This is NEPCA's official website, containing both information about the organization and the latest news about the profession.

2015 NEPCA Conference

NEPCA concluded a very successful conference at Colby Sawyer College October30-31, 2015. Information will be posted soon on the 2016 conference.

Rollins Prize

See this space for upcoming details on the 2015 Rollins Prize.

Important Dates

This space will be updated soon.

NEPCA’s 2015 Fall Conference

NEPCA met on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH on October 30-31, 2015

Information on NEPCA’s 2016 conference will be published soon. 

Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) Outreach Grants

SHCY Outreach Grants 2016

The SHCY will award two $500 grants and one $1500 grant for events that take place in 2016 to projects deemed worthy by the Outreach and Executive Committees of the SHCY.

1. The $500 grants will help defray expenses for speakers, workshops, and other scholarly events fully or partially devoted to the history of children and youth.

Possible uses:
•Keynote speakers or panelists
•Printed materials
•Support for students attending the event

2. The $1500 grant will help offset the costs of a regional conference dedicated to the history of children and youth and held in 2016. The Society is particularly interested in supporting programs that address the the histories of children and youth in interdisciplinary and transnational ways.

Application deadline for both grants: January 15, 2016.

Terms of the grants:
•Applicants must be members of SHCY. (See for membership information.)
•Recipients of 2014 and 2015 Outreach Grants cannot receive 2016 grants, and no one may apply for more than one 2016 grant.
•Funds will be distributed directly to host departments or institutions prior to the event.
•SHCY must be acknowledged as co-sponsor on all print and web-based materials and announcements, and, when appropriate, in speaker introductions. When possible, use the SHCY logo and link to the SHCY website.
•SHCY must be sent PDF’s or links to announcements and promotional materials before the event.
•A report must be submitted to the chairs of the Outreach Committee no later than thirty days after the funded event. It should consist of the following:
—Blog post describing the event for use on the SHCY website
—Summary of the attendance (size, makeup)
—Copy of appropriate printed materials or screenshots of websites
—Description of the actual expenses covered by the grant

Note: If the event funded by the grant is part of a larger conference or other function, the funded portion of the conference must be identified as discrete portions of the program and labeled as co-sponsored by SHCY.

One-page applications should be submitted as PDF files via email to the Outreach Committee chair Luke Springman ( They should include:
—Date, location, and primary sponsor of event
—Description of audience (size, makeup)
—Total cost of event and other confirmed or potential funding sources
—Description of event that articulates how it contributes to all or part of SHCY’s mission: promoting the history of children and youth by supporting research about childhood, youth cultures, and the experience of young people across diverse times and places; fostering study across disciplinary and methodological boundaries; providing venues for scholars to communicate with one another; and promoting excellence in scholarship.
–Note: The Committee may request additional information from applicants about their event and about the participants and intended audience.

The Outreach Committee will recommend awardees to the SHCY Executive Committee, which will make final decisions. Recipients of grants will be announced by February 15, 2016.

Buildings Survey Fellowship

The HABS/SAH Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship is a joint program of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) that permits a graduate student architectural historian to work on a 12-week HABS history project during the summer of 2016. The applicant should be pursuing studies in U.S. architectural history or a related field.  The Fellow has the opportunity to conduct research on a nationally significant U.S. building or site and prepare a history to become part of the permanent HABS collection.  The Fellow’s research interests and goals will inform the building or site selected for documentation by HABS staff.  The award consists of a $10,000 stipend.

Applications due December 31, 2015.

For more information visit:

Contact Info:

Lisa Pfueller Davidson, Ph.D.

Historian and HABS/SAH Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship Coordinator


Contact Email:

American Antiquarian Society Fellowships

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) invites applications for its 2016-17 visiting academic fellowships. Over thirty short-term fellowships will be awarded for periods of one to two months. New among our fellowship offerings this year is the Alstott Morgan Fellowship, which, supports research on the history of education in nineteenth-century America, drawing on AAS’s unmatched collection of early educational materials.

The short-term grants are available for scholars holding the Ph.D. and for doctoral candidates engaged in dissertation research, and offer a stipend of $1850/month.  Special short-term fellowships support scholars working in the history of the book in American culture, children’s literature, in the American eighteenth century, and in American literary studies, as well as in studies that draw upon the Society’s preeminent collections of graphic arts, newspapers, and periodicals. Accommodations are available for visiting fellows in housing owned by AAS.

