Conference Archives

2007 Abstracts


Scott Lambert, Oklahoma State University, “Home court Advantage? Abraham Lincoln and Coverage of the Emancipation Proclamation by His Hometown Press”

Home court advantage examines the relationship between the partisan press and Abraham Lincoln as it pertained to Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield, Illinois. The paper concentrates its focus on the Springfield Register and the Springfield Journal as well as the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Times as its primary research tools. The paper examines these newspapers’ reaction to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as well as their reaction to the Proclamation’s becoming law. It examines whether the Proclamation played a role in the fall elections of that year and how the two newspapers reacted to that. The paper finds that although Lincoln was roundly criticized by the Democratic organ in Springfield, the newspaper framed some of its criticism toward the Republican Party and away from Springfield, while the Republican organ shied away from the slavery issue altogether.


Lonnie Burnett, University of Mobile, “A Confederate Journalist in Europe: The Propaganda Mission of Henry Hotze”

In a public career that spanned only one decade, Henry Hotze (1834-1887) translated a major work on scientific racialism, served in various Mobile, Alabama municipal positions, was appointed secretary to a foreign diplomatic legation, worked as an associate editor for a major Southern newspaper, spent a brief time in the Confederate army, was appointed to an important Confederate diplomatic post, and edited a London-based newspaper.  Hotze, while only actually in the South for a few years, became one of its most enthusiastic supporters.  Although sometimes forgotten by students of Southern history, Hotze was recognized by many as the most successful propaganda agent of the Confederacy.  This paper is a shortened version of the introductory chapter of my book Henry Hotze, Confederate Propagandist (to be released by the University of Alabama Press in the spring of 2008).


In this presentation, I will initially document the early stages of Hotze’s career.  I will spend time examining the background of his “scientific racism” and how it molded his journalistic endeavors.  I will then turn to his brief service in the Confederate Army where he supplied a detailed journal to two newspapers.  The bulk of the paper will focus on his diplomatic mission to Great Britain.  While there, he started the Index, a pro-Confederate newspaper based in London.  Hotze used this medium as a propaganda sheet for Confederate causes such as diplomatic recognition, European intervention, and (increasingly as the loss of the war became apparent) racism.  One of the primary intents of this paper is to show how Hotze, as well as many of his journalistic colleagues, turned from being driven by their defense of slavery to a view of a socially stratified society based on racial inferiority.  I will conclude with the effects of men such as Hotze on the racial thinking of Europeans as well as Americans.


Debra van Tuyll, Augusta State University, “Beyond the Household Gate: Women War Correspondents in the Confederacy”

The Civil War transformed American society, particularly in the South where roles for both women and blacks expanded far beyond what they had been in the antebellum period. Mobilization for the war meant women had to step in and take up jobs formerly held by men, including jobs in journalism. This paper examines the work of one woman as a war correspondent for the Charleston Courier. The woman, cloaked by social prohibitions against women writing publicly, has remained anonymous, but her work stands as a testament to the expansion of women's roles, and voices, into the public forums created by the publication of newspapers. This woman, Joan, wrote for only a few months before her byline disappeared from the Charleston newspaper, but in those few months, she wrote about Confederate policies and suggested policies to improve their functioning, camp life of soldiers, and restrictions on movement and publishing in both the South and the North. She also proved herself to be an extreme Southern partisan, even more unyielding, perhaps, than the men who were fighting for Southern independence.

Claire Serant, St. John’s University, “Fortune’s New York”

From his office located at No. 4 Cedar St. in Manhattan, Timothy Thomas Fortune (1856-1928) stirred the political and social consciousness of African-American New Yorkers in the late 19th century with his fiery brand of journalism. Fortune, the son of former slaves, hailed from Florida, but cut his teeth in mainstream journalism as a printer and later scribe for the white-owned New York Sun.


The bespectacled editor spent most of his career pointing out the inequalities that African-Americans endured regarding employment, housing and jobs across the nation with the three newspapers he established the: New York Globe (1879 to 1884), New York Freeman (1884 -1887) and New York Age (1887-1960).


Fortune also challenged Afro-Americans (he helped coin the phrase) to lessen their dependence on political parties and make decisions for themselves to improve the race. Fortune welcomed African-American women such as anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells to write for him. However, few historians notice that Fortune’s periodicals also highlighted the mistreatment of other ethnic groups; Asians, Cubans and Italians. The latter were the targets of lynch mobs in the south. Through his writings, Fortune gave a voice to the voiceless, regardless of their color, with his pen.


