetry performance pieces on Wilson, David Drake or “Dave the Potter,” the Colored Conventions, and Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

The group of 2022 fellows that Dr. Foreman joins, according to MacArthur Fellows Director Marlies Carruth, “…are architects of new modes of activism, artistic practice, and citizen science. They are excavators uncovering what has been overlooked, undervalued, or poorly understood. They are archivists reminding us of what should survive. Their work extends from the molecular level to the land beneath our feet to Earth’s orbital environment—offering new ways for us to understand the communities, systems, and social forces that shape our lives around the globe.”

Huge congratulations to Dr. Foreman for this amazing accomplishment!

Read more about the 2022 MacArthur Fellows