Why History at E&H
E&H history majors learn about the past and hone the skills needed to succeed in today’s skill-centered, globalized world.
You will learn how to analyze paper and digital sources, weigh competing historical claims, consider different global perspectives, develop your own informed opinions, and communicate your thoughts in speaking and in writing. In other words, you’ll acquire the prerequisites for success in any profession.
A hallmark of the E&H history program is undergraduate research where students are mentored by faculty and go on to publish their studies and present them at professional conferences. In fact, a recent student was honored with a top-ten paper award at the 2017 national meeting of Pi Gamma Mu, the international honors society for the social sciences.
Students also thrive in a region rich with history. The college itself is a designated Virginia Historic Landmark, one of many in the area. The cemetery near campus has 206 Civil War graves, and the original construction of the college administration building was a barracks and hospital during the conflict. In nearby Abingdon, the Martha Washington Inn, the Cave House, and Barter Theatre are historic destinations, and the Washington County Historical Society is a valuable resource. Museums within a short drive include Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Saltville’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians.
Meet Our Alumni
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/155-ken-noe" title="Ken Noe" aria-label="Ken Noe"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,450,490/27_abe1975e59116cf763b1821b22668003_f74661.rev.1491319536.jpg" alt="Ken Noe" title="Ken Noe" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="450" data-max-h="490"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/155-ken-noe"><p> Dr. Ken Noe ’79 Writing Book on the Weather’s Impact on the American Civil War</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> When Dr. Ken Noe (’79) was growing up in Elliston he remembers that weather played a huge role in the work done on his grandfather’s farm. “If rain was coming, we dropped everything else to put up hay.” He thinks this experience planted a seed in the back of his mind about the impactful influence of weather. Later, his interest in weather grew when he took a geography course at Emory & Henry with Dr. Ed Bingham.</p><p> But even he could never have predicted that he would now be writing a two-volume book on weather’s impact on the American Civil War.</p><p> Ken is the Draughon Professor of Southern History at Auburn University. He is the author or editor of seven books, and he has published scads of articles, essays and chapters about the Civil War. He is a decorated history professor serving at West Georgia College before heading to Auburn. He was a Pulitzer Prize entrant and won the 2003 Kentucky Governor’s award, the 2002 Peter Seaborg Book Award for Civil War Non-fiction, and the 1997 Tennessee History Book Award. He has won several teaching awards, has served as president of the Alabama Historical Association, and is serving on the Advisory Board of the Society of Civil War Historians. He has even been a consultant for the NBC series <em>Who Do You Think You Are? </em></p><p> But in all his prolific writing and research and publishing even he is surprised that his biggest and most industrious work to-date will be about weather. “Meteorologists are still trying to work out why the weather during the Civil War was so unusual. They dealt with incredibly snowy and rainy winters and droughts in the summer that affected Southern food supplies. There were dust storms, flooded rivers, and only two hurricanes. It had a profound effect on many campaigns.”</p><p> His research on weather has already taken several years, and he still has a few years left before he publishes. And even he was amazed to realize just how much information he had accumulated. “Very little has been written about Civil War environmental history. It is only now becoming part of the conversation about Civil War history.” </p><p> Ken says that even in a field of study like Civil War history where so many things have been written, there is still new area for research and a lot of topics that haven’t been covered. He has grad students asking new questions about the role of religion, the prison industries during the war, the role of friendship, and one young man, who is an E&H grad, is looking into camp life.</p><p> Even though we have just passed the 150<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the American Civil War, Ken points out that this conflict still has implications for current events; and he marvels that most conversations over the past 18 months have quickly moved from history to current topics like the Confederate flag, U.S. prisons, and race relations. He says his field has gotten so tangled with politics that there is a declining interest in Civil War history among the public. “But this event still has much to teach us. It was a great turning point in American History and opened up questions that are still being answered about equality of humankind, the status of women, states’ rights. I don’t know how we can answer all these questions unless we go back to the beginning.” He consistently stresses to his students the importance of going back to primary source information rather than depending on how the stories have been told and passed down.