Annual Conference 2020 Hero
Rob Shenk

Speaker & Historian Biographies

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All of our Outstanding 2020 Annual Conference Presenters

Speakers & Historians:

Garry Adelman

A graduate of Michigan State University and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Garry Adelman is the award-winning author, co-author or editor of 20 books and 50 Civil War articles. He is the vice president of the Center for Civil War Photography and has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg for 25 years. He has conceived and drafted the text for wayside exhibits at ten battlefields, has given thousands of battlefield tours at more than 60 sites and has lectured at hundreds of locations across the country including the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. He has appeared as a speaker on the BBC, C-Span, Pennsylvania Cable Network, American Heroes Channel, and on HISTORY where he was a chief consultant and talking head on the Emmy Award-winning show Gettysburg (2011) and Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color (2015).  He works full time as Chief Historian at the American Battlefield Trust.

Paige Gibbons Backus 

A native of Wisconsin, Paige Gibbons Backus graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Historic Preservation, and George Mason University with a master’s degree in Applied History. She has been in the public history field for close to ten years focusing on educational programming and operations working at several historic sites throughout Northern Virginia including Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Sully Historic Site, and Ben Lomond Historic Site. She currently serves Prince William County as the Historic Site Manager at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre (a 19th century courthouse and jail complex) and Lucasville School (an African American schoolhouse).

When out of the office, Paige spends her time serving on the board of the Virginia Association of Museums, exploring, being outdoors, or researching her interests which include women’s history, as well as the more morbid side of history such as death, disease, medicine, and murder. Her published works include Witness to Peace and Strife: The History of Ben Lomond in Manassas, Virginia, as well as well as numerous articles published for a variety of publications such as Emerging Civil War, Virginia Association of Museum’s Voice Magazine, Civil War Traveler, and Prince William Living. 

Sarah Kay Bierle

Sarah serves on staff at Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and is the managing editor for Emerging Civil War’s blog. A graduate from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in History, she has spent the last few years researching, writing, and speaking about the American Civil War. Her fourth book "Call Out The Cadets" - a nonfiction study on the Battle of New Market released in Spring 2019. Sarah is currently pursuing research on Confederate artillery officers, Civil War civilians, and the Union II Corps.

Dr. Daryl Black 

Dr. Black received his Ph.D. in American Cultural History from the University of California, Irvine in 2001. A life-long student of the Civil War, he has taught at the university level and worked in museum settings for over 20 years. His scholarly interests range from the study of memory, race and religion in the United States to the new military history of the Civil War. He is currently working on a religious history of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia that situates the Civil War era as a major religious watershed in the southern United States. Taking a long view, the study stretches from the early 19th century through the early debates over fundamentalism in the early 20th century. His most recent essay “‘Our Victory Here Has Been Complete’: The War in Tennessee: 1863” appears in the Cambridge History of the American Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Past essays include, “Relics of Reunion: Souvenirs and Memory at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, 1889-1895” in Popular Culture and the American Civil War: Memory and Meaning ed. Lawrence A. Kreiser, Randal Allred (University Press of Kentucky, 2014)’ “’Of Course we claim to be Americans: Revolution, Memory and Race in Up-Country Georgia Baptist Churches, 1772-1849” in Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History and Nation Making from Independence to the Civil War ed. Clare Courbold, Michael McDonnell, and Fitzhugh Brundage (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013); and “’The Excitement of High and Holy Affections:’ Baptist Revival and Cultural Creation in the Upper-Piedmont Georgia Cotton Belt, 1800-1828,” Georgia Historical Quarterly (Fall 2003).

Richard "Rich" Condon

Rich Condon is a public historian based out of Western Pennsylvania, although he began his career as a battlefield guide in Franklin, Tennessee. For nine years he has worked with a multitude of sites and organizations including The Battle of Franklin Trust, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, and Flight 93 National Memorial. Rich is a contributing writer for the Pennsylvania in the Civil War blog, and Director of Civil War Pittsburgh - an organization focused on education and preservation regarding Western Pennsylvania’s role in the American Civil War.

Dan Davis

Dan Davis is the Education Associate at the American Battlefield Trust. He is a native of Fredericksburg, VA where his love for the Civil War began on childhood trips to local battlefields. Dan is a graduate of Longwood University with a bachelor’s degree in Public History. Dan has worked as a Ranger/Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Site and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on the Civil War and is a regular contributor to Emerging Civil War. He currently resides in Fredericksburg.

Robert M. "Bert" Dunkerly 

Robert M. "Bert" Dunkerly is a historian, award-winning author, and speaker who is actively involved in historic preservation and research.  He holds a degree in History from St. Vincent College and a Masters in Historic Preservation from Middle Tennessee State University.  He has worked at fourteen historic sites, written twelve books and numerous scholarly articles.  His research includes archaeology, colonial life, military history, and historic commemoration.  He is a past President of the Richmond Civil War Round Table, and serves on the Preservation Commission for the American Revolution Round Table-Richmond.  He has taught courses at Central Virginia Community College, the University of Richmond, and the Virginia Historical Society.  Dunkerly is currently a Park Ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park.  He has visited over 500 battlefields and over 1000 historic sites worldwide.  He enjoys exploring local bookstores, battlefields, and breweries, not necessarily in that order.

