CWGK Welcomes Emily D. Moses

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWGK) is pleased to announce the addition of Emily D. Moses to the project’s editorial staff.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a 2018 recipient of an M.A. in History from Mississippi State University, Moses came to CWGK in July 2018. She is a historian of the carceral state in the nineteenth and twentieth century American South. Her interests include the agricultural, social, economic, and political experiences of convict labor.

Prior to her graduate studies, she served as a research intern and docent for Sloss Furnace National Historic Landmark in Birmingham. While at MSU she served as a Teaching Assistant for both Modern and Early United States History courses, where she lead weekly discussion sections. She continued her public history work by helping write and produce a podcast for the project, “A Shaky Truce” highlighting the Civil Rights Movement in Starkville, Mississippi.

Moses’s position is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is focused on conducting annotation research and amplifying CWGK’s outreach efforts to audiences of formal and informal learners. She is already at work with KHS’s Learning Team to develop visual learning and primary source evaluation activities scaled for elementary to undergraduate classrooms. Follow CWGK and KHS to stay up to date about Emily’s work this year!

CWGK Welcomes Graduate Research Associate Lucas Somers

With funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the Civil War Governors of Kentucky (CWGK) recruited two Graduate Research Associates (GRAs) from premier history programs across the United States to help annotate 300 documents in 2018.

The GRAs underscore a core principle of CWGK and KHS, that how the work of history gets done is as important as the fact that it gets done. The GRA positions allow CWGK to nurture research skills in emerging scholars as well as exposing them to digital project startup and management, collaborative work as a member of a research team, the establishment and maintenance of project policies, and the production of historical knowledge in diverse forms for audiences beyond academia. Working as a GRA on the CWGK project not only builds these students’ digital humanities skills portfolios, it makes them better scholarly researchers by encouraging them to flip their engagement with the archive and to think seriously about how research collection are built and curated as well as how they are used by audiences beyond academic researchers like themselves.

Joining Brianna Kirk of the University of Virginia as 2018 GRA will be Lucas Somers of the University of Southern Mississippi

Lucas Somers
University of Southern Mississippi

Somers is a history Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Mississippi studying the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction under Dr. Susannah J. Ural. He received a B.A. and M.A. in History from Western Kentucky University where he served as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Institute for Civil War Studies and completed a master’s thesis in which he explored the reported dreams and visions of Abraham Lincoln. While at USM, Somers has worked as a graduate researcher for the Beauvoir Veteran Project and is working toward the Graduate Certificate in Public History. Somers aims to write a dissertation which will examine ways communities in the South dealt with the trauma and suffering of the Civil War.

NEH-Funded Research Associate Vacancy

The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) is a state agency and membership organization that is fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The KHS mission is to educate and engage the public through Kentucky history in order to confront the challenges of the future.

The Kentucky Historical Society seeks a Research Associate to join the staff of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWGK), a digital humanities project which provides visual, textual and intellectual access to documents associated with the state’s Civil War governors.

CWGK successfully published 10,000 documents online from libraries and archives in Kentucky in the summer of 2016 and expanded into writing biographies of named individuals and social networking in 2018.  CWGK wants to maintain its high rate of editorial production while developing new resources for classroom teachers and community leaders to address critical issues facing Kentuckians today.

The Research Associate will perform editorial work and will also assist KHS staff in developing, publishing, and promoting a themed lesson plan scaled for K-12, higher education and public forum settings.  This will foster in the Research Associate the five key career skills identified by the Mellon/AHA Career Diversity for Historians initiative: Communication, Collaboration, Quantitative Literacy, Intellectual Self-Confidence, and Digital Literacy.

Other duties include, but are not limited to, assisting the Research Experience team with library functions including reference and promotion of KHS collections and programs, and working collaboratively with staff of other repositories.

This is a Federally Funded, Time Limited position made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Anticipated timeframe is July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.

Qualifications:

Masters degree in history, archives, editing, education or related field OR Bachelors degree with 2 years experience in history, archives, editing, education or related field is required.  Research specialization in 19th century U.S. history, experience with documentary editing, classroom teaching experience, and/or digital humanities is preferred.

