Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Jan. 12, 2001 — Williams College recently learned that Civil War historian Charles Dew has been named historical advisor to the Tredegar National Civil War Center in Richmond, Va. Located at the historic Tredegar Gun Foundry on the James River, the museum will tell the story of the conflict and how it shaped our nation.
Plans call for the center to focus on three primary areas: the Union, the Confederate, and the African-American experience during the tumultuous war years. The embrace of these three historical streams in a single setting will make the center unique among Civil War sites. One of the nation’s preeminent collections of African-American military artifacts, the John H. Motley collection, has already been promised to the museum.
“I can see the Tredegar National Civil War Center playing a healing role for our country by treating the history of this era in an open, forthright, and all-inclusive manner,” said Dew. “I am honored to play a part in such an enterprise.”
The ten-year project will be developed in three stages. By 2003, the Tredegar Gun Foundry building will be converted into an exhibit space that will house the center’s Civil War overview exhibit. The interpretive center, housing a national gateway exhibit that puts the strategy of the war in geographical context, a theater/auditorium, and education, retail, and additional exhibit space, will be completed by 2007. Phase Three, the library phase, will be completed by 2010 and house a research library, collections storage, and conservation space, offices, and food service.
Dew is W. Van Alan Clark Third Century Professor of Social Sciences at Williams College. His specialties include the American South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. He is the author of “Bond of Iron,” which focuses on the complex master/slave relationship and the lives of individual slaves and their families involved in the ironmaking and agricultural enterprise in antebellum and wartime Virginia. It received the 1995 Elliott Rudwick Prize and was a finalist for the 1995 Lincoln Prize.
His first book, “Ironmaker to the Confederacy: Joseph R. Anderson and the Tredegar Iron Works,” is a comprehensive work which highlights the historic Tredegar property where the museum will be located. It earned the 1967 Award of merit from the American Association for State and Local History and the 1966 Fletcher Platt Award.
Dew received his B.A. summa cum laude from Williams in 1958 and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1964. He has taught at Williams since 1978 and served as chair of the history department from 1986-92 and as director of the Francis Christopher Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences from 1994-97.
Other historical advisors to the Tredegar National Civil War Center are James H. McPherson of Princeton University, Thavolia Glymph of Duke University, and Gary W. Gallagher of the University of Virginia.