ANN: Job as a research assistant/associate in early American legal history

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Individual Client

Research Assistant/Associate in Legal History


Institution Type:  Other
Location:  VirginiaUnited States
Position:  Research Professional


Historian Amy Speckart, PhD, seeks support in legal history research and analysis for a Historic Resource Study (HRS) of Thomas Stone National Historic Site in Charles County, Maryland. The 328-acre property, also known as Haberdeventure, was a home of lawyer and planter Thomas Stone (1743–1787), a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Supplementing an existing Historic Resource Study (1988), the current project pays particular attention to the subjects of agriculture, family, labor, and Stone’s legal career between 1765 and 1787 with the goal of placing extant cultural resources at the park in historical and geographical context. Primary source collection is anticipated to last through early 2019, with delivery of a final product in 2020.

Candidates with a background in legal history are encouraged to apply for the specific work of documenting and contextualizing Stone’s profession as a lawyer. Research topics in this portion of the HRS include, but are not limited to, legal education, Stone’s law library of 530 volumes, the scope of Stone’s law practice, the relationship between his profession as a lawyer and his other roles in society, and the development of his legal and political philosophies. The assistant/associate will have at his or her disposal a bibliography of Maryland legal history and a preliminary research plan to sample Maryland court records. Co-authorship opportunities will be considered.

The breakdown of work will be as follows:

  • 50% -- collect primary and secondary source materials (access electronic records, travel to the Maryland State Archives to examine manuscript materials, obtain electronic and/or printed copies)
  • 10% -- organize primary source information for project lead
  • 30% -- synthesize and analyze primary source research
  • 10% -- advise the project on legal history questions and other duties as needed

The ideal candidate will bring experience and background knowledge about early American legal history and its methods to the job. The quality of the assistant’s work must be consistent with the highest standards of scholarship and include careful documentation of the sources consulted. Research notes will be submitted electronically in fulfillment of the agreement between the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the National Park Service (NPS) under whose auspices the historic resource study is conducted. 

Part-time, temporary. Fixed term (up to six months, starting immediately). Flexible hours.


  • Minimum of a Master’s degree in history or a related field
  • Knowledge of early American history, 1750–1820
  • Knowledge of eighteenth-century American or British legal history


  • Possesses own means of transportation to Maryland State Archives in Annapolis
  • Has access to the internet and electronic library databases (such as Hein Online and JSTOR)

Skills and Abilities:

  • Able to read and transcribe eighteenth-century manuscripts
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills


  • Experience in archival research
  • PhD or enrollment in a doctoral program


  • $20-25 an hour, commensurate with experience. No benefits. A total of $3,500 has been budgeted for this position.
  • Transportation by car will be reimbursed at the current federal rate for mileage.

Candidates are invited to send a c.v. or résumé, cover letter, and contact information for three references to the project lead, Amy Speckart, PhD, at For inquiries by phone, call (757) 876-8922.

Amy Speckart holds a PhD in American Studies from the College of William and Mary, a M.A. in History from Harvard University, and B.A. in History from UC Berkeley. She has worked for numerous cultural heritage organizations in the U.S. and abroad and served as assistant editor at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University. More recently, she has collaborated on projects about African-American history in twentieth-century Virginia. She currently is Assistant to the Director of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.





Amy Speckart, PhD. 


Phone: (757) 876-8922


Primary Category:Law and Legal History
Secondary Categories:African American History / Studies
American History / Studies
Atlantic History / Studies
Political History / Studies
Colonial America
Posting Date:11/16/2018
Closing Date07/15/2019