Must be willing to travel within Kentucky and other states. Must be willing to occasionally work evenings and weekends. Must possess valid driver’s license.  Must have familiarity with internet, word processing, spreadsheets, and email.  Special training in or experience with photo editing, database use and management, XML (particularly TEI) encoding, and online exhibition software is preferred.

Must be able to complete editorial tasks with the highest attention to detail. Must be able to self-regulate work rate and complete multiple assigned tasks accurately and efficiently.  Must be able to lift materials of up to 40 lbs. Must be able to safely handle fragile archival materials. Must be able to remain stationary for extended periods.

Annual salary for this position is $32,000. Benefits include paid health and life insurance, vacation and sick leave, holiday pay, state retirement and optional deferred compensation plan.  This is a full-time position located in Frankfort, Kentucky.

To apply, e-mail a complete dossier including: cover letter, C.V., transcripts, contact information (email, telephone) for three professional references and a short (2 pp. max) statement of your experience with or appreciation of digital humanities and/or documentary editing. All files should be in Word or PDF format and sent to khs.hr@ky.gov. No phone calls please.

Application deadline is May 15, 2018.  Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D

For more information on CWGK, visit discovery.civilwargovernors.org.
To learn more about the Kentucky Historical Society, go to http://history.ky.gov.

 

2018 Graduate Research Associates

Overview

The Kentucky Historical Society seeks two Graduate Research Associates (GRAs) familiar with 19th century United States history to write short informational entries for the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWGK). GRAs will receive a stipend of $5,000 each and can work remotely from their home institutions.

Each GRA will annotate 150 assigned documents. Each GRA must be a graduate student in at least the second year of a M.A. program in history or a related humanities discipline. These positions are funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a branch of the National Archives. This continues a successful program begun with eight GRAs in the 2016-17 academic year.

CWGK is an annotated, searchable, and freely-accessible online edition of documents associated with the chief executives of the commonwealth, 1860-1865. Yet CWGK is not solely about the five governors; it is about reconstructing the lost lives and voices of tens of thousands of Kentuckians who interacted with the office of the governor during the war years. CWGK will identify, research, and link together every person, place, and organization found in its documents. This web of hundreds of thousands of networked nodes will dramatically expand the number of actors in Kentucky and U.S. history, show scholars new patterns and hidden relationships, and recognize the humanity and agency of historically marginalized people. To see the project’s work to date, visit discovery.civilwargovernors.org.

Scope of Work

Each GRA will be responsible for researching and writing short entries on named persons, places, organizations, and geographical features in 150 documents. Each document contains an average of fifteen such entities. This work will be completed and submitted to CWGK for fact-checking before December 1, 2018.

Research and writing will proceed according to project guidelines concerning research sources and methods, editorial information desired, and adherence to house style. This will ensure 1) that due diligence is done to the research of each entity and 2) that information is recorded for each item in uniform ways which are easy to encode and search.

All research for the entries must be based in primary or credible secondary sources, and each GRA is expected to keep a virtual research file with notes and digital images of documents related to each entry. These will be examined regularly by the CWGK team as they fact check the GRA output and turned over to CWGK at the completion of the work. CWGK will fact-check all entries for research quality and adherence to house style. CWGK projects an average rate of one document annotated per two hours of work. Each GRA may expect to devote approximately 300 hours to the research—though the actual investment of time may vary.

Each GRA will work remotely. Interaction with the documents and the writing of annotations will take place in a web-based annotation tool developed for CWGK, which can be dialed into from any location. CWGK will make use of online research databases to make its work efficient and uniform. Other archival sources may be of value but are not required by the research guidelines. Securing access to the paid databases required by CWGK (Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Louisville Courier Journal) is the responsibility of the GRA. If regular institutional access to these databases is not available to the GRA through a university or library, it is the responsibility of the GRA to purchase and use a subscription to these databases. KHS will not reimburse the GRA for any travel, copying, or other expenses incurred in CWGK research.

In order to maintain quality and consistency as well as to foster a collegial and collaborative work culture, CWGK will conduct weekly virtual “office hours” via Google Hangouts, during which GRAs are required to dial in, ask questions of staff, share expertise and research methods, and make connections with their peers. Virtual attendance at these office hours is mandatory, and multiple sessions may be offered to accommodate schedules.

