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Mike Furlough, Project Co-Founder

Former Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications and Co-Director of the Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing, The Pennsylvania State University

Mike Furlough co-founded The People's Contest and worked on the project for more than four years. In 2014 he left the Penn State Libraries to join the Hathi Trust as Executive Director.

William Blair, Project Co-Founder

Director, Richards Civil War Era Center

William Blair is a historian of the Civil War era, focusing primarily on the home front and formation of nations and nationalism in the middle nineteenth century. His work has focused on the construction of Confederate identity during the war, the use of ceremonies such as Memorial Days and Emancipation Days after the war to reinforce and contest political identities, and the uses and misuses of treason during the Civil War. He currently is writing a book that examines murders and outrages committed against freedpeople by white southerners during Reconstruction. As director of the Richards Civil War Era Center, Dr. Blair works with student interns, collaborates with public school teachers to interpret the struggle for freedom in the United States, and serves as the organizer for a biennial conference with the Society of Civil War Historians. He also is the founding editor of The Journal of the Civil War Era, an interdisciplinary peer reviewed journal that was named one of the 10 best new periodicals in 2011 by the Library Journal. Through the journal, conferences, workshops, and other events, Dr. Blair seeks to encourage new research projects and find ways to connect the public with the latest scholarship on the Civil War era.

Sabra Statham

Peoples' Contest Project Coordinator, 2011-2015,

Sabra Statham was the project coordinator of the People's Contest from 2011-2015. She held the Ph.D. in Music from the CUNY Grad Center and MA and M.Mus. degrees from Penn State. Before joining the team at the Office of Scholarly Communications she completed a Fellowship at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia, where she began editing the letters of composer George Antheil for digital publication. In addition to publishing and presenting on George Antheil and modernism, she presented papers on the epistolary songs of the Civil War homefront to the Society for American Music and the North American Conference on the 19th Century.

Matt Isham - Managing Director

Matt Isham

Managing Director, Richards Civil War Era Center

Matt Isham is the managing director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center and the managing editor of The Journal of the Civil War Era. He is a political historian of the Civil War era and earned his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Penn State in 2010. His main research interest is political media in the antebellum era, particularly the connections between party organizations and the political media networks that served them. His dissertation examined how partisan newspaper editors built party organizations through newspaper networks and how they carried out the essential business of the parties prior to the Civil War.

Robert Sandow

Associate Professor of History, Lock Haven University

Robert Sandow is professor of history and department chair at Lock Haven University. He is the author of Deserter Country: Civil War Opposition in the Pennsylvania Appalachians (Fordham Press, 2009).

Timothy L. Wesley

Assistant Professor of History, Austin Peay State University

Tim Wesley earned his Ph.D. in history from Penn State in 2010. He is an assistant professor of history at Austin Peay State University and is the author of The Politics of Faith during the Civil War Era (LSU Press, 2013).

James Marten

Chair and Professor of History, Marquette University

James Marten is chair of the department of history at Marquette University. He is the author of numerous publications, including The Children's Civil War (UNC Press, 1998), which won the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit National Book Award for History in 1999, Sing Not War: Civil War Veterans in Gilded Age America (UNC Press, 2011), and America's Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace (University of Georgia Press, 2014). He is a past president of the Society of Civil War Historians and the Society for the History of Children and Youth.

Timothy Orr


Timothy Orr is associate professor of history at Old Dominion University. He is the author of “Last to Leave the Field”: The Life and Letters of First Sergeant Ambrose Henry Hayward, Company D, 28th Pennsylvania Volunteers (University of Tennessee Press, 2010)

Cataloging and Metadata Services

Cataloging and metadata provides essential services. Thanks to Sue Hamburger and others for their hard work providing access, descriptions and authority advice for all of our digital assets.

Scholars Advisory Board

J. Matthew Gallman, Professor of History, University of Florida

Judith Giesberg, Associate Professor of History, Villanova University

James Marten, Chair and Professor of History, Marquette University

Anne Rubin, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Robert Sandow, Associate Professor of History, Lock Haven University


Penn State Student Historians
Graduate Digital History Assistants

Kathryn Falvo served as the 2014-2015 Richards Center Digital Fellow, developing digital humanities tools for the People's Contest project. Her interests include women's studies, Quakers and GIS.


Undergraduate Students

Valeri Smith

Valeri Smith was the inaugural People's Contest undergraduate intern in digital humanities in the Spring of 2016. During her internship, Smith transcribed the Sarah Chamberlin Diaries and created the Sarah Chamberlin Story Map. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2016 with a BA in History and English.

