You're invited: Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s twenty-ninth annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 11–13, 2021. The purpose of the conference is to share current research and to develop a series of monographs on the 19th century press, the Civil War and the press, and 19th century concepts of free expression. Papers from the first five conferences were published by Transaction Publishers in 2000 as a book of readings called The Civil War and the Press. Purdue University Press published papers from past conferences in three distinctly different books titled Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain (2007), Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism (2008), and Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press (2009). In 2013, Transaction published Sensationalism: Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, and Disasters in 19th-Century Reporting, and in 2014, it published A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War. In 2017, Transaction (now Routledge/Taylor & Francis) published After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900, and our latest book, The Antebellum Press: Setting the Stage for Civil War, was published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis in 2019. 
We would like to invite you to attend the symposium, which will be held via ZOOM. The sessions will begin Thursday at 3:00 p.m. and continue all day Friday. The symposium will conclude Saturday at 3:00 p.m. If you would like to register for the conference, please email us at with your name, affiliation, email, cell phone number, and the identification name on your ZOOM account. Please also indicate which days you would like to attend. We will email the conference link to all registered attendees 30 minutes before the first session on each day. You will be admitted to a waiting room until your ID has been confirmed. All sessions are free and open to the public, so please feel free to invite colleagues, students, and friends. All attendees must register.


Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression

November 11–13, 2021

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (via ZOOM)


Thursday, November 11

3:00–6:30 p.m.  

Opening Remarks: David B. Sachsman, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

“President Lincoln's Assassination and the Hunt for John Wilkes Booth,” Patricia G. McNeely, University of South Carolina (retired)

“Troy, New York Draft Riot,” Brian Valimont, University of Southern Mississippi

“‘The Recent Infamous Outrages’: Newspapers, Sexual Violence, and the Rise of Lynch Mob in the early Reconstruction South,” Cameron Sauers, University of Kentucky

“Mainstream Periodicals on the Status of Freed Slaves and Emancipated Russian Serfs in the Reconstruction Era,” Mariana Kellis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“‘Yankees of the Asiatic Continent’: Japan through the Eyes of the U.S. Press during the Centennial Exhibition of 1876,” James Mueller and Koji Fuse, University of North Texas

“Relics From White Supremacy: Why Historians Need to Re-evaluate Their Use of the Word ‘Riot’ to Describe Racial Violence in the South During the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction Eras,” Brett Kunkel, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

7:00–9:30 p.m.

“Enormous, Dreadful Wickedness: The Transatlantic Slave Trade through American and British Newspapers, 1800-1808,” Thomas C. Terry, Utah State University, Logan, and Donald L. Shaw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Covering Our Boys: Introducing the Heroic Soldier in the Civil War Press, 1861-1862,” Katrina J. Quinn, Slippery Rock University

Panel: “19th Century Environmentalism: Aesthetic Beauty and Religious Belief,” Lee Jolliffe, Drake University (moderator) 

“Environmentalism in the 19th Century: Art, Photography, and the Garden of Eden,” David B. Sachsman, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

“Egan’s Panorama of the Mississippi as an Unintentional Allegory for European Claims to the American West,” Lee Jolliffe, Drake University

“Yosemite Heaven and Yellowstone Hell—or the Power of Narratives to Erase Reality,” Paulette D. Kilmer, University of Toledo


Friday, November 12

9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

“‘We are with the venerable Wesley in his views of slavery’: The Antislavery Coverage of the True Wesleyan, 1843-1844,” Matthew Arendt, Texas Christian University

“In Quest of a Denominationally Unifying Hymnbook: Three Baptist Hymnbooks Published in America Prior to the Formation of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Kimberly Arnold, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Making Tracks: Naming and Framing the Underground Railroad,” Richard Bell, University of Maryland

The Partisan Leader: Press Reaction to the Book that Predicted the Civil War,” James M. Scythes, West Chester University

“Patriotic Fervor, the Civil War Press, and the Execution of William B. Mumford,” Andy Haugen, Valley Catholic High School

“‘An Amusin’ Cuss That Will Bear Watchin’: Artemus Ward and the Nineteenth Century Press,” Crompton B. Burton, University of Maine

“I Could Be a Better Soldier than He Would: Gender Fluidity in the Writings of Female Civil War Soldiers,” Claire Affinito, Boston University

“Security, Economy, Society, and Complexity: White Newspaper Coverage of Race in the West During the 1860s,” Glen Feighery and David J. Vergobbi, University of Utah

1:00–1:30 p.m.

Awards Ceremony

1:30–3:15 p.m. 

“Ambrose Bierce’s Bitter Thoughts on Life and Death,” Joe Marren, SUNY Buffalo State

“The ‘Ghost at Post 1’: The National Tribune and the Supernatural in Civil War Memory,” Amy Laurel Fluker, Youngstown State University

“‘the perfect truth of the facts we shall write’: Two Newspapers, Two Stories about Colfax, Louisiana, Easter Sunday, 1873,” Brian Gabrial, Northwestern State University

“Dreams Deferred: The Southwestern Christian Advocate and the Struggle against Segregation in the South, 1877-1892,” Mike Feely, Missouri State University

3:30–7:15 p.m.

