Distinguished Lecture

Each spring, the Reeder endowment brings to the YSU campus a nationally-renowned scholar in the field of nineteenth-century American history.


Dr. Brian Matthew Jordan

“Enduring Civil War: Life, Death, and Survival in America’s Defining Conflict”
April 18, 2024


Dr. Jonathan S. Jones

“Opium Slavery: Civil War Veterans and Opioid Addiction”
April 27, 2023

In the Civil War’s wake, many veterans struggled with lingering pain and disabling sicknesses. To cope, former soldiers often turned to opioids, and tens of thousands became addicted to the drugs. This presentation investigates how the Civil War sparked an opioid addiction crisis among veterans, how addiction affected their lives, and what the phenomenon reveals about the war’s traumatic aftershocks in the postwar decades.


Dr. Hilary N. Green

“Remembering Gettysburg: Joseph Winters, Songs and Civil War Memory”
March 24, 2022

Focusing on a Black Chambersburg songwriter, this lecture explores how Joseph Winters contributed to African American memory of the Gettysburg campaign through songwriting. By documenting the African American experience during the Gettysburg campaign, Green will show how Winters continued to draw on this local memory for securing Black men’s vote in the 1876, 1880 and 1912 Presidential campaigns. This lecture was recorded and may be viewed here.

2021 – Inaugural Lecture

Dr. Sarah Handley-Cousins

“Disability and the American Civil War”
March 18, 2021

From Gone with the Wind to Mercy Street, Civil War pop culture is full of gory amputations. Magazines and newspapers from the war era are littered with patriotic stories, illustrations, and songs full of sentimental praise for the sacrifice of the “empty sleeves.” Indeed, amputation has become shorthand for Civil War disability–but that shorthand leaves an awful lot out. In this talk, Dr. Sarah Handley-Cousins discussed how reevaluating definitions of disability can shift what we think we know about the bodily toll exacted by the Civil War. This lecture was recorded and may be viewed here.