The University of North Carolina Press, in partnership with the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State, launched The Journal of the Civil War Era in March 2011. Former Richards Center Director founding editor of the journal. In 2016, Blair passed the editorial reins to Judith Giesberg of Villanova University, and in 2020 Kate Masur, Northwestern University, and Gregory Downs, University of California, Davis, succeeded Giesberg as editors.
The journal offers a unique space where scholars across the many subfields that animate nineteenth-century history can enter into conversation with each other. Besides offering fresh perspectives on the military, political, and legal history of the era, the journal covers such disparate subjects as slavery and antislavery, labor and capitalism, popular culture and intellectual history, expansionism and empire, and African American and women’s history. Moreover, The Journal of the Civil War Era is a venue where scholars engaged in studying race, gender, and transnational topics, and the full range of theoretical perspectives that animate historical practice, can find a home.
Catherine A. Jones has won the $1,000 George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era in 2020. The article, “The Trials of Mary Booth and the Post-Civil War Incarceration of African American Children,” appeared in the September 2020 issue.
Drawn from a fragmentary archival record, Jones’s essay examines the wrongful 1882 murder conviction of Mary Booth, a fourteen-year-old African American girl in Virginia. It shows how African American children were transformed into carceral subjects following emancipation and how, in response, Black Virginians fought for greater access to the justice system and for juvenile justice reform.
In the words of the prize committee, “Professor Catherine A. Jones overcame the fragmentary documentary record to write a compelling narrative about a black girl caught in an unpredictable, often brutal, legal system. The author handled the complex legal maneuvers with skill, without ever losing sight of the human dimension of the story. The essay gives us new ways to think about freedom and unfreedom in the postwar South, and it illuminates new aspects of the history of childhood, African Americans, and women.”
Dr. Jones is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Intimate Reconstructions: Children in Postemancipation Virginia (2015). She is currently working on a book about the history of child incarceration in the post–Civil War era. The prize committee consisted of Sarah E. Gardner, Mercer University; Joan E. Cashin, The Ohio State University; and Brandon R. Byrd, Vanderbilt University.
Awarded annually, the Richards Prize celebrates the generosity of George and Ann Richards, who were instrumental in the growth of the Richards Civil War Era Center and in the founding of The Journal of the Civil War Era.
Awarded annually, the Richards Prize recognizes the generosity of George and Ann Richards, who have been instrumental in the growth of the Richards Civil War Era Center and in the founding of The Journal of the Civil War Era.
Previous Richards Prize winners:
2019: Caroline E. Janney, University of Virginia, “Free to Go Where We Liked: the Army of Northern Virginia After Appomattox”
2018: Joshua A. Lynn, Eastern Kentucky University, “A Manly Doughface: James Buchanan and the Sectional Politics of Gender”
2017: Sarah L. H. Gronningsater, University of Pennsylvania, “‘On Behalf of His Race and the Lemmon Slaves’: Louis Napoleon, Northern Black Legal Culture, and the Politics of Sectional Crisis”
2016: Mark E. Neely, Jr., emeritus MCabe Greer Professor in the American Civil War Era, Penn State University, “Guerrilla Warfare, Slavery, and the Hopes of the Confederacy”
2015: Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood, Community Liaison Office Coordinator for the U.S. embassy in Lilongwe, Malawi, “‘We Do Not Care Particularly About the Skating Rinks’: African American Challenges to Racial Discrimination in Places of Public Amusement in Nineteenth-Century Boston, Massachusetts”
2014: Ted Maris-Wolf, The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “‘Of Blood and Treasure’: Recaptive Africans and the Politics of Slave Trade Suppression”
2013: Thavolia Glymph, Duke University, “Rose’s War and the Gendered Politics of Slave Insurgency in the Civil War”
2012: Carole Emberton, University at Buffalo (SUNY), “‘Only Murder Makes Mens’: Reconsidering the Black Military Experience”
2011: Anne Marshall, Mississippi State University, “The 1906 Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Politics of Race and Memory in Early-Twentieth-Century Kentucky”
Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award
Dr. Robert D. Colby has won the inaugural Tony Kaye Memorial Essay Award for his essay, “‘Negroes Will Bear Fabulous Prices:’ The Economics of Wartime Slave Commerce and Visions of the Confederate Future.” The $1,000 award is sponsored by the Society of Civil War Historians, UNC Press, and the Journal of the Civil War Era.