Douglas Cupples, University of Memphis, “Shelby Foote, The South’s Homer, ‘A Personal Narrative’”

The Iliad is undeniably one of the greatest literary tomes in world history.  It’s significance to Western civilization is incalculable.  Arising from the Archaic period in Greek history, the Iliad dates from approximately 720 B.C.  Whether Homer existed or not is also a point of dispute.  The Trojan War was the prototype for epic literature.


In many ways it dose not matter whether Priam, Agamemnon, Helen, Achilles, and Hector actually lived or not.  The themes, passions, and human emotions described by Homer are as true today as they were over three thousand years ago, and that humanity partly accounts for the story’s universality and continued popularity.  For Southerners in 1863 the death of Lieutenant General “Stonewall” Jackson at Chancellorsville was analogous to the fall of the Trojan hero Hector at the hands of Achilles.   The Confederacy wept as Jackson’s remains were returned to Richmond like the dead Hector in order to lie in state. Homer’s description of the Trojan’s funeral rights could easily have been the model for Jackson’s.


Sometime in the early 1950s the artist (Foote) and the subject (The American Civil War) fused.  As Homer and the Iliad are one so are Foote and the American Civil War.  Is Shelby Foote the Homer of the South?  Only time will tell if Homer’s Iliad and Shelby Foote are read a thousand years from now at all.


Whether they are in the printed pages we know today or some as yet to be developed digital or electronic or magnetic format, future generations will read about Troy, Hector, Achilles, Helen and other Bronze Age Heroes.  They will read about Shiloh and The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote where they will read about Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses Grant and Sherman, and battles such as Shiloh and Gettysburg in the American Iliad.


Mary Cronin, New Mexico State University, “‘War is Thundering at Our Very Gates’: Texas Newspapers During the Civil War”

Texas editors’ editorial ordeals during the Civil War have garnered only scant attention from most historians. This study of fifteen newspapers examines the economic and editorial concerns Texas’s editors faced during the years 1861-1865. Specifically, this research asks two questions: First, did Texas’s geographic distance from most battles make it immune from the financial and editorial difficulties that other Southern editors faced? Or, did Texas’s largely frontier conditions make publishing a more financially precarious occupation for its editors during the war years? The research reveals that despite Texas’s location on the periphery of the Confederacy, the state’s editors and publishers endured the same economic and news gathering hardships as did their counterparts in other Confederate states. Furthermore, the state’s thinly-spread population and its lack of manufacturing left editors particularly unprepared for the financial hardships and lack of raw materials that occurred during wartime. 


Mary Cronin, New Mexico State University, “A Soldier of the 29th: The Civil War Correspondence of Texas Editor Charles DeMorse”

Charles DeMorse, the 46-year-old long-time editor of the Clarksville Standard  in Northeastern Texas is largely forgotten today for his Civil War correspondence, yet from 1862-65, DeMorse’s accounts of battles fought in Indian Territory, Louisiana, and Missouri published in his newspaper drew avid readers. Not only were the battles fought relatively close to home, but many Texans, frightened by the possibility of a Federal invasion of their state through Indian Territory, sought out news from that region. DeMorse’s lengthy, multi-topic letters are valuable for historians today because they demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of Civil War correspondence. Although his accounts were written in a straightforward, matter-of-fact style, largely devoid of opinion, DeMorse also occasionally dipped into the patriotic rhetoric common to Confederate nationalists. Yet, his reports also offered a measure of objectivity and accuracy often lacking in the work of other correspondents of the time. He did not dip into the speculation common at the time, and the bulk of his information–including casualty figures--was essentially accurate. When DeMorse finally went to war, his loyalty toward the Confederate cause, his understanding of the morale-boosting role of the press, and perhaps his own self interest in how he wished his leadership to be perceived by his readers led him to make occasional editorial omissions in his reports, particularly his mistakes in battlefield leadership.


