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MA History Student Rebekah Brown Used Local Research to Discover History of Women In Wood County

I developed this project for my Local History course that helped me develop a set of skills that was extremely useful in developing my MA thesis. I started out questioning what happened in the lives of women as a result of the 19th Amendment, which ensured the right of American women to vote. My thesis uses the participation of rural women within the Ohio League of Women Voters in the 1920s to examine how voluntary activism was shaped in Ohio during the first decade after women had the vote. Since my Local History paper needed to be strongly attached to specific place, I decided to make a thesis chapter a case study of how the League of Women Voters fared in reaching the rural women of Wood County, which was dominantly agricultural at the time.

Through writing this Local History paper/thesis chapter, I learned a great deal about what kinds of records are available for a rural area like Wood County and how to use them when researching. When doing a rural history project, there usually aren’t neatly indexed files organized by topic and author, like you might find at a Presidential Archive. Instead, I read many handwritten Minutes books and Membership Rolls to learn more about what life was like for women living in farm towns in the Twenties. I gained more experience using Census data to question my own assumptions about rural women with data from the time. A single township in Wood County for 1920 had over 600 entries and I realized that the Census contains a wealth of knowledge about ethnicity, race, educational attainment, and profession for people who are often difficult to track through the historical record.

I was surprised by what I found when I delved into the records for Wood County. Contrary to my previous perception that reform movements were all about urban areas, I found a thriving parallel network of rural organizations that were tackling all kinds of rural problems, from cooperative marketing to women’s health commissions. As it turned out, the women of Wood County were committed to the preexisting network of agricultural reform organizations in the Twenties that the Ohio League of Women Voters had a hard time gaining traction with this group, who they thought were unorganized and uninterested in reform! By tracking how the League of Women Voters operated in Wood County, I realized that there was a pattern to their outreach efforts. By the end of the Twenties, the League had begun to switch its emphasis to forming college Leagues, like the one they started at the Bowling Green Normal College in 1926. These students were demographically and professionally similar to the leadership of the League leaders, and thus an easier avenue to pursue. This reflects the larger national shift of white, middle-class women from voluntary activism into professional social work through organizations like the League, Extension Agencies, or state agencies. By extending my research with the records the CAC holds of the Bowling Green League of Women Voters, I could examine why it took until the 1950s for the League to make considerable inroads among rural women in Wood County.

*Snapshot of Wood County, Lake Township, Grange Hall, Circa 1920MS 205, Patrons of Husbandry, Ohio State Grange, Lake Grange #2205, Box #4, CAC, BGSU

Trip to Coasta Rica Inspires Future Study Abroad Course

By Scott C. Martin

1968 was an explosive year.  In Chicago, the Democratic National Convention produced riots, police violence, and vehement protest against the Vietnam War.  Student unrest and demonstrations in the United States, Mexico, France, and elsewhere rocked political and educational establishments around the world.   A different type of explosion occurred that year in Costa Rica; one that would change the nation’s rural community culture, terrain, and environmental policy.  To commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the explosion of Volcan Arenal, last month my spouse, Dr. Lara Martin Lengel, and I visited La Fortuna, a popular destination in the Zona Norte region, and the gateway to Volcan Arenal, the site of the massive 1968 eruption and lava flow.  A steep trek up narrow, rocky paths to the top of the lava fields reveals a landscape changed by tons of lava, now cooled into extensive swathes of black, volcanic rock, interspersed here and there with lone orange or white orchids, and patches of ground covered in blue berries.  At some points along the lava trail, one also finds magnificent views of Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest body of fresh water.

Volcan Arenal

Volcan Arenal

During our trip, we also visited Volcan Irazú, Costa Rica’s highest active volcano, which on a clear day offers the only view in the country of both the Caribbean and the Pacific; Playa Palo Seco, a barrier island on the Central Pacific coast that is home to a pristine beach and a mangrove swamp noted for its biodiversity; and the Museo de Artes Costarricense, a museum dedicated to Costa Rican painting and sculpture, housed in nation’s first international airport terminal in San Jose, the nation’s capital.

Our visit to Costa Rica served as a reconnaissance trip to complete planning for a study abroad trip for the 2020 J-term. The combined undergraduate/grad course, entitled “Cultural Studies in Costa Rica” (COMM 4060 Topics in Communication Studies / MC 5870 Workshop in Communication Studies cross-listed with HIST 4950 Workshop on Current Topics / HIST 5820 Problems in History) includes course meetings, virtual or face-to-face, before and after the fifteen-day field study program to Costa Rica.  The course will cover the history and culture of Costa Rica, with emphasis on Costa Rican political history, social and cultural development, and environmental policy.  Students will spend time in the Central Valley, Central Pacific, and Caribbean regions, as well as the cities of San Jose, Alajuela, Cartago, and Jaco.

