Monthly Archives: April 2017

Meeting of June 8, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, June 8, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Gene Barr on “A Civil War Captain and His Lady: A True Story of Love, Courtship, and Combat”

More than 150 years ago, 27-year-old Irish immigrant Josiah Moore met 19-year-old Jennie Lindsay, a member of one of Peoria, Illinois’s most prominent families. The Civil War had just begun, Josiah was the captain of the 17th Illinois Infantry, and his war would be a long and bloody one. Their courtship and romance, which came to light in a rare and unpublished series of letters, forms the basis of Gene Barr’s memorable A Civil War Captain and His Lady: A True Story of Love, Courtship, and Combat. The story of Josiah, Jennie, the men of the 17th and their families tracks the toll on our nation during the war and allows us to explore the often difficult recovery after the last gun sounded in 1865.

Gene Barr is the president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the commonwealth’s largest broad based business advocacy group. Prior to his work at the Chamber, he spent almost twenty years in the energy field including more than twelve years with BP America, the U.S. subsidiary of British Petroleum, and seven years at the Pennsylvania office of the American Petroleum Institute including three years as executive director of that operation. He also served for ten years as a local elected official in the Philadelphia area.

Barr is a board member and past chair of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, among numerous other community and professional activities. A native of the Philadelphia area, Barr has had a longstanding interest in American history, particularly the Civil War period, sparked by his first visit to Gettysburg as a youth. He enhanced his knowledge while residing in Atlanta where he became familiar with the western theater of the conflict. He was active in living history for more than a quarter century and participated as an ‘extra’ in four films depicting the Civil War period, including “Glory” and “Gettysburg.” He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. This is his first book.

Meeting of July 13, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, July 13, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

Dr. Jennifer M. Murray presents “On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013”

Special presentation live from the University of Virginia, Wise, via Skype

Dr. Murray provides a critical perspective to Gettysburg historiography by offering an in-depth exploration of the national military park and how the Gettysburg battlefield has evolved since the National Park Service acquired the site in August 1933. Haphazard landscape practices, promotion of tourism, encouragement of recreational pursuits, ill-defined policies of preserving cultural resources, and the inevitable turnover of administrators guided by very different preservation values regularly influenced the direction of the park and the presentation of the Civil War’s popular memory.

Dr. Jennifer M. Murray is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. She teaches a wide variety of course in 19th and 20th century American history. Murray’s most recent publication is On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013, published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2014. Murray is also the author of The Civil War Begins, published by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History in 2012. Murray is currently working on a biography of George Gordon Meade, tentatively titled Meade at War. In addition, Murray worked as a seasonal interpretive park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park for nine summers (2002-2010). She received her Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2010.

Meeting of November 9, 2017

Join us at 7:15 PM on Thursday, November 9, at Camden County College in the Connector Building, Room 101. This month’s topic is

James Scythes on “This will make a man of me: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War”

thomas-james-howellThis presentation focuses on the life of seventeen-year-old Thomas James Howell, who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Tom Howell’s experiences give us a rare look at the war through the eyes of a teenage officer. The letters that he wrote home to his family tell the story of a young man coming of age in the army. As a young officer, he faced particular challenges as he sought to earn the respect of both the men he commanded and his superiors. Despite the challenges he faced, Howell believed that it was his duty to serve and by serving he would prove that he was a man. This study represents a valuable addition to Civil War literature by offering a unique perspective of the war as it was seen through the eyes of a teenage officer.

james-scythesJames Scythes earned a B.A. in history at Rowan University and has a Master of Arts in history from Villanova University. He is a tenure track Instructor of History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on antebellum America, American Civil War, and 19th century military history. Professor Scythes has published a number of encyclopedia articles, and in July 2016 Lehigh University Press published his first book, “This Will Make a Man of Me”: The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at the Gloucester County Historical Society, and is a member of the Old Baldy Civil War Round Table of Philadelphia.