Michael Bernath, University of Miami, “‘Independent in Everything—Neutral in Nothing’:  Joseph Addison Turner, The Countryman, and the Cultivation of Confederate Nationalism

This paper examines the remarkable wartime career of Joseph Addison Turner and his weekly paper, The Countryman.  “Independent in Everything—Neutral in Nothing,” The Countryman was one of the most outspoken, eccentric, fiery, entertaining, and best edited publications to appear during the Confederacy’s short life.  Assembled and printed on Turner’s large plantation outside Eatonton, Georgia, The Countryman was launched in March 1862 and would live to survive the war.  Remarkably, it actually gained in strength and size as the conflict progressed despite the tremendous logistical obstacles that stood in the way.  More significant than The Countryman’s success, however, was its purpose.  Turner was an ardent southern nationalist and his paper was dedicated to advancing the cause of Confederate independence in all forms – particularly its intellectual independence.  Cut off from the North and thus freed from competition with northern publishers, Turner was determined to help end the South’s longtime addiction to northern print culture and establish an independent, self-sufficient, and purely southern native literature.  So long as the South remained intellectually and culturally “enslaved” to the North, it could never be truly free, regardless of the outcome on the battlefield.  A nation required its own literature, one capable of expressing its unique character, and Turner’s paper was intended to be a vehicle for this emerging Confederate national literature.  The pages of The Countryman reveal an expansive vision of Confederate nationalism and a glimpse of what Confederates hoped their country would become.


Laura Lawfer, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, “‘Do Not Place Us Between Two Fires’: Connecticut Soldiers, Connecticut Newspapers, and the Gubernatorial Election of 1863”

This paper explores the two-party system in the North during the Civil War, focusing on the gubernatorial campaign in Connecticut in 1863, an election that pitted Republican William Buckingham against Peace Democrat Thomas Seymour. This campaign held special importance for the North because it was the first time that radical Peace Democrats—known as Copperheads—attempted to repudiate the Republican administration through a grand-scale election. This Copperhead dissent created an explosive political environment in Connecticut because Union soldiers did not view peace protest as lamentations from a “loyal opposition,” but, instead, they viewed it as pro-secessionist shrieks from treasonous northerners. Also, since the state constitution denied soldiers the right to vote, Connecticut’s soldiers wrote to local newspapers to demand all loyal citizens on the home front to cast their ballots for the Republicans.


This paper shows how Connecticut soldiers narrowed the acceptable means of political protest through a sustained correspondence campaign in local papers. Out of this political upheaval emerged substantial support for the war effort, largely because the soldiers redefined any form of dissent against the war as disloyalty. During the Civil War, Union soldiers viewed Copperhead dissent as treason, not as ordinary partisan squabbling. Connecticut soldiers led the way in altering the political current by condemning peace activism as anti-administration traitorism. This political activism gave the Republican Party the support it needed to carry the election in April 1863.


This paper utilizes soldiers’ letters and resolutions published in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s leading Republican newspaper, and correspondence published in the Hartford Times, a rival Democratic newspaper. These sources reveal how the two-party system in the North during the Civil War did not offer the Union a political advantage. On the contrary, it fostered a divided Union.


Hazel Dicken-Garcia, Jennifer Moore, and William Huntzicker; University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota, and St. Cloud State University; “Cartoonist Thomas Nast’s 1872 Crusade Against Candidate Horace Greeley"

Because of his anti-slavery stance, Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the New York Tribune, was lauded during his life and in subsequent histories of the United States. Some such histories that refer to the press mention no other journalist except Greeley.  Historian Allan Nevins wrote in American Press Opinion, "Greeley's role in this particular drama [slavery] which ended with the Emancipation proclamation was as great an any statesman save Lincoln."  The Harper's Weekly editor wrote that "Greeley at once became the banner-bearer of the new [anti-slavery Republican] party, the herald and harbinger of a free Union.  The daily issue of 'the Tribune' was a startling drum-beat and 'the weekly tribune' became an incessant broadside."


But when Greeley ran for U.S. president against Republican candidate U.S. Grant in 1872, Harper's Weekly political cartoonist Thomas Nast–who is associated with the political cartoon becoming an American journalistic institution-- portrayed him in perhaps the most vicious  political cartoon assault on one person in American history.   This paper presents the 1872 cartoon series in the context of  Greeley’s efforts to end slavery and his subsequent political campaign.


