#NEHstories: Martha Hodes
With an NEH-funded residential fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society (2012‒13), I completed my third book, Mourning Lincoln, published by Yale University Press. The NEH funding made it possible to publish this book in time to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, in 2015, which in turn permitted me to reach many different kinds of audiences interested in Lincoln and his legacy. Reaching such a variety of audiences, both within and beyond the academy, has proven a truly invaluable experience. At more than fifty engagements, I have spoken not only to students, faculty, and members of the general public at colleges and universities but also to students and teachers at elementary schools and high schools, and to audiences at public libraries, historical societies, book festivals, and a host of other public venues. To wit: I spoke at Gettysburg National Military Park and at Ford’s Theatre in Washington (where Lincoln was shot); at West Virginia University and the University of Northern Illinois; at Harvard University and the John F. Kennedy Institute in Berlin, Germany; at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and at the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable. I appeared on the PBS News Hour and on Civil War Talk Radio, as well as on public radio stations in Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. My lectures were nearly always followed by question-and-answer sessions, and many of the radio interviews included call-in comments and questions. With op-eds and essays drawn from this NEH-funded book, I also reached readers of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Salon, and the Civil War Monitor. The NEH, in fact, plays a triple role in the life of Mourning Lincoln: Along with funding my research for the book, the NEH also funded a Landmarks of American History and Culture Teacher Workshop at Ford’s Theatre in which I participated, and the NEH will fund a 2017 Summer Institute for School Teachers at the New-York Historical Society in which I will serve as panelist, in both cases drawing on Mourning Lincoln to enrich the classroom lessons of teachers across the country.
14 June 2017
About the Author
Martha Hodes is Professor of History at New York University.