Henry P. "Hank" Elliott

Henry P. Elliott is a historian at Manassas National Battlefield Park, where he has worked since 2007.  During his twenty-year career with the National Park Service, he has also worked at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Chalmette Battlefield, a unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.  He is the author of the feature article on First Manassas in Blue & Gray Magazine and is currently writing a regimental history on the 4th South Carolina Volunteers. He resides in Jeffersonton, Virginia.  

Dennis E. Frye 

Dennis E. Frye retired as Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park after serving 20 years in that position. Dennis has authored 11 books and 104 articles, writing for every major Civil War publication. His latest books include Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny; Antietam Shadows; and September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril. As a co-founder and past president of an organization preceding the American Battlefield Trust, and as co-founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Dennis earned the "Shelby Foote Award." For his three-decade career as a preservationist and innovative educator with the NPS, the Department of Interior awarded Dennis its highest recognition, its "Distinguished Service Award." Dennis has appeared frequently on national television, including on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, Military Channel, Travel Channel, A&E, Fox News, CSPAN and Voice of America. Dennis also is a renowned battlefield guide, leading tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic and New York Times.  

A. Wilson “Will” Greene

Recently retired as executive director of Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier following a 17-year tenure, Will Greene is also the former president & CEO of one of the Trust’s predecessor organizations, the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. He served 16 years with the National Park Service at a variety of historic sites and holds degrees in history from Florida State University and Louisiana State University. Greene is a frequent lecturer and study leader for the Smithsonian Institution and the Blue and Gray Education Society, and he has spoken to more than 100 Civil War roundtables and provided more than 50 tours to special-interest groups. He has completed more than 30 Civil War and Southern historical publications and is currently under contract with the University of North Carolina Press to write a three-volume history of the Petersburg Campaign, the first volume of which was released in June of 2018.

Phillip S. Greenwalt

Phillip S. Greenwalt is the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and a historian with Emerging Civil War. He is the author or co-author of five publications in the Emerging Revolutionary War and Emerging Civil War Series. He is currently a park ranger with the National Park Service in Florida but has worked at American history national park sites in Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. 

Kate Egner Gruber

Kate Egner Gruber is the special exhibition curator for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia. Gruber earned her B.A. in historic preservation and classical humanities at the University of Mary Washington before receiving an M.A. in early American history from The College of William and Mary. She also holds a certificate in early American history, museum studies, and material culture from the National Institute of American History and Democracy. Gruber enjoys developing exhibitions on a wide range of topics in early American history at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. She currently serves as Vice President of the Virginia Forum and sits on the State Historical Records Advisory Board. Kate has contributed to the Emerging Revolutionary War blog and Encyclopedia Virginia. 

John Hennessy 

John Hennessy is the author of three books, including Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas (by Simon & Schuster, and a main selection of the History Book Club). He is presently the Chief Historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  

Christopher "Chris" L. Kolakowski 

Christopher L. Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. He received his BA in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his MA in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany.

Chris has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kentucky State Parks, and the U.S. Army. He has written and spoken on various aspects of military history from 1775 to the present. He has published two books with the History Press: The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass and The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat. In September 2016 the U.S. Army published his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War. He is a contributor to the Emerging Civil War Blog, and his study of the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign titled Last Stand on Bataan was released in late February 2016. He is currently working on a book about the 1944 India-Burma battles.

On January 6, 2020, Chris became Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, after serving as MacArthur Memorial Director from September 16, 2013, to December 6, 2019.

Dr. Chris Mackowski

Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War. He is the series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie, and the “Engaging the Civil War” Series, published in partnership with Southern Illinois University Press. Chris is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, and historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. He has also worked as a historian for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, where he gives tours at four major Civil War battlefields (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania), as well as at the building where Stonewall Jackson died. Chris has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War, and his articles have appeared in all the major Civil War magazines. Chris serves on the national advisory board for the Civil War Chaplains Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Mark Maloy 

Mark Maloy’s decade-long career in public history and archaeology has seen him explore and interpret many pivotal sites from our country’s first centuries — from Pocahontas’s village at Werowocomoco to his current Park Service posting at the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which administers Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial. He holds an undergraduate degree in History from the College of William and Mary and a graduate degree in History from George Mason University. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, his interest in history was sparked by visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate as a child. He is an avid Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactor and living historian. An active contributor to the Emerging Revolutionary War Era community, he is the author of the book, "Victory or Death: The Battles of Trenton and Princeton."

Shannon McLucas

Biography coming soon. 

Anne Gillespie Mitchell 

Anne Gillespie Mitchell has been at Ancestry for eleven years on products including Ancestry Library, AncestryK12 and most recently the Civil War Stories Project. She has taught genealogy courses at many national conferences including NGS, FGS and RootsTech and SLIG as well as multiple online Ancestry Academy courses. Anne has a MS degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, where she also taught Computer Science for 8 years.