Jennifer Gross, Jacksonville State University, “Widows in Confederate Fiction: ‘The Lives of the Men Would Be Changed Comparatively Little’”

Southern authors before the Civil War, if they used them at all, most often portrayed widows and other manless women as mere objects the heroes and heroines pitied or scorned.  They were lessons of the pitfalls of life to be avoided.  By contrast, Southern authors after the war readily incorporated such women as the heroines of the story or as supporting characters who were examples of “true Southern womanhood.”  Certainly the increasing existence of widows and other manless women in Southern literature tells us something of their demographic presence in the region.  More importantly, however, authors’ portrayal of such women in sympathetic terms rather than as pitiable characters reveals the very real need for Southerners to come to terms with this growing demographic group. 


Before the war there was no “place” for manless women.  After the war they were an unavoidable reality in the region, and Southern authors contributed to the creation of a “place” for them in the postwar South.  The use of single or widowed females in fiction not only served to illustrate the very real situation for many women in the South, but also to provide Southern society as a whole with a means for accepting manless women, who by definition as manless, would ordinarily have been outside the boundaries of true Southern womanhood.  Whether such authors painted them as respectable women in constant distress when they were without a proper male protector or strong women fully capable of taking care of themselves and contributing to the community, no longer were such manless characters merely individuals to be pitied or scorned.  Now, they were presented as part of the pantheon of “true Southern women,” allowing Southerners to reassure themselves that they were still proper Southern men and women.  In the works of three authors, Augusta Jane Evans [Wilson], Grace King, and Thomas Nelson Page, postbellum Southern readers were presented with three different visions for the “place” of manless women.


Almost all of the works of these three authors contain implicit and/or explicit references to the proper place and role of a “manless woman” in the postwar South.  Their references both reflected contemporary ideas as well as contributed to Southerners’ identification of women rendered manless by the war as “true Southern women.”  Not surprisingly, there are differences in the tone of each of these author’s treatments of such women.  Augusta Evans, who fancied herself a “widow of the war” because she thought she had given up her chance for matrimony for the “Cause,” spoke primarily to the social usefulness of manless women even while she still glorified marriage as the proper place for women.  Grace King, on the other hand, regarded marriage from a much more critical point of view.  Having witnessed her mother’s symbolic widowhood – her father lived through the war but lost his claim to any role as protector and provider – she spoke more to the necessity for women to be strong when they were forced to be independent by circumstances.  For her, manlessness was not just acceptable: it was desirable if men could not live up to their role as proper patriarchs.  Thomas Nelson Page’s maleness undoubtedly affected his portrayal of gender roles in the postwar South.  For him, “proper” gender roles were essential.  Though his romantic tales employed manless women, they were always in need of the provision and protection of Southern men.  During the postwar period, Southern novelists had to deal with the changes the war had wrought in Southern society.  Evans, King, and Page each did so to varying degrees and with different social agendas.


Chris Harris, Middle Tennessee State University, “New Technologies in Printing at the End of the 19th Century”

From the times of the earliest presses until the close of the 19th Century printers sought a method of graphic reproduction for visuals that would render the qualities of the original.  For most of that time it was left to the woodcut artist to reproduce artwork into line engravings used as plates in the presses.  While the woodcut artist secured a place in the history of publication, it was to be short lived. With the advent of photography the artist engraver started to loose his place in the coming wave of mass communication. The problem was that hand engraving did not yield the desired qualities of faithful reproduction of a scene in full tonal range, without an intervening artists’ interpretation. 


For over a hundred years inventors from many countries tried to solve this problem of graphic reproduction. It fell to a photographer at one of New York's newspapers, in the beginning of the new wave of mass communication at the end of the 19th century, to solve this technical mystery for the media of the world.


James Lundberg, Yale University, “Odd, Honest, Independent: Horace Greeley’s Heroic Transcendental Journalism”

This paper examines New-York Tribune editor Horace Greeley’s intellectual debts to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Carlyle in the articulation of his theory of journalism after the paper’s inception in 1841.  As Greeley worked to make sense of the widespread economic dislocation left in the wake of the Panic of 1837, he found intellectual purchase in the romantic reaction to capitalism embodied in Emerson’s theory of individualism and Carlyle’s sense of social crisis born of a market society.  Defining himself as the kind of “heroic man-of-letters” that both men described, Greeley set out to reveal the false workings of the market and to provide individuals with the basis for their own heroism.  In a kind of mass journalistic conversion, he would inculcate his readers with “moral truth” and inspire them to reject the harsh measures and false aspirations of the market for more noble pursuits such as farming, simple labor, and in reform efforts such as temperance and anti-slavery.  Ultimately, I suggest that Greeley’s meteoric rise to prominence as the nation’s most-read editor by 1850 is connected to a broader uncertainty over the market and the values of liberalism.    