</p><p> Ken actually majored in education at Emory & Henry and still remembers panicking when he realized he didn’t want to be a junior high school teacher. “I had a lot of electives leftover and started taking history classes late in my college experience. I realized what I wanted to be was a historian and teach at a higher level.” A conversation with Patsi Trollinger (’72) reassured him that most alumni do not stick to work within their major. And a conversation with Dr. Gene Rasor in the history department led to a phone call which ended with Dr. Rasor telling Ken he had an interview with the history department at Virginia Tech.</p><p> The rest, as they say, is history.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/155-ken-noe" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/13-sydney-england" title="Sydney England" aria-label="Sydney England"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/22_fbd04c901271156159e4e275a5bf845f_f50561.rev.1490707796.jpg" alt="Sydney England" title="Sydney England" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/22_fbd04c901271156159e4e275a5bf845f_f50561.rev.1490707796.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/13-sydney-england"><p> Sydney England (’14) Receives Prestigious Fellowship Opportunity </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> She received the Armbrister Memorial Scholarship for freshmen honors and the Outstanding Senior Award from the Sociology Department. She was on the dean’s list all eight semesters while a student at Emory & Henry, and she graduated summa cum laude with college honors. She also was inducted into several national honor societies.</p><p> Is it any wonder that Sydney England is one of only two students throughout the country selected to receive the Jessie Ball duPont Fund Fellowship, providing a two-year period of work and study in philanthropy and charitable work?</p><p> England, a 2014 graduate of Emory & Henry College, was nominated by the college, which is among many liberal arts colleges and universities eligible for support from the Jessie DuPont Fund. England was selected from a large field of applicants.</p><blockquote> Dr. Joe Lane brought the fellowship opportunity to my attention. I don’t know if I ever fully set my sights on the fellowship because it always seemed like a long shot.Sydney EnglandClass of 2014</blockquote><p> The Jessie Ball duPont Fund Fellowship program, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., is designed to provide practical experience for students interested in careers with nonprofit, faith-based, or philanthropic organizations. As a fellow, England is exposed to foundation governance, grant making, governmental oversight, and industry events.</p><p> “Responsibilities shift daily, but primarily it’s a lot of research and grant management. The fellows are really there to support senior staffers with some of their project management and report preparation,” explained England.</p><p> “This fellowship will afford me an acute insight into the full life-cycle of a grant, from initial proposal to grant management and re-evaluation. It’s very rare to have the opportunity to see this grant maturation within a wide array of nonprofit organizations at my age and experience level,” she said.</p><p> “I’m really just hoping to develop a strong grant writing and nonprofit management portfolio and to engage in meaningful personal research during my two years at the Fund.”</p><p> England is among the fifth class of fellows at the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Some of their predecessors work with the Peace Corps, religious organizations, and community-based nonprofits.</p><p> Her accomplishments at Emory & Henry are equally impressive.</p><p> The alumna doubled majored in sociology and history with a minor in women’s studies. “When I entered Emory & Henry, I was the conventional high-performing student who was primarily concerned with grades. If nothing else, E&H taught me that if you aren’t imagining beyond your goals, you aren’t giving yourself enough latitude to grow.”</p><p> While a student at Emory & Henry, England was a research assistant, and she also gained experience working for Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor in Virginia.</p><p> Her honors thesis was entitled “Check Here: A Critique of Normative Discursive Categorization within Survey Construction.” The premise of her research was to address some of the General Social Survey’s methodological limitations.</p><p> “I found that nominal and mutually-exclusive language, as it pertains to the General Social Survey categorization of sex, creates a false sense of normativeness within American society and harshly limits the accuracy of data when causal inferences link these two categories to various other demographic features within the data set. Ultimately, I created an alternative survey proposal that I hope will be adopted more frequently on campus.”</p><p> England said her experiences at Emory & Henry have enabled her to be a successful person, employee, and citizen.</p><p> “I feel the impact of my liberal arts education daily and in several dimensions. First, I often find myself willing to engage in critical, solutions-oriented dialogue, and I think that’s a direct result of the type of Socratic courses that you regularly find at Emory.</p><p> “Second, I’m acutely aware of the impact that place has on people, and this is really imperative when you’re in a workspace. I’m really aware of workplace dynamics and organizational core values. Those are really important to understand when you’re trying to figure out how you, the individual, fit into the structure. At Emory, we were constantly reminded of how people and place are inextricably connected.”