James "Jim" Morgan 

A lifelong Civil War enthusiast, Jim is a native of New Orleans, where his family eventually settled after “Morganza,” the family plantation some 40 miles upriver from Baton Rouge, was destroyed during the Civil War.  His Civil War ancestors served in the Pointe Coupee Artillery, the 6th Louisiana Battery, and the 41st Mississippi Infantry.

Jim grew up in Pensacola, Florida, lived for 23 years in Lovettsville, Virginia not far from the Ball’s Bluff battlefield, and now lives with his wife, Betsy, in Charleston where he is a volunteer at Forts Moultrie and Sumter.  As a Civil War reenactor, he has done both Union and Confederate artillery and infantry impressions.

Jim is a co-founder and current president of the new Fort Sumter Civil War Round Table in Charleston and recently joined the board of the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust.  He also is a past president of the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable in Leesburg, VA and was a co-founder and chairman of the Friends of Ball’s Bluff.  He served on the Loudoun County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee from 2009-15 and on the board of the Mosby Heritage Area Association from 2009-17.  During that same period, he was a member of the advisory board of the Thomas Balch History and Genealogy Library in Leesburg.  

Jim’s tactical study of Ball’s Bluff, A Little Short of Boats: the Battles of Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, is widely considered to be the definitive work on that fight.  He has been a contributing author for other books as well, most recently writing a chapter on the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War for Turning Points of the Civil War which was published by Southern Illinois University Press in November, 2017.  He also has written for Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, The Artilleryman, Blue & Gray, and other periodicals. 

Jim retired in 2014 from the State Department where he held various positions in Washington and abroad, the last being Acquisitions Librarian for the Office of International Information Programs.  He served in the US Marine Corps from 1969-71.  He holds master’s degrees in Political Science from the University of West Florida and Library Science from Florida State University and is an avid sailor.

Robert "Rob" Orrison

Currently, Rob serves as the Division Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division.  Outside of work Rob serves on the Board of Directors of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, Board of Directors of Virginia Civil War Trails; and serves as the President of the Virginia Association of Museums. His published works include: A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign; The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign 1863; In A Single Blow: The Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Beginning of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775; To Hazard All: Guide to the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

Kevin Pawlak 

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division and a Certified Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield. He previously served as the Director of Education for the Mosby Heritage Area Association. He is the author of three books about the Civil War.

Steve T. Phan 

Steve T. Phan is a Park Ranger and historian at the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Prior to his arrival at CWDW, he worked as an intern and park ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and Rock Creek Park. A military history scholar of the Civil War era, Phan’s research focuses on military occupation, operational command, and fortifications during the Civil War. He is the author of articles about Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Civil War and the Defenses of Washington for numerous publications. He was nominated for the National Park Service Tilden Award for Excellence in Interpretation (2019). He holds a Master’s degree in American History from Middle Tennessee State University.  

Steven "Steve" Stanley

Steven Stanley lives in Orlando, FL and is a graphic artist specializing in historical map design and battlefield photography. His maps, considered among the best in historical cartography, have been a longtime staple, since 1998, of the American Battlefield Trust and have helped raise millions of dollars for the Trust through their preservation appeals and interpretation projects. Steve's maps have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including America’s Civil War, National Geographic and the Italian mag WARS. Co-authored by J. David Petruzzi, Steve produced the maps and the design of The Complete Gettysburg Guide (Savas Beatie, 2009), winner of the U.S. Army Historical Foundation's 2009 Distinguished Writing Award, Reference Category, as well as The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Audio Driving and Walking Tour, Volume One: The Battlefield (Savas Beatie, 2010) and The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook (Savas Beatie, 2011). In 2013, Steve and J.D. released their third book, The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses (Savas Beatie, 2013) and 2015, Steve with authors James Hessler and Wayne Motts released Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg: A guide to the Most Famous Attack in American History (Savas Beatie, 2015).

Douglas Ullman, Jr.

Doug was a member of the American Battlefield Trust’s digital and education teams from 2010-2018, playing a key role in the creation of history content on the website, including the Civil War In4 and War Department video series, battle apps guides, and history articles.  He continues his Civil War work as an independent historian with a specific interest in New York troops and the major campaigns of 1864.  Doug is also a professional actor and teacher who has performed Off-Broadway, across the United States, and internationally, and teaches private voice lessons in Northern Virginia.  He is a graduate of New York University's Steinhardt School of Education and Culture.

Kristopher D. White

Kris is the senior education manager at the American Battlefield Trust. White is a graduate of Norwich University with an M.A. in Military History, as well as a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History. For nearly five years he served as a staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. White is the co-founder of Emerging Civil War and is also the co-creator of the Engaging the Civil War Series, which is a partnership between Southern Illinois University Press and Emerging Civil War. An award-winning speaker and editor, White has authored, co-authored, or edited nearly two-dozen books; and he frequently leads tours in the United States and abroad.