Panel: “Journalism in the Civil War Era Redux”

“New Perspectives on Journalism in the Civil War Era,” David W. Bulla, Augusta University

“Revisiting Conclusions from Journalism in the Civil War Era,” Gregory A. Borchard, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Panel: “Custer Myths, Media, and Monuments: Remembering the Northern Plains War,” William E. Huntzicker, independent scholar, Minneapolis (moderator)

“Creating His Own Myth: George Armstrong Custer as the Author of His Last Stand,” James E. Mueller, University of North Texas

“Photographing Custer’s Battlefield,” Warren E. “Sandy” Barnard, independent scholar

“Indians Real and Imagined: Picturing the War on the Northern Plains,” John Coward, University of Tulsa

Panel: “The Reconstruction of Gone with the Wind,” Brian Gabrial, Northwestern State University of Louisiana (moderator)

“Scarlett’s Web: Feminine Power, Place, and Purpose in Margaret Mitchell’s Seminal Southern Saga,” Dianne Bragg, University of Alabama

“Weaving Myths: ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Birth of Nation’ and Imagining a Nation that Never Was,” tonya thames-taylor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

“A Tense Past:  Gone with the Wind, The Wind Done Gone, Morehouse College, and the Quest for Redemption of Margaret Mitchell,” Clarissa Myrick-Harris, Morehouse College

“Rebel without a Lost Cause: Revisiting Scarlett O’Hara’s Anti-Heroism,” Brian Gabrial, Northwestern State University of Louisiana

7:30–9:30 p.m.

Panel: “The Midwestern Press in the American Civil War,” Debra Reddin van Tuyll, Augusta, GA (moderator)

“The Midwestern Press by the Numbers,” Debra Reddin van Tuyll, Augusta, GA

“Worthy of the City and Age in which We Live: Roles and Functions of the Midwestern Civil War Press,” Katrina J. Quinn, Slippery Rock University

“‘Reports Deemed Reliable’: Newsgathering, Distribution, and Audiences,” Mary M. Cronin, New Mexico State University

“The Political Functions of Midwestern Newspapers during the Civil War,” Michael Fuhlhage, Wayne State University

“Shadowy & Vengeful Prowlers of the Woods: Bushwhackers & Other Guerrillas as Depicted in Midwestern Newspapers During the American Civil War,” Simon Vodrey, Carleton University


Saturday, November 13 

9:00–11:30 a.m. 

Panel: “Civil War in Minnesota: News of the Dakota Challenge to Settler Colonialism,” William E. Huntzicker, independent scholar, Minneapolis (moderator)

“Atrocities, Vengeance, and Justice: Newspaper Depictions of the US-Dakota War and Public Perceptions of a Tragedy,” John A. Haymond, conflict historian

“From the ‘Sioux Massacres’ to the ‘Dakota Genocide’: Minnesota´s ‘Forgotten War’ in the State’s Newspapers,” George Dalbo, University of Minnesota, and Joe Eggers, University of Minnesota 

“Military Injustice and the Public Eye: The U.S.–Dakota War Trials of 1862,” Carol L. Chomsky, University of Minnesota Law School

“One Black Dakota, Many Northern Slaves,” Walt Bachman, lawyer and independent scholar

Panel: “Agency in the Margins: How Women Negotiated The Journalism Industry and Claimed Space to Affect Change At Century’s Turn,” Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (moderator)

“In Pursuit of ‘the Woman’s Angle’: Nelly Bly Documents the Lived Experiences of Women,” Dianne Bragg, University of Alabama

“‘Side by Side’: Native Women Negotiating Identity and Advocacy in a Changing World,” Melissa Greene-Blye, University of Kansas

“‘Iola, the Princess of the Press’: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the Agency of Journalism,” Amber Roessner, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

12:00–3:00 p.m.

Panel: “Presidents and the Press,” Jack Breslin, Iona College (moderator)

“‘Death is Near’: The Last Days of James A Garfield and Ulysses S. Grant in the Gilded Age Press,” Crompton B. Burton, University of Maine

“Lincoln’s Triumph in the West: How California, Oregon and Nevada played a role in the 1864 election,” Joe Marren, SUNY Buffalo State

“Breaking Up the Party: New York’s Partisan Papers and the 1848 Presidential Election,” Erika Pribanic-Smith, University of Texas Arlington

“Press Coverage of 19th Century Presidential Scandals: Jackson, Grant and Cleveland,” Jack Breslin, Iona College

“A.W. Campbell’s Wheeling Intelligencer and the Loyal Rebellion of Western Virginia,” Linda Lockhart, Marietta College

“Eliza Duffey,” Loren Dann

“Reporting on the Risorgimento: The American Catholic Press and Italian Unification 1848-1870,” William Kaiser, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Sponsored by the West Chair of Excellence, the UTC Communication Department, the Walter and Leona Schmitt Family Foundation Research Fund, and the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Fund for the Symposium. All paper sessions are free and open to the public via ZOOM. 

For more information, please contact:

Dr. David Sachsman

George R. West, Jr. Chair of Excellence in Communication and Public Affairs

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Dept. 3003, Lupton Hall 229J

Chattanooga, Tennessee 37403-2598

(423) 425-4219, Cell (423) 645-5330, ,