WMU News

Student gets fellowships for research on Civil War-era music

Aug. 3, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University doctoral student who is examining how popular music shaped events and culture during the Civil War has been awarded two fellowships to continue her research.

JoAnne Thomas, a graduate student in history, was awarded the Caleb Loring Jr. Fellowship from the Boston Athenæum and an Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship from the Virginia Historical Society.

The Loring fellowship will provide Thomas with a $1,200 stipend and a residency of four weeks to do research at the Athenæum. One of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries in the United States, the Athenæum has an extensive collection of more than 6,000 Confederate States imprints and Civil War materials. While there, she will be consulting its collection of Confederate sheet music and song books, sheet music relating to Abraham Lincoln, and other materials.

"I was very excited to receive this fellowship," says Thomas, who will do her residency at the Athenæum in October. "During the Civil War, music changed. It became a vehicle to express political views and the lyrics had the same kind of sentiments you'd find reading editorials in newspapers. I'm also really interested in looking at the covers of sheet music to see what they represent."

Thomas will also conduct research this summer at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Va. The Mellon fellowship, which provides a $450 stipend and a weeklong residency, will allow Thomas to review the society's collection, which includes books, newspapers, artifacts and more than 7 million manuscripts.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400