Janice Wood, Texas Christian University, “Trapped in a Spider’s Web: Three Organizations that Struggled for Free Speech in the Comstock Era”

Passed in 1873 and amended in 1876, the Comstock Act banned obscene materials from the nation’s mail without defining obscenity, leaving it open to interpretation by courts that were already hostile to free speech. Particularly vulnerable to prosecution was literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that reflected society’s changing attitudes toward sexuality, birth control, and social institutions.


Among the earliest convictions was Dr. E. B. Foote Sr. in 1876 for a brochure on birth-control methods. He also wrote popular home health-care books and a brochure in which he depicted obscenity crusader Anthony as an evil spider who preyed on vulnerable residents in a garden paradise. Foote and his son, Dr. E. B. Foote Jr., launched a 40-year campaign that challenged obscenity laws in Congress, state legislatures, and the courts. In light of new obscenity laws, the Footes modified their publications to maintain a prosperous business while also financing extensive free-speech work and offering personal assistance to other defendants. 


This paper details the Footes’ personal involvement in three organizations that opposed Comstock and championed free speech: the National Liberal League and the National Defense Association, which emerged from the 19th Century freethought movement, and the Free Speech League, a forerunner to the American Civil Liberties Union.  


Douglas Gardner, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, “‘Scenes and Sufferings’ with Nineteenth-Century Eyes: Early Images of Andersonville and Civil War Visual Culture, 1864-1867”

Civil War prisons and prisoners provided the most common and most bitter source of and subject for postwar intersectional dispute among whites.  The most notorious and atrocious of the war’s prisons, at least in the eyes of Northern whites, was at Andersonville, Georgia, where 13,000 Union soldiers died during the summer and early fall of 1864.  What happened at Andersonville and other Civil War prisons, North and South, led to enormous literary and rhetorical leavings, as ex-prisoners and other survivors debated for a half-century and more.  The postwar understandings and memories attached to the wartime experiences of Civil War prisoners stood in stark counterpoint to evolving and increasingly-powerful reconciliationist memories of the war.  This paper begins to explore the visual leavings of these disputes, focusing on the years at the end of the war and in the immediate postwar period. 


The early visual record of Andersonville is composed of artifacts in a variety of mediums: cartography, wet plate photography, wood cuts (used variously in the illustrated press, books, and political propaganda), stereo photographs, cartes de visite, and political cartoons; images often shifted media, most commonly moving from some sort of photography to a wood cut that could be reproduced in mass printed material.  The paper stresses disentangling the images and types of images—woodcuts and political cartoons much more than the photographs sometimes reproduced without adequate contextual explanation in the twentieth century and beyond—that were actually available to white Northerners in the middle 1860s as enduring images of Andersonville and other prisons were created in minds and memories.


Harriet Moore, Georgia State University, “Sickness from Abroad: Media Framing of New Immigrants and Disease, 1891-1893”

The United States during the late 19th century experienced the largest influx of immigrants in U.S. history. Between 1885 and 1898, 6 million newcomers entered the United States from Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe. Some came to avoid starvation during famine, others escaped political unrest or widespread disease epidemics in their native countries. The population boom resulted in an increase in the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhus, and tuberculosis, and heightened the divisive immigration debate of the time. Precipitated in part by the growing public health concern of communicable diseases, the Immigration Act of 1891, the opening of Ellis Island as a port of entry in 1892, and the National Quarantine Act of 1893 changed immigration policies and procedures. In the 1890s, U.S. newspapers covered the policy changes with anti-immigration fervor, regularly printing stories of sick foreigners “invading” the country. This paper examines media framing of immigration, disease, and immigration-related events from 1891 to 1893 in mainstream U.S. newspapers and how press coverage contributed to the discourse surrounding the immigration debate. The following questions guided this research: RQ1) What are the underlying opinions and attitudes toward immigrants, disease, and the immigration debate expressed in the newspapers?; and RQ2) Do opinions and attitudes toward immigrants, disease, and the immigration debate change over time, and if so, what were these changes? This study is unique because it concentrates on media framing in newspapers from 1891 to 1893 exclusively, three important years in U.S. immigration history. Because of lack of access and limited time, this research is limited to mainstream U.S. newspapers and does not include ethnic or socialist publications of the time period, which may have provided different viewpoints of immigration.