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/13-sydney-england" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/671-hobart-hobie-cawood" title="Hobart Cawood" aria-label="Hobart Cawood"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,595,398/261_Screen_Shot_2017-06-07_at_9.59.49_AM.rev.1496844038.png" alt="Hobart “Hobie” Cawood" title="Hobart “Hobie” Cawood" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="595" data-max-h="398"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/671-hobart-hobie-cawood"><p> Hobie Cawood (’57) A National Park Treasure </p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> In a year with so much talk about the 100th anniversary of our National Park System, Hobie Cawood (E&H ’57) has to be part of the discussion. Hobie is, after all, a bit of a national treasure himself.</p><p> Hobie began his career with the National Park Service in 1958 as a park historian for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, near his childhood home in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He worked as a supervisor and interpreter for a variety of National Parks, but the body of work for which he is probably best known is his stint as Superintendent of Independence National Historic Park (INHP) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He rose to that position in 1971, becoming the champion of the Liberty Bell just a few years before the American Bicentennial. He was in charge during what were arguably the Park’s two biggest celebrations – one for the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976 and one for the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987.</p><p> He and his wife, Addie-Lou Wahlert Cawood, were honored in 2012 for their work together to establish the Friends of the Friends of Independence – an organization that raises money for INHP to do projects and programs that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. It was the first “friends” group established to support a National Park, and while it was initially formed to undergird events around the Bicentennial, members and donors continue to work on behalf of the park and together they have raised millions of dollars. In 2012, the Cawoods were given the first ever “Founders’ Award” for their vision and effort in establishing the organization.</p><p> Hobie retired from the Park System in 1991 with an array of tales and stories that would rival any world adventurer. A walk through his home is like visiting a museum – with photos of him with U.S. presidents, world leaders, and celebrated artists. He has, in fact, written a book about his storied experiences at INHP called <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Celebrations-Personal-Commemorating-Bicentennial-1971-1991/dp/1422395618/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479226080&sr=8-1&keywords=hobie%20cawood" target="_blank">Celebrations: A Personal Memoir Commemorating America’s Bicentennial Era: 1971-1991</a> (available through Amazon).</p><p> The <a href="http://hof.ehc.edu/members/hobart-hobie-cawood/" target="_blank">Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame</a> football star turned out to be just what was needed by one of the country’s greatest symbols of freedom as millions of visitors would pass by the iconic bell during his tenure. He, in fact, was in charge during the Liberty Bell’s biggest trip since its arrival from London: he had to oversee its move from Independence Hall to a new visitor’s center designed to handle the millions expected during the Bicentennial. The move was controversial at the time as community members didn’t want the bell to leave its long-time location, but Hobie’s administrative savvy and natural charm job got the job done and the Park Service was ready for the onslaught of tourists.</p><p> Check out his book for a host of great details and stories. And the next time someone mentions the Liberty Bell you can tell them it was an Emory & Henry grad who championed, promoted, and protected it during its finest anniversary hour.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/671-hobart-hobie-cawood" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/156-stewart-whitmore-plein" title="Stewart Whitmore Plein" aria-label="Stewart Whitmore Plein"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,400,300/29_1dee3c8e17be67fe60d501abf5d16fd1_f73851.rev.1491320868.jpg" alt="Stewart Whitmore Plein" title="Stewart Whitmore Plein" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="300"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/156-stewart-whitmore-plein"><p> Stewart Whitmore Plein (’82) Becomes Rare Books Specialist</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Stewart Plein (E&H ’82), Assistant Curator for West Virginia Books & Printed Resources & Rare Book Librarian at West Virginia University, has received her certification in rare book librarianship from the University of Virginia’s renowned Rare Book School (RBS), the top professional development program for rare book and special collection librarians, rare book sellers and collectors.</p><p> “Rare book librarianship isn’t for the faint of heart,” said Tom Congalton, an RBS instructor. “There is an enormous barrier to acquiring the necessary knowledge and practical experience required to be an effective special collections librarian, and it isn’t always easy to know where to start. Stewart has the energy, the motivation and the tenacity to go out and acquire that knowledge in order to master a subject that isn’t always inclined to reveal itself easily.”</p><p> Jay Cole, senior advisor to the president at WVU, applauds Plein for her dedication to the Rare Book Room and work to enhance the academic environment at WVU. “The library is the heart of any university and information circulated by the library is a university’s lifeblood. Within our wonderful Libraries, WVU is very fortunate to have an outstanding Rare Books Collection, with items from William Shakespeare to Isaac Asimov,” Cole said. “We are equally fortunate to have a rare book librarian such as Stewart Plein, whose passion is matched only by her expertise.”