Experiences and excursions include volunteering at a rescued animal refuge housing sloths, toucans, coati, and several species of monkeys; ascending Volcan Irazú, the country’s highest active volcano; touring Cartago, Costa Rica’s colonial capital city; visiting Jaco, a Pacific town that attracts surfers from across the globe; and exploring Guayabo, a pre-Columbian archaeological site that scientists compare to Peru’s Machu Picchu.

Costa Rica attracts international interest for its natural beauty, biodiversity, and progressive politics.  The most stable democracy in Central America, Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948, committing the nation to peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.  Progressive legislation aims at promoting social equality, democratic government, and environmental protection.  Costa Rica’s rainforests, cloud forests, volcanoes, mangroves, mountains and coastal regions provide habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna, making Costa Rica one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.    A visit to this fascinating country has much to offer tourists, students, and scholars.

Dan Masters, History MA Student Awarded the Local History Publication Award for 2017

Dan Masters Bowling Green State University master’s student was awarded the Local History Publication Award for 2017 from the Center For Archival Collections presenting on his work on Shermans Praetorian Guard: Civil War Letters of John McIntrye Lemmon 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Masters created the book from of his work indexing the letters of American Civil War soldiers writing home to Northwest Ohio newspapers. Masters was drawn to the project after writing his first book No Greater Glory which examined the writing of the 144th Ohio Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. While researching the book he happened upon thousands of Civil War letters from soldiers from Northwest Ohio in local papers and wondered how much more of this material was there? Masters began to index the letters in collaboration with the Center for Archival Collections to create an index of the letters.

Masters book focuses on the letters of John McIntrye Lemmon a Captain for the 72nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry writing to the Fremont Journal. During the war it was not uncommon for soldier to write letters to their hometown newspapers about the war. The soldier’s correspondence was an asset to the local papers as they served an important role in the community by providing information about the men of the local regiment; particularly once they have engaged in battle. Lemmon’s correspondence to the Fremont Journal struck him as having “the ring of true metal.” As Lemmon gave straight forward manner in discussing the success and problems within the regiment. For example during the occupation of Memphis in the Fall of 1862 Lemmon wrote how the men had easy access to alcohol which ended up in the deaths of 2 men. Lemmon detailed the daily life ofthe regiment in and out of battle. Detailing the lives of the soldiers in camp and giving a unique perspective and voice to the events of the regiment during key moments of their time of service including the grim battle of Brice’s Crossroad where 253 of the 396 men of the Ohio 72nd where casualties.

Masters is currently enrolled as a master’s history student in the Department of History at Bowling Green State University. Where he plans to continue research in military history and its relation to local history. While continuing work for his pressColumbian Arsenal Press publishing letters of soldiers during the Civil War offering firsthand accounts of the war in a more easily accessible format. For more information checkout

Digitizing The Past: Interning For Monroe History Museum

by Lee Slusher, MA Fall 2018

Over the course of the summer and early fall of 2018 I completed an internship for Monroe County Museum in Monroe, Michigan. The museum offers educational programs for scouts, elderly, and people of all ages. Monroe County Museum creates exhibits and presentations focused on Monroe Counties local history; they manage historical sites at their Territorial park and Monroe County Fairgrounds providing living history programs depicting life in Monroe County from the 1810s to the 1820s. Their collections and programs in the past traditionally focused on the region’s famous native General George Armstrong Custer. In recent years the museum has diversified their programming to educate about the unique history of Monroe County and its citizens. Their mission is to fuel and cultivate their visitors’ curiosity through the exploration of Monroe County’s rich and varied stories, joining together to unearth meaning and illuminate relevant connections between the past, present, and future.

I became involved with the museum through an interview with the director Andy Clark through the Historical Administration course, taught by Holly Hartlerode, in the spring of 2018. The goal of the interview was to speak with a working public historian in the field about their jobs, institution, and previous experiences. During a constructive conversation with Andy about the museum, I grew interested in their mission of  fueling and cultivating their visitors’ curiosity in Monroe County’s rich and varied history, going beyond the figure of General Custer. Working with Dr. Rebecca Mancuso, Lee set up the Public History Internship and began work with them in May of 2018.