Brett Barker, University of Wisconsin-Marathon County, “Communities at War: Ohio Republicans’ Attacks on Democratic Newspapers” 

After Democratic gains in the fall elections of 1862, Republicans feared the Union war effort faced the imminent collapse of support by a majority of citizens on the northern home front. Their fears were further heightened by a newfound boldness by northern Peace Democrats, embodied by the speeches of lame-duck Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham.


In the spring and summer of 1863, Republicans launched a counterattack at the community level in Ohio. Through threats, intimidation, boycotts, and violence, Republicans sought to silence the war’s critics, and on the local level their efforts focused primarily on Democratic newspaper editors. Some editors had their lives threatened; others had their presses destroyed; still others faced the threat of suppression by military authorities.


The results of these Republican actions proved chillingly effective. During the critical year of 1863, many Democratic newspapers in Ohio either closed shop or softened their editorial tone. At a critical juncture in the war, alternative voices to Republican policies and viewpoints fell silent. These events are best understood at the community level, and so this paper chronicles the process in three counties of southeastern Ohio. Through this local prism, a more nuanced and critical view of the “fate of liberty” in the wartime North can be gained than through the exiting historiography’s examination of these issues at the regional and national levels. 


Malana Salyer, University of Louisville, “Telling Lincoln’s Story as Correspondent and Friend: Noah Brooks Shares His Personal Observations with America”

Noah Brooks’s significance has tarnished as time moves farther away from the world in which he lived.  Washington news correspondent for the Sacramento Union and close friend of President Abraham Lincoln, at one time historians considered Brooks a crucial source for the study of Lincoln during the Civil War.  However, in late twentieth and early twenty-first century biographies, Brooks serves as an afterthought or footnote, if mentioned at all.  This paper seeks to reexamine Brooks’s importance as a news correspondent during the Civil War and as one of Lincoln’s first biographers following his assassination.  The 258 newsletters Brooks sent to the Union, along with his numerous magazine articles and biographies of Lincoln, reveal an intimacy shared with Lincoln to which few of Brooks’s contemporaries were privy.  Brooks exposed thousands of Americans to both the presidential and personal sides of Lincoln.  Although Brooks himself is often overlooked in current scholarship, his relevance to Lincoln’s legacy cannot be overlooked.


Crompton Burton, Marietta College, “‘Echoes’: The Maine Bugle and Memory of the American Civil War”

Historians and scholars alike have long enjoyed a vast array of resources informing and guiding their study of the American Civil War. Everything from official records, memoirs, diaries, and newspaper accounts to speeches, sermons, and even photography provide fertile ground from which to harvest new works chronicling the conflict of North versus South.


For all that, relatively scant attention has been focused upon the dialog and discourse preserved within the reunion records of Union veterans. While many of these simple pamphlets sought only to chronicle the proceedings of sentimental annual gatherings, some regimental historians were not content to merely set forth summaries of committee reports, officer elections and banquet menus.


In particular, the effort and energy of Edward Parsons Tobie, Jr. and Jonathan Prince Cilley on behalf of the First Maine Cavalry are worthy of further exploration. Committed to the preservation of their unit’s history as well as to the appropriate recognition of the role of their comrades in the successful prosecution of the war to save the Union, they worked tirelessly to expand and enhance its contents and create a publication of enduring value.


Over time their enterprise, The Maine Bugle, came to contain personal narratives, reminiscence and thoughtful commentary as well as poignant letters to the editor and heartfelt memorials. Taken in combination, these materials remain invaluable to the historian of today not just for what can be known of the conflict, but what can be learned of the lingering impact of that conflict upon its participants.


David Bulla, Iowa State University, “The Newspaper Days of a Future Copperhead: Clement L. Vallandigahm as Editor of the Dayton Western Empire

Ohio’s Clement L. Vallandigham would be a leading member of the Peace opposition during the Civil War, so much so that he was convicted of treason for his views and exiled to the South. Before the war, he had been first a member of the Ohio legislature and then a member of Congress. Sandwiched around those two political experiences was a stint as the editor of the Dayton Western Empire, a Democratic newspaper. There the Dayton attorney tried to rally the Democrats of Montgomery County and build a formidable party organization. The Empire was a critical tool in that development and was typical of the party press of the mid-nineteenth century. The following study examines Vallandigham’s two years as the paper’s editor, paying particular attention to his interaction with the opposition Dayton Journal.