The deadline for applications is January 15, 2016. For further details about the fellowships, as well as a link to our online application form, please consult our website <>

The AAS is a research library located in Worcester, MA whose collections focus on American history, literature, and culture from the colonial era through 1876.  The Society’s collections are national in scope, and include manuscripts, printed works of all kinds, newspapers and periodicals, photographs, lithographs, broadsides, sheet music, children’s literature, and a wide range of ephemera. Details about the AAS collections are available on the AAS website, and in the online catalog. If you have questions about the AAS fellowship program, please contact Paul Erickson, Director of Academic Programs, at perickson[at]

Contact Info:

Paul Erickson
Director of Academic Programs
American Antiquarian Society

Contact Email:

CFP: Gender and Archaeology in Popular Culture

Call for Chapters in an Edited Book: Whether portrayed as academic professionals, daring treasure hunters, alien-hunters, time travelers, or bumbling fools who awaken paranormal forces, archaeologists and archaeologically-themed characters loom large in the popular imagination as figures of romance and adventure. Yet outside the realm of film studies, relatively little critical attention has been concentrated upon the gendering of archaeology in 20th and 21st century pop culture.  This interdisciplinary collection of essays will explore the intersection of archaeology with gender(s), gender identity, and other related topics (which might include feminism, queer theory, women’s studies, among others). We are interested in portrayals from a range of media and genres: games, television, graphic novels and traditional novels, art, films, design, and more.

We encourage submissions from all disciplines. Topics of possible interest include:

  • Varieties of masculinity and femininity: archaeologists as muscular heroes or trickster rogues, as tomboys, femmes fatale, or  damsels in distress
  • Gendered dichotomies in the portrayals of scholars vs dabblers in any media (Indy and Marion, Evvie and Jonathon)
  • The way media shapes the portrayal of archaeology and gender (adventure games vs. adventure film)
  • Feminist archaeological theories of matriarchy, as found in The Mists of Avalon and other works
  • Historical fiction and its portrayals of early women in archaeology, such as Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody
  • Gendered effects of major archaeological discoveries on popular culture (Tutmania in men’s and women’s fashion)
  • Gender-related themes as portrayed in popular works of nonfiction archaeology (television documentaries)
  • Androgyny and/or asexuality in archaeologically-themed characters (Ra in Stargate)

To this end, we call for interested academics to submit a 500-word abstract to us by March 15, 2016  Please include a brief bio and a full CV that lists full contact information, including an email address. Authors will be notified if they are successful, by May 15, 2016. We will expect full papers (9,000 words, including references) by October 17, 2016.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Ruth McClelland-Nugent and Dr. Jennifer Trunzo, at  and/or  Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy, Augusta University (formerly named Georgia Regents University), 1120 15th Street, Augusta, GA, 309012.

Hear My Sad Story: Book Review

urlHear My Sad Story: The True Tales That Inspired Stagolee, John Henry, and Other Traditional American Folksongs. Richard Polenberg. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015. 304 pp. 978-0-5017-0002-6.

 In 1966 Phil Ochs remarked, “Before the days of television and mass media, the folksinger was a traveling newspaper spreading tales through music…. Every newspaper headline is a potential song.” Long before and after Ochs made that remark, commentators referenced folk music as “musical newspapers.” For every song that springs from a writer’s fertile imagination, there is at least one inspired by real-life events and commemorated in ballads, broadsides, song-poems, slogans, and twice-told tales. Those events are the subject of a new book by Cornell history professor emeritus Richard Polenberg, who adds a twist: the ways in which folk songs “improve” upon reality and help construct legends that may or may not be close to what actually happened.

Polenberg begins with the news—the real-life Lee Shelton (“Stack Lee”), Naomi (“Omie”) Wise, Morris Slater (“Railroad Bill”), and other such characters—and links what history says of these individuals to the songs and legends they inspired. Legends are not the same as myths; they occupy a middle position on a scale with verifiable history at one pole and belief-based mythology at the other. Often, the legends become so well known, though, that a work such as Polenberg’s is necessary to replant the tales in factual soil. Sometimes legends match up pretty well, like Vernon Dalhart’s famed “Wreck of the Old 97,” which some scholars call the first true country music recording; other times great liberties are taken­—some of the musical tales of John Hardy, for instance, could be viewed as driving with an expired poetic license. But whether the songs hew close to the truth or spin yarns of gossamer-style veracity, Ochs was right: those songs became traveling newspapers. In essence, they helped write history as it is perceived, whether it actually happened that way or not. Folk music has been an important factor in how legends emerge, spread, and engrain themselves in American culture.