The museum is actively in the process of digitizing the archival and photography collection of the museum. My role focused on the digitization and preservation of the photography collection. Working in PastPerfect software, I scanned and researched the photographs to log notes regarding their significance to Monroe County’s history.  The photographs and my annotations, will be used by researchers and museum staff to set up future exhibits and educational materials. Working for the Monroe County Museum was a unique opportunity to see the inside operation of a local history organization and their daily function, and to apply the critical thinking of historians to create accurate interpretations about the past and drive curiosity about the local histories of our communities.

Prof. Mary Dudziak to Give 2018 Hess Lecture

The Department of History at BGSU is delighted to announce that Professor Mary L. Dudziak, a leading U.S. legal historian and the 2017 President of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), will present this fall the 2018 Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History on Monday, October 22ndat 4:00pmin the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Room 228.

Prof. Dudziak

Prof. Dudziak

Professor Dudziak’s lecture, tentatively entitled “The War Powers Pivot: How Congress Lost its Power in Korea,”will derive from the Korean War chapter in her forthcoming book, Going to War: An American History.  Under contract with Oxford University Press, the book will present a revisionist account of the decline of political restraints on presidential war power. Her research on the topic has been influenced by Dr. Hess’s book, Presidential Decisions for War.We believe her discussion of the Korean conflict and presidential war powers will be particularly timely.

Professor Dudziak is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory University.  Her recent and current research lies at the intersection of domestic law and U.S. international affairs, examining war and political accountability in American history. She is the author of War·Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012); and editor of September 11 in History: A Watershed Moment? (Duke University Press, 2003); She founded the Legal History Blog and contributes to Balkinization, a group blog on constitutional law, theory, and politics. .

War-Time Book CoverMany of us have admired Professor Dudziak’s scholarship since the appearance of her earlier work that examined the impact of Cold War foreign affairs on civil rights policy. She is the author of Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (Oxford University Press, 2008); Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000) (2nd ed. 2011); and co-editor (with Leti Volpp) of Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, a special issue of American Quarterly(September 2005), reissued by Johns Hopkins University Press in March 2006. Other works on civil rights history and 20th-century constitutional history have appeared in numerous law reviews and other journals.

Prof. Hess

Prof. Hess

Prior to joining Emory Law in 2012, she was the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; she also held joint appointments in USC’s departments of history and political science. Prior to joining USC Law, she was a law clerk for Judge Sam J. Ervin, III, of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a professor of law and history at the University of Iowa. Prof. Dudziak served as the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Duke Law School and as the William Nelson Cromwell Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. She has also been a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Professor Dudziak earned JD, MA, MPhil and PhD degrees from Yale University and an AB from the University of California, Berkeley.

Established by Dr. Hess’s former students to recognize his forty-five years of service to the department, BGSU, and the profession, Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy Historyis an annual distinguished lecture invites a senior scholar in the field of foreign relations or military history to present a public lecture on a topic in their field of expertise.


Past presenters of the Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History:


2017 “ The Paradox of Wilsonianism: World War I and American Internationalism”

Lloyd Ambrosius, University of Nebraska

2016 “A Grain of SALT: Arms Control, the Soviet Threat, and the War on the CIA”

Richard Immerman, Temple University

2015 “Mission Accomplished or Mission Failure? The United States and Iraq since 1990”

Peter L. Hahn, Ohio State University

2014 “The Atomic Bombings Reconsidered”

Barton J. Bernstein, Stanford University

2013 “Are Indians Part of Diplomatic History?”

Walter L. Hixson, University of Akron

2011 “Analogies at War: The Use and Misuse of History in Foreign Policy Decision-Making”

George Herring, University of Kentucky


Why is the history major a good option for business careers?

Nathan Boyle, recently named the Director of Project Management at the Thread Marketing Group, has had a successful business career as a consultant in marketing and e-commerce. Despite this, his collegiate career didn’t start with a business degree; instead, he graduated BGSU with a degree in history. The path may seem odd, but not for Nathan, who credits his training in historical skills as a major boost for his career. Dr. Amílcar Challú and I interviewed Nathan about his views about the importance of college-level historical training in launching a career.

It did not take much prodding to get to Nathan’s opinion about why studying history matters: “[It] developed certain skills that set me apart from traditional business applicants” in my first job, he said. “Critical thinking skills are the most important characteristic a person can have in any field. Unfortunately, the skill is not taught in grade school and many college programs do not teach it either.” History programs, on the other hand, teach and develop critical thinkers, which set historians apart. From understanding historical significance, to interpreting the past from varied and potentially biased evidence, historians are expected to think critically about everything. Expanding on the advantages critical thinking and other historical skills such as analysis, organization and perspective provided him, Nathan states that his history degree allowed him to pursue any career he wanted post-university life. “History afforded me a virtual blank check. I could go to law school. Business school. Become a doctor. Go to history graduate school. Get a job. Do whatever I wanted.” History degrees do not all go on to become professors or get a PhD. Many go into business, become museum professionals, work for the government, go to law school, etc. Historians and their skills are universal across the world.