The Kentucky Historical Society will hold copyright for all annotation research as work for hire.

Evaluation Criteria

A proposal should consist of at least a narrative statement of professional ability in the form of a cover letter, a CV, and two letters of recommendation. Additional supplementary materials that demonstrate capacity in the evaluation factors may also be included.

Proposal materials should be submitted to Tony Curtis at tony.curtis@ky.gov by no later than February 15, 2018. Any questions about the GRA program may be directed to Curtis as well.

The Kentucky Historical Society will evaluate the proposals based on the following factors:

Research Experience (70 points): Describe your familiarity with research in 19th century U.S. history. Describe some projects you have undertaken. What sources have you used? Have you been published? Have you interpreted historical research in forms other than a scholarly peer-reviewed publication? How does the proposed research project differ from those you have undertaken in the past? Describe your familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of online research databases such as Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, ProQuest, and Google Books.

Project Experience (30 points): Describe any work you have done in the editing of historical documents. Discuss how a project such as CWGK maintains balance between thorough research and production schedules. Have you worked on other collaborative projects in the field of history or otherwise? Describe your ability to meet deadlines and regulate workflow. Describe your understanding of and/or experience with the Digital Humanities. From what you know of the CWGK project, how does it fit with current trends in the field? What do you hope to gain from working on the CWGK project?

CWGK Welcomes Natalie C. Smith

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWGK) is pleased to announce the addition of Natalie C. Smith to the project’s editorial staff.

Smith’s position is funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and is focused on preparing both texts and annotations for publication in the newly expanded CWGK web interface.

Smith brings skills in publishing, textual editing, and digital database research from her work on a Master of Letters in Romantic and Victorian English literature from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Most recently, Smith has served as a program assistant for the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, where she was involved in civics educational outreach and gained archival experience working at the center’s Mitch McConnell and Elaine L. Chao Archives.

Smith’s academic and professional work has placed her at the center of collections management, digital research and publication, and creative public outreach within the Commonwealth. These linked missions lay at the heart of CWGK, and allow the project to play a dynamic role in the life of the Kentucky Historical Society and national organizations such as the Association for Documentary Editing. “Academic research today is fundamentally different than it once was,” Smith says, “and the expansion of digital humanities responds to the ever-constant cry that the humanities are in crisis.” Smith will add momentum to CWGK’s ongoing efforts to address that crisis on multiple fronts. “Together with my work coordinating professional development opportunities with Kentucky social studies teachers, my passion for making Kentucky history more accessible to the public has grown.”

“I desire to give back to my home state of Kentucky,” the Elizabethtown native and University of Louisville alum concludes. CWGK and KHS are excited to afford new opportunities for Natalie to do so.

CWGK Annotation is Live!

2017 wraps up with a triumph for CWGK. The project published its first 350 annotated documents, with each of the people, organizations, places, and geographical features mentioned in the documents linked in the text. The basics of CWGK’s document viewer interface look the same, with the addition of the links to the annotated entities highlighted as they appear in the transcription.

When a user clicks on an highlighted name, they will navigate to the entity’s page. Whatever CWGK researchers have found about the individual will be written in a short biographical statement, with a full citation just below it. Most strikingly, for people and organizations, the user will see a social network visualization drawn from the relationships found in CWGK documents. These can range from the simple:

to the spectacular:

These annotated documents aren’t the only new edition to the CWGK site. The project has also updated over 1,600 transcriptions, delivering users the most reliable representation of the text possible.

Stay tuned for more, too. CWGK’s new system allows for rolling publication as new transcriptions and annotations are approved. From this time forward, CWGK will be an ever expanding and interconnecting network of primary and secondary material that allows new and deeper access to the lives of everyday people caught in the middle of the country’s greatest conflict.

A great deal of this editorial work was funded by a grant from the Scholarly Editions and Translations program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Development of the annotation and visualization systems were funded by two grants from the Publishing Historical Records in Documentary Editions program of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

To “Serve this Long Term at Home”: Robert Buffum, Mental Illness, and the Prison Trap

CWGK Project Director Patrick Lewis writes a new piece in Nursing Clio about troubled Civil War veteran Robert Buffum.

