Melanie Kiechle is Interim Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies in fall 2019, and Associate Professor of History at Virginia Tech. She earned her doctorate at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and completed her undergraduate degree at Colgate University.
Kiechle researches, writes, and teaches about the culture, environments, cities, health, science, and smells of the nineteenth-century United States. Her first book, Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America, includes a chapter on the smells of Civil War camps, battlefields, hospitals, and prisons. Inhaling the stenches of these spaces, Kiechle argues, was the reason that soldiers compared camps to cities, and transformed Americans’ attitudes toward public health after the war. She has also published in Journal of Urban History, Science as Culture, and has an article forthcoming about the changing meaning of “health is wealth” in the Journal of Social History.
You may reach Kiechle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540/231-7523
Paul Quigley is Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and the James I. Robertson, Jr. Associate Professor of Civil War History in the History Department at Virginia Tech. A native of Manchester, England, he holds degrees from Lancaster University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Quigley is the author of Shifting Grounds: Nationalism and the American South, 1848-65, which won the British Association for American Studies Book Prize, the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy, and the Albert Lee Sturm Award from the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. His work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Southern History and Journal of the Civil War Era, as well as the Roanoke Times, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and the New York Times Disunion section. In 2018 he published an edited volume entitled The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship, and another essay collection, Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives, coedited with his colleague James E. Hawdon. Among his current research projects are a study of Preston Brooks, the South Carolina Congressman who achieved notoriety by caning Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856, and Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era, a collaborative digital humanities project with colleagues in Education, Computer Science, and the Virginia Tech libraries.
He serves on the board of the Society of Civil War Historians, the editorial board of the journal Civil War History, the board of the Smithfield-Preston Foundation, and the historians’ advisory board of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond.
William C. “Jack” Davis is the former Executive Director of the Center. A native of Independence, Missouri, he was educated in Northern California, spent 20 years in editorial management in the magazine and book publishing industry, then left the industry in 1990 to spend the next decade working as a writer and consultant.
Davis is author or editor of more than 50 books and numerous documentary screenplays in the fields of Civil War and southern history. He has also served as consultant for numerous television productions, including the Arts & Entertainment Network/History Channel series “Civil War Journal. He is a three-time winner of the Jefferson Davis Award given for book-length works on Confederate history. Among his most recent books is Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee–The War they Fought, the Peace they Forged.
James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr. is Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Center. The Danville, Va., native served as executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and played a leading role in Virginia’s Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.
Robertson is the author or editor of more than 20 books. His biography of Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, won an unprecedented eight national awards and was used as the foundation for the portrayal of Jackson in the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. film, Gods and Generals, released in 2003. He has regularly appeared in Civil War programs on the Arts & Entertainment Network, the History Channel, C-Span, and public television, and he recorded a weekly Civil War program that aired on 11 public radio stations. He is also a lecturer of national acclaim and was one of the most popular teachers in the history of Virginia Tech, attracting some 300 students each semester to his Civil War course.