Colby’s deeply researched essay shows how some citizens demonstrated their faith in the Confederacy’s future by continuing to purchase enslaved people throughout the war. In the words of the prize committee, “this research makes a significant contribution to the debate concerning the economic viability (or at least the perceived value) of the enslavement of African Americans as the United States entered the late decades of the 19th century. It furthers the already strong but seemingly continually challenged argument that slavery was the major cause of the Civil War and raises questions about the degree of impact that Civil War military battles and campaigns might, or might not have had on civilians.” Its treatment of “southern heads of families’ focus on perpetuating white generational wealth literally at the expense of Black people’s lives is a critical contribution to any discussions today concerning racial social justice, reparations, and Confederate heritage.”
Dr. Colby is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina in 2019.
The Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award honors Tony Kaye (1962-2017), an innovative scholar of slavery at Penn State University and the National Humanities Center. Tony was an active member of the Society of Civil War Historians and one of the founding editors of the Journal of the Civil War Era. Tony’s contributions helped to make the journal an immediate success, engaging scholars across a wide variety of fields. The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, the Journal of the Civil War Era, and the Society of Civil War Historians created this award to honor Tony’s passion for putting scholars in disparate fields in conversation with each other to enrich our understanding of the past.
Call for Papers: Biennial Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award
The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Journal of the Civil War Era invite submissions from early career scholars (doctoral candidates at the writing stage and PhDs not more than three years removed from having earned their degree) for the Anthony E. Kaye Memorial Essay Award. Essays on any topic concerning the history of the Civil War era, broadly defined, will be considered. This is a biennial award. Submissions are accepted in even-numbered years, and the award is presented in odd-numbered years at the biennial conference of the Society of Civil War Historians (see submission information below).
The winning submission will earn the author a $1,000 award and an additional $500 travel stipend to the Society of Civil War Historians biennial conference where the award will be presented. Authors must be willing to attend the conference in order to be eligible for the award. The winning essay will be eligible for publication in the December issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era in odd-numbered years.
Submission information: The submission deadline is June 1 in even-numbered years. Submissions should be sent to the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center (RichardsCenter@psu.edu) with the subject line Anthony Kaye Memorial Essay Award. Submissions should be double-spaced and not exceed 10,000 to 11,000 words, including notes. The award committee prefers submissions written according to The Chicago Manual of Style. The winning essay will be selected by a three-person panel chosen by the JCWE editor.
One of the ten best new periodicals of 2011
The Library Journal, the largest and most respected trade publication for the library profession, selected The Journal of the Civil War Era as one of the ten best new periodicals of 2011. It praised the journal for its “meticulous” and “accessible” research articles and its “breadth of topics.” The journal earned special consideration for publishing articles that are aimed at scholars while also appealing to general readers. The Library Journal has been publishing since 1876, when it was established by Melville Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal cataloging system.
Official journal of the Society of Civil War Historians
The Journal of the Civil War Era has been adopted by the Society of Civil War Historians, providing a substantial readership base that provides authors with significant visibility. Society members automatically receive a subscription to the journal.
Call for Papers
The journal solicits manuscripts on an ongoing basis and particularly seeks manuscripts that incorporate a broad view of the Civil War era. Besides offering fresh perspectives on military, political, and legal history of the era, articles, essays, and reviews attend to such topics as slavery and antislavery, labor and capitalism, popular culture and intellectual history, expansionism and empire, as well as Native American, African American, and women’s history. The journal also serves as a venue for scholars engaged in the study of race, gender, and transnational issues in the 19th century, as well as the full range of theoretical perspectives that animate historical practice.
The journal accepts manuscripts through the online platform, Submittable. All material should be double spaced and not exceed 11,000 words, including notes. Queries concerning book reviews should go to Rachel Shelden at email@example.com. The editorial home for the journal is the Richards Civil War Era Center, The Pennsylvania State University, 108 Weaver Building, University Park, Pa. 16802. For subscriptions and advertising, please contact Suzi Waters at The University of North Carolina Press at firstname.lastname@example.org.