[I]f some veterans can never escape the battlefield, Robert Buffum could never leave his cell. He spent more time behind bars of one sort or the other than he did as a free man after leaving the army. … The man continually reached out for help. And even when his society tried to do right by him, those treatments had the unintentional effect of moving him from one subconscious nightmare to another, lived one.

What does his experience in asylums and prisons mean for contemporary American veterans? Visit Nursing Clio for the full story and check out the CWGK reader and discussion packet, “Where I Now Stand” to bring the conversation to your classroom or community group.

An Alternative History of Sally J. Chinn

Cross-posted from the KHS Chronicle.

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky project is deep into annotation, the phase of the project where each of the people, organizations, places and geographical features mentioned in every CWGK document is tagged, researched and linked together in a vast social network. I’ve written elsewhere about what that will look like from a research and technical perspective. Today, I want to focus on the research finds and unexpected questions that this work brings.

This week, I was working on this document, a letter from some Hartford, Kentucky, bankers, looking to have one of their own named a notary public in December 1860. Routine state business. Then I started researching cashier John C. Morton.

Not surprisingly, given the way small-town businesses work then and now, he is the older brother of the Alonzo L. Morton who has recently taken a job in the circuit court office. The two young professionals lived together with their father, Isaac Morton, when the census man came to town. Except he wouldn’t be living with his parents for long. On June 30, 1860, John C. Morton had travelled east to Frankfort to marry Sally J. Chinn, the daughter of prosperous farmer, Franklin Chinn. Everyone called her Jennie.

Jennie Chinn Morton c1910, KHS Collections, 1917.1

Now, the name Jennie Chinn Morton carries a certain connotation at KHS. She was the secretary-treasurer and later regent of the revived KHS of the late 19th century, the first editor of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society and the driving force behind the establishment of this organization in permanent state offices in Frankfort, first in the capitol annex and later in the Old State Capitol itself. She shaped publications, research and collections. Jennie Chinn Morton was the Kentucky Historical Society.

This is not to hero worship. I have issues with her interpretation of the past and whose Kentucky stories she valued. I question the history she wrote and why she wrote it. But, her legacy as an institution builder is a model for any public history administrator. The Kentucky Historical Society has grown and evolved since Morton, but without her, the seed would never have been planted.

So, could this 21-year-old newlywed be that Jennie Chinn Morton? A quick search through our digital collections confirmed that it was. The finding aid to an 1893 diary, mentions that she was “Soon widowed after her marriage to John C. Morton of Hartford, Kentucky in 1860” after which she “turned her time and attention to literary pursuits.” Did she ever.

I still haven’t puzzled what happened to John Morton. Did he die of some summer disease right after their marriage? Did he rush off to enlist in one of the contending armies in 1861? Whatever the case, his death allowed one of Kentucky’s most influential femmes sole in 19th and early 20th century Kentucky to pursue work that was meaningful to her.

I wonder what would have happened if he had lived?

CWGK Reviewed in Journal of American History

Mississippi State University Associate Professor of History Anne E. Marshall reviewed CWGK in the September 2017 issue of the Journal of American History. The JAH has taken a leading role in the promotion of digital scholarship by commissioning and publishing reviews of digital history resources. Some highlights from Marshall’s review include:

The CWGK is a rich and versatile project, well conceived and well executed. The site is meant to be useful to a vast array of viewers, it has the imprimatur and standards of the latest academic approaches to the Civil War. … This project provides an impressive model of what state historical agencies are capable of producing with the dedication of enough human and financial resources.

Read the full review online here.

CWGK Annotation Preview at DH2017

CWGK’s development partners at Brumfield Labs have been working on a series of NHPRC grants to develop MashBill, CWGK’s annotation management system. Through the work of NHPRC-funded Graduate Research Associates, CWGK has annotated approximately 1,200 documents to date, identifying over 8,000 unique people, places, organizations, and geographical features.

At the Digital Humanities 2017 conference in Montreal, Brumfield Labs presented a paper co-authored by CWGK staff, “Beyond Coocurrence: Network Visualization in the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.”

Read a full recap of the presentation here, complete with fascinating visualizations of CWGK annotation data drawn from MashBill. The recap was named an Editors’ Choice story by Digital Humanities Now in August 2017.