</p><p> Stewart’s love of books took her from reader to researcher to bookseller to librarian. She says she had a career direction change after attending a seminar for antiquarian book dealers in 2003. She decided to volunteer at the West Virginia University Library in Morgantown, and ended up an assistant to the Special Collections Librarian.</p><p> At E&H Stewart had a double major in history and religion. She then earned her degree in library science at the University of South Carolina before succeeding her mentor, Harold Forbes, as Rare Books Librarian and Assistant Curator of West Virginia Books and Printed Resources, and as Assistant University Librarian. She has duties in the Downtown Campus Library and the West Virginia & Regional History Center, both in Morgantown.</p><p> She is also extensively published. Her work covers a wide range of topics, including the impact of art and design on the marketplace and nineteenth century book manufacturing and technology; books as historical artifacts; the cultural impact of books; dissemination of ideas and rare book pedagogy as primary resources for undergraduate research; 19th- century publishers’ book binding design and manufacture; the history of Appalachian law books and newspapers; and the impact of book binding design and the development of stereotype in Appalachia.</p><p> Stewart said the most inspiring part of the RBS course came from a guest lecturer who raised the question about how to go forward with collecting rare material. “It gave me a new insight into the future of book collecting institutionally. It’s about looking ahead rather than back at things we already have.” As a result, she is focusing on materials that are now becoming rare. For example, there is a growing interest in items from the 1940s through the 1990s that already are becoming scarce despite being mass produced. For instance, WVU Libraries recently acquired a collection of magazines (or zines) that were published in San Francisco by West Virginia poet, Sutton Breiding, in the 1970s. “Zines have become quite collectible,” Plein said. “They were just things that were traded between friends, they didn’t really have a production run, they were printed off on mimeograph machines, but they documented important pop culture moments so they really need to be collected or we’ll lose them.”</p><p> She is also turning her attention to what has long been an under-represented area in the rare books collection, the works of African-American West Virginians from late 19<sup>th</sup> to early 20<sup>th</sup> century.</p><p> West Virginia was home to many of the nation’s most important African-American activists and leaders: Booker T. Washington, author and educator; Carter G. Woodson, author, historian and journalist; Anne Spencer, Harlem Renaissance poet; and J.R. Clifford, Civil War veteran, newspaper publisher, co-founder of the Niagra Movement with W.E. B. Dubois, and West Virginia’s first African-American attorney.</p><p> Stewart says introducing students to primary sources with rare books is the best part of her work day. “I never tire of seeing that moment when a student’s eyes light up when they handle a rare book for the first time!”</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/156-stewart-whitmore-plein" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>
- <span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/694-amanda-chaplin" title="Amanda Chaplin" aria-label="Amanda Chaplin"><img src="/live/image/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/344_b14d61caf209471ca7ca9686b2e5bc67_f6462.rev.1500313353.jpg" alt="Amanda Chaplin" title="Amanda Chaplin" class="lw_image" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1000,666/344_b14d61caf209471ca7ca9686b2e5bc67_f6462.rev.1500313353.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1000" data-max-h="666"/></a></span><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_profiles_headline"><a href="/live/profiles/694-amanda-chaplin"><p> Amanda Chaplin (E&H ’08): Assistant District Attorney</p></a></h4><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Amanda Chaplin (E&H ’08) earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History before heading to Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law. She received her Juris Doctorate degree in 2012 and passed the Pennsylvania bar exam in July of that same year. She began her career in the oil and gas industry. </p><p> In 2014, she became the Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Daniel P. Wallace of the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas. As a Judicial Law Clerk, she conducted research and wrote opinions for Judge Wallace in both the criminal and civil fields of law, as well as acted as a hearing master for protection from abuse petitions. </p><p> Amanda has just recently been hired as an Assistant District Attorney with the Centre County District Attorney’s Office. “As an Assistant District Attorney, I will represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in many criminal matters such as arraignments, preliminary hearings, criminal trials, sentencing and arguing cases before the Pennsylvania Superior Court located in Harrisburg, PA.”</p><p> In her spare time she likes to “paint using Bob Ross’ style of painting. I have created 12 paintings and am working on a 13th painting.” So we suspect she makes happy trees…and unhappy criminals.</p></div><a href="/live/profiles/694-amanda-chaplin" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div>