Nathan Boyle, BGSU History Alum, 1997

Can you give an advice to current history students? Education itself is the most important aspect of going to college, not having a set-in career path. “Educating yourself is the most important thing as it develops responsible societal citizens who can make a better world. You do not need a set career in place. I didn’t!  No matter what you do, no one can take your education from you.” He urges students to take your time, enjoy the ride, and develop the skills necessary to succeed later in life. As Nathan so eloquently stated, “You can make your career later,” especially with a liberal arts degree in history.  Asked for final comments related to the question of if he had any regrets studying history instead of business or other, more “practical” degrees, he laughed simply yet stated emphatically “none”.

Next time somebody asks you what you can do with a history degree, simply say “whatever I want.” Because, as Nathan Boyle pointed out and proves, you truly can go anywhere and do anything, especially when accompanied by universal skills honed by the historical process.

John Stawicki. John Stawicki is a recent History alum. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in history as well as a CPA.

Dr. Nicole Jackson’s Presentation at Way Library

Dr. Jackson Presenting

“Toledo’s Great Migrations: Two or Three?”  BGSU’s own Dr. Nicole Jackson, Associate Professor of History, posed this question to a diverse audience at Way Public Library in Perrysburg on Wednesday evening, June 27.

The usual story identifies Toledo as part of two great migrations:  Migration #1 was the movement of former slaves away from their masters’ homes after the Civil War; Migration #2 was the movement of rural African Americans to urban areas in the north and west between the 1940s and 1970s.  Dr. Jackson suggested an additional Migration for Toledo: the movement of fugitive slaves from slave-holding states to Ohio, other northern states and Canada.  In this alternate Migration #1, Toledo played a major role, both by creating incipient black communities and by extending the pathway from slavery to freedom for those fleeing bondage in slave-holding states.  Black communities established in the Toledo area during the first two migrations attracted those who came in the third migration.  Dr. Jackson’s presentation on this aspect of local history drew lively questions and discussion from the audience and provided an excellent example of the way scholars can connect the university and the public.

We’re hiring!

The Department of History is recruiting a full-time instructor in the field of Ancient History. Please check for the full description. (If the link doesn’t work, please check go to, then search the History Department posting.) It’s a great time to join us: excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, professional development, curriculum innovation, and great colleagues and students. The deadline to apply for the position is June 21.

New Course: Slave Resistance, Fugitivity and the Underground Railroad

The Department of History is pleased to announce that Dr. Jackson will be offering a new course in the fall: HIST 3910, “Slave Resistance, Fugitivity and the Underground Railroad.”

The Underground Railroad MapThe course counts as an elective in the History major and minor, it is cross-listed with Ethnic Studies 3000, and fulfills the upper-division requirement of the Multidisciplinary Core of the College of Arts and Sciences. It will meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 11:30-12:20.

From Dr. Jackson:

There are only a few well known instances of slave rebellion in the United States, and only one successful revolution in the Americas, a fact that slave owners often used to assert that enslaved people were happy with their bondage. But as Harriet Tubman allegedly said, “There were two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” Enslaved people constantly resisted the dehumanization of their enslavement in any way they could, even if it cost them their lives. This course looks at the history of slavery through the eyes of people who refused to let the institution of slavery rob them of the large and small freedoms all humans crave. We will consider slave narratives, rebellions and representations of slave resistance in popular culture (films, novels, television). The course will also investigate the important role that Ohio, especially northwest Ohio, and Michigan, in particular Detroit, played in the history of the Underground Railroad and free Black communities. 


Recognizing Excellence in Our History Students

We held our annual Celebration of Excellence in History today. This was a collaborative effort of faculty, staff, Phi Alpha Theta and alums to recognize undergraduate and graduate student achievement with awards and scholarships.





Established in 1993 in honor of Dr. Lawrence J. Friedman, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the Department of History. This award is given for outstanding graduate student research.  The dissertation/thesis must be nominated in writing by the student’s mentor.

Presented by Dr. Ruth W. Herndon to Michael Horton



Awarded to a graduate student that submits the best paper from a History class during the 2017 year (Spring, Summer, and Fall 2017 semesters).