Lauren Nogay

Lauren Nogay was the People's Contest undergraduate digital humanities intern for the Spring of 2017. She earned a BA in History and International Politics in 2018. During her internship, she completed transcriptions of the Theo S. Christ Diaries, created a digital exhibit based on Christ's diaries, and conducted a historical assessment of the Evan Pugh Papers. Prior to her digital humanities internship, Nogay served as the Richards Center's museum and archives intern at Gettysburg National Military Park in 2016. During the 2017-18 academic year, she was the Stelts/Fillipelli in Rare Books and Manuscripts in the Penn State University Libraries. Following graduation, Nogay enrolled in the top-ranked Master's program in Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College in Boston.

Robert Morss

Robert Morss ('20) was a Fall 2017 undergraduate digital humanities intern with the People's Contest. During his internship, he transcribed the Adam H. Pickel Diary and created a digital Story Map exhibit centered on Pickel's experiences in the 68th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Morss is a majoring in Education and plans to become a middle school or high school Social Studies teacher after graduating from Penn State. His internship helped him think about how to use digital humanities techniques in his teaching to get students excited about history.

Priscilla Mariani

Priscilla Mariani ('19) is the People's Contest digital humanities intern for the summer of 2018. During her internship, she will transcribe the Records of the Washington and Cresson Literary Societies. The Washington and Cresson societies were the first student organizations founded at Penn State, and their records give us insight into student activities at the university in the antebellum era. Mariani is a History major and also maintains a minor in Anthropology. In 2017 she interned with the Centre County Historical Society, where she created a historical exhibit, Centre County Women in the Red Cross, to commemorate the centennial of the founding of Centre County's chapter of the Red Cross. Following graduation, Mariani plans to pursue an MLS in Library and Information Sciences.

Zachary Siggins

Zach Siggins earned his BA in History from Penn State University in 2014. As an undergraduate student he earned successive competitive internships at Gettysburg National Military Park, in the park’s Museum Services Division and Interpretation Division.

Victoria Thomas

Victoria Thomas earned her BA in History with Honors from Penn State University in 2014. She has completed internships at Gettysburg National Military Park, in the park’s Interpretation Division and Museum Services Division, and also at the US Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Graduate Student

Andrew Prymak

Andrew Prymak is a PhD candidate in the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University. His research focuses on the American Civil War as a struggle over competing visions of empire. He has presented his research at the Society of Civil War Historians’ biennial meeting.

Kelly Knight

Kelly Knight is a PhD candidate at The Pennsylvania State University. Her dissertation, “To the Ends of the Earth: Abolitionist Travelers in the African Diaspora, and the Construction of Race in the Nineteenth Century,” traces how foreign missionaries claimed superior cultural authority of matters of race based on their personal experiences in the African diaspora, and then used that authority to attempt to undermine the racial ideology of American slavery. She has presented her work at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Organization of American Historians.

Chris Hayashida-Knight

Chris Hayashida-Knight is a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University in the departments of History and Women's Studies. His work considers the social construction of the US nation through discourse and patriotic acts, focusing on the period between the Civil War and World War I. Using feminist and interdisciplinary methods, he examines acts and expressions of patriotism by marginalized Americans to better understand how nationalism intersects with race, class, and gender to create American identities. Prior to coming to Penn State, Chris earned an MA in American Studies from George Washington University in 2011.

Antwain Hunter

Antwain K. Hunter is an assistant professor of history at Butler University. He earned his PhD from Penn State under the direction of Anthony Kaye in 2014. His dissertation, "Politics, Manhoods, and Rebellions Real and Imagined: Slaves, Free Black People, and Firearms in North Carolina, 1729-1865," examines the ways that black peoples' firearm use functioned within the context of a slave society. As a graduate student he earned the History department’s E-Tu Zen Sun Teaching Award, the Edwin Earle Sparks Fellowship in the Humanities, the Humanities Dissertation Fellowship from Penn State's Africana Research Center, and the Archie K. Davis Fellowship from the North Caroliniana Society. His research interests include the lives of slaves and free blacks in the antebellum U.S.

Lauren Golder

Lauren Golder is a PhD candidate in the departments of History and Women's Studies. Her research deals with transnational anarchism and anarcha-feminism in the late-19th and early-20th century US and Europe. She has a particular interest in the study of migration, nationalism, “free love”/sex radicalism, political violence and terrorism, and the trajectories of radical ideas. She is a winner of the Penn State History department’s E-tu Zen Sun Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Assistant, and she has presented her work at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference.

Kathryn Falvo

Kathryn Falvo is a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University working in the departments of History and Women’s Studies. Her work focuses on women and religion in the antebellum period, and her dissertation examines the lives and experiences of traveling Quaker women. In the course of her work, Kathryn is interested in exploring the opportunities that digital humanities can offer historians. She has won the History department’s E-tu Zen Sun Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Assistant. Kathryn has been the recipient of the Seth and Mary Edith Hinshaw Fellowship at Guilford College and the Gest Fellowship at Haverford College for the study of Quaker history.