National Park Service Historian, Interpreter, Preservationist, Author
Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award
Don Pfanz was a National Park Service historian at Petersburg National Battlefield in 1987 when he wrote a letter that led to creation of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and the start of the modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement. Horrified by the destruction of the battlefield at Chantilly by rampant development, Pfanz called for an organization “to preserve battlefield land by direct purchase” and other means in a letter to historian Brian Pohanka on April 22, 1987. The letter prompted an organizing effort which that July spawned APCWS, of which Pfanz was a co-founder. Pfanz has authored or co-authored five books on the Civil War. He retired from the Park Service in 2013 as a historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.