                                    Presented by Dr. Michael E. Brooks to Chris Lause

                                    Honorable Mention: Rebekah Brown 



This award is presented to the graduate student recognized as the outstanding teaching assistant in the BGSU Department of History.

Presented by Dr. Kara E. Barr to Kaysie Harrington



Kyle Penzinski receives special recognition from peers in Phi Alpha Theta

This award is presented to a graduate student for meritorious contributions to the BGSU Department of History.

                                    Presented by Dr. Rebecca J. Mancuso to Kyle Penzinski





Presented to an undergraduate student who submits an excellent history research paper based on primary sources. Recipient agrees to present their work in a public forum sponsored by the Department of History.

Presented by Dr. Luke A. Nichter to Austin Kepling: “Thunderclap from a Cloudless Sky: German-Americans in Northwest Ohio during the Great War” Written for Dr. Benjamin Greene’s HIST 4800: 20th Century America (Fall 2017)



 Created in 2001 by Jo Enger Arthur’s son, Mike Arthur, BGSU class of 1974, in honor of his mother’s interest in history and overseas travel.  Jo Arthur studied history at BGSU, where she later met her husband E. Printy Arthur, BGSU class of 1950. This scholarship offers support for study abroad for majors or minors in history, integrated social studies, international studies, or European language.  Applicants will normally have completed at least 12 hours of history courses and have a GPA in history of 3.2 or higher.

Presented by Dr. Kara E. Barr to Emily Ambrose


Established in 2001 in honor of Dr. Stuart R. Givens, former Chair and Professor Emeritus of the History Department, and University historian, and his wife Florence P. Givens.  Dr. Given’s forty-five year career was dedicated primarily to his two loves – teaching and service to the University and to the Bowling Green community. This award is presented to a rising senior majoring in history or integrated social studies with a minimum GPA of 3.2.  The student must have a strong record of service to the department, University, or community.

Presented by Dr. Rebecca J. Mancuso to Cooper Clark


Established in 1989 in memory of Dr. Grover Platt, former Chair and Professor Emeritus of the Department of History by his wife Dr. Virginia Platt.  The scholarship was later changed by the couple’s daughter, Carolyn V. Platt, to honor both parents.  Dr. Virginia Platt was a former trustee of the University and served on the History Department faculty. Awarded to an undergraduate student majoring in history.  Preference given to students who are the first generation of their family to attend a college or university, and recognizes academic achievement.

Presented by Dr. Nicole M. Jackson to Rebecca Good and Annebell Meddock



Established in honor of John Schwarz, former Chair of the Department of History.  This scholarship is awarded to a history major for the best essay completed for a history requirement.

Presented by Dr. Luke A. Nichter to Ernest Valladares III “Disaster in Africa: An Examination of the Combat Development of the United States Army at Kasserine Pass,” written for Dr. Benjamin Greene’s HIST 4800: 20th Century America (Fall 2017)


Dr. Nwauwa presents Fulwyler award to Good and Money


Established for the purpose of providing scholarships to History students and to honor the memory of Dr. Virginia Platt.  General Fulwyler received the BGSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1984.  Dr. Virginia Platt was a former trustee of the University and served on the History Department faculty. 

Presented by Dr. Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa to Rebecca Good and Jacob Money



Established by Mary Ellen Keil, a graduate of BGSU.  Keil was a school teacher and later served as a Captain in the USAFR during WWII.  This scholarship is granted to a student who has declared an interest in pursuing studies in history. Preference is given to females, native Ohioans, and for scholastic achievement.  All eligible candidates are automatically referred to the department by the enrolling office. There is no application for the scholarship.

Presented by Dr. Amílcar E. Challú to Renee Altaffer; Debi Kaur; Moira Armstrong; Annabelle Meddock; Kelly Beavers; Anne Mier; Aislinn Bill; Sarah Miller; Chloe Bortz; Megan Miner; Rebecca Good; Kaitlin Osborne; Alannah Graves; Kinzey Schreiber; Haley Hoffman; Olivia Vandevender; Taylor Holtman; Brooke Weirick; Victoria Kahrs; Mary Wires; Alexis Karolin.


Presented to a senior history major for service to the Department and fellow majors combined with demonstrated academic excellence.

Presented by Dr. Rebecca J. Mancuso to Jake Householder



Special recognition for an exemplary role in leading the History Society, assistance with the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, social media, Preview and Presidents’ Day or other History Department activities and events. 

Presented by Dr. Nicole M. Jackson to Dominique Seo


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