Hear My Sad Song consists of twenty-one mini narratives that focus on individuals, four that deal with occupations (cotton mill workers, chain gangs, miners, and New Orleans prostitutes), and two that probe disasters (the Titanic and the boll weevil infestation of the 1920s). Folk songs share an affinity with the tabloid press in the sense that neither can resist a good murder, hence sixteen of Polenberg’s chapters deal with sensational homicide cases, sanguinary rogues, and those who may or may not have been killers (like Joe Hill and Sacco and Vanzetti). He bookends his chapters with a prologue and epilogue that use cowboy poet/songwriter Frank Maynard (“The Dying Cowboy”) as his foil.

Polenberg loves folk music, but the book focuses more on history. If you do the math, you can see he’s bitten off quite a lot for 304 pages. Each of the 27 chapters is self-contained, hence Hear My Sad Story is actually a series of short stories (8 to 11 pages) only loosely built around his musings on Maynard. It’s the kind of book that’s best read one tale at a time, preferably with a soundtrack cued. The short chapters tend to be heavy on names, investigations, and court proceedings, with music appearing as annotation rather than discussed in great depth. In my view, the book could benefit from saving material not specifically focused on individuals for a second volume. Pruning a few chapters would have provided more space to tell stories in greater and more leisurely detail, a tact that would improve the book’s flow–in essence, more narrative and less chronicling. Most of this book is illuminating, though there are parts that don’t tell us much. We don’t know, for example, if “House of the Rising Sun” had anything at all to do with New Orleans’ Storyville red light district, thus Polenberg’s chapter, though fascinating, tells us little about the song. On a personal note, I’m more skeptical of Joe Hill’s innocence than Polenberg, yet way more convinced of the validity of Scott Nelson’s research into John Henry.

Book critiques have a way, though, of reflecting a reviewer’s biases just as the book reflects those of the author. If you’re a longtime folk music fan, you may already know the stories behind individuals like Casey Jones or Tom Dula/Dooley. It’s important, though, that longtime fans place themselves in the position of younger folks for whom the history/music/legend nexus is a recent revelation. Polenberg’s book is fine reading on its own, but it might prove invaluable in the classroom. Check back with me; I’ll be test-driving it in my spring seminar on American folk legends.

Robert E. Weir
University of Massachusetts Amherst




New Additions to H-Sport Archive

H-Sport is pleased to announce that additional collections have been added to its Archive Project, an online resource which provides information about archival collections that are of interest to sport scholars. Archive Project collections have now been organized with the following categories to make searching easier: US and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Olympics, Soccer (football), Baseball, Photographs, Journalism, and Physical Education and Recreation. We hope to be adding more categories and welcome suggestions for additional categories.

The following collections have recently been added to the Archive Project:

  • Archive of the Royal Dutch Football Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond, KNVB)
  • Jack Olsen Papers
  • Murphy Collection of Van Alen Papers
  • D. X. Murphy & Bro., Architects Records, 1854-1949
  • Young Men’s Christian Association (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Thomas M. Knight Letters, 1888-1904
  • Taylor-Hay Family Papers, 1783-1991
  • Kentucky Association (Lexington, Ky.) Records, 1907-1932
  • Haldeman Family Papers, 1843-1981
  • Bill Bowerman papers, 1932-1999
  • American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER), NW District records, 1930-1967

Keywords accompany each collection listed to provide more information about the collection’s content.  More complete descriptions of each collection can be accessed from the H-Sport Archive Project page.  A link to the Archive Project can also be found on the right-hand menu on the main H-Sport page.

The H-Sport Archive Project team welcomes suggestions of collections to include.

Grants to University of WI Collections

Grants to Scholars is the Friends program which helps to fund visiting scholars with particular research needs in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. The Friends award a handful of grants to scholars annually, each of which is generally for one month’s duration, for research in the humanities, sciences, and related fields appropriate to the libraries’ collection strengths. Awards are made up to $2,000 for recipients from North America, and $3,000 for those from elsewhere in the world. The purpose is to foster the high-level use of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries’ rich holdings, and to make them better known and more accessible to a wider circle of scholars. The annual application deadline is February 1 of any year.

Generally, applicants must have a Ph.D. or be able to demonstrate a record of solid intellectual accomplishment. Scholars and graduate students who have completed all requirements except the dissertation are also eligible. Applicants’ proposals should state the specific areas and collections to be used in our libraries and provide information as to why these collections will be of unique benefit to their research. The grants to scholars are designed primarily to help provide access to UW-Madison library resources for people who live beyond commuting distance. Preference is given to younger researchers who are within 10 years of completing their Ph.D. or terminal degree, and to scholars who reside outside a 150 mile radius of Madison. The grantee is expected to be in residence during the term of the award, which may be taken up at any time during the year.

Contact Info:

Please contact our office with any questions, we can be reached at (608) 265-2505, or via email,

Contact Email:


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