Carol Wilcox, Virginia State University, “Cuba’s ‘Hot Little Rebel’ and Spain’s ‘Criminal Fugitive’:  Perspectives on Gender”

It was 1896, and Cuba was in the midst of revolution. Cuban patriots wanted independence from Spain. The Spanish government had incarcerated Evangelina Cisneros at a women’s prison in Havana for organizing an insurrection against the mother country.


Evangelina was portrayed as a beautiful young woman; and her tormentor, Lt.-Col. José Bérriz, was painted as a Spanish brute, determined to exact sexual favors from her in return for kinder treatment of her revolutionary father, Agustín Cosío y Serrano.


Cosío was a Cuban patriot detained by the Spaniards for his insurgent activities.


Evangelina’s plight ignited a letter-writing campaign for her freedom, when William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the New York Journal, asked Queen Regent María Cristina of Spain and Pope Leo XIII to intercede.  Hearst sent correspondent Karl Decker to Havana to rescue Evangelina. In a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, Hearst used events surrounding the rescue in an extensive publicity stunt. In the end, Hearst freed Evangelina Cisneros.


Largely because of publicity in the U.S. yellow press, Evangelina became an international celebrity. Publications in Cuba and Spain also carried stories about her. Their viewpoints were different from those in U.S. newspapers.


Nirmal Trivedi, Boston College, “Life of the Image/Text: Reading the Sketches of the Civil War ‘Specials’”

In this paper, I argue that the image/text of Civil War illustrations composed for the pictorial press (understood to encompass sketch to printed engraving) allows us to read the process behind its own production--a process that begins with an often "experimental" sketch that conveys fatigue, confusion, the pressures of its own aesthetic production. The sketch is a war correspondent’s or “specials’” "professional postcard" in this sense, opening up for us this process. The sketch often previews a forthcoming process of "self-censorship" whereby even the "specials" end up creating an archetypal rendering of war, and with that, conventional themes of military heroism, male sacrifice, and female grief. Winslow Homer's "News of War" serves as example of such an image/text in that it delineates a "reading practice that follows a proscribed pattern."  That pattern does not convey "news" as such, “what happened” at a particular moment, but rather opens a window in the variability and multivalence of war correspondence in general.


Michael Bernath, University of Miami, “Independent in Everything – Neutral in Nothing’: Joseph Addison Turner, The Countryman, and the Cultivation of Confederate Nationalism”

This paper examines the remarkable wartime career of Joseph Addison Turner and his weekly paper, The Countryman.  “Independent in Everything—Neutral in Nothing,” The Countryman was one of the most outspoken, eccentric, fiery, entertaining, and best edited publications to appear during the Confederacy’s short life.  Assembled and printed on Turner’s large plantation outside Eatonton, Georgia, The Countryman was launched in March 1862 and would live to survive the war.  Remarkably, it actually gained in strength and size as the conflict progressed despite the tremendous logistical obstacles that stood in the way.  More significant than The Countryman’s success, however, was its purpose.  Turner was an ardent southern nationalist and his paper was dedicated to advancing the cause of Confederate independence in all forms – particularly its intellectual independence.  Cut off from the North and thus freed from competition with northern publishers, Turner was determined to help end the South’s longtime addiction to northern print culture and establish an independent, self-sufficient, and purely southern native literature.  So long as the South remained intellectually and culturally “enslaved” to the North, it could never be truly free, regardless of the outcome on the battlefield.  A nation required its own literature, one capable of expressing its unique character, and Turner’s paper was intended to be a vehicle for this emerging Confederate national literature.  The pages of The Countryman reveal an expansive vision of Confederate nationalism and a glimpse of what Confederates hoped their country would become.

Jack Breslin, “If it Bled, It led”

With its debut as one of the first news “beats” during the Penny Press, Crime reporting rapidly became a news staple in American daily newspapers. The popularity of crime reporting among audiences combined with the competition among newspapers for crime stories contributed to the sensationalism journalism of the nineteenth century American press. This paper studies the elements of sensational journalism as illustrated in the nineteenth century crime reporting as well as its legacy in today’s news media.