As part of Emerging Civil War’s fifth anniversary commemoration, we are pleased to inaugurate a new annual award: The Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History. This year’s recipient is Ted Alexander, former historian at Antietam National Battlefield and longtime director of the Chambersburg Civil War Seminar.
The Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History recognizes the work of an individual or organization who has made a significant impact on the field of public history in a way that better helps the general public connect with America’s defining event.
“We have a strong public history mission at ECW, and we want to recognize—and offer our gratitude to—the work of others who share that same mission,” explains ECW Editor in Chief Chris Mackowski. “Few people can boast the kind of double-impact Ted Alexander has had at both Antietam and at Chambersburg.”
ECW Chief Historian Kristopher D. White says Alexander’s thirty-plus years have inspired generations of historians and buffs alike. “I have always seen the Chambersburg Civil War Seminar as the gold-star standard for Civil War programming,” he said. “Its reach and impact—think of the thousands and thousands of people it has served over the years and the tens of thousands of dollars it’s raised for preservation—cannot be overstated.”
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi on September 20, 1949, Alexander was raised in the Cumberland Valley, in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown, Maryland. He served as historian for Antietam National Battlefield from 1990 through 2016. (Upon his retirement, Emerging Civil War conducted an extended interview with Alexander.)
Alexander is the author, editor, and contributor to ten books on the Civil War, including The Battle of Antietam: The Bloodiest Day (History Press, 2011) and the National Park Service publication Hispanics and the Civil War (NPS). He has authored more than 200 articles and book reviews for publications such as Civil War Times, Blue & Gray, and The Washington Times. In 2012 he was a commentator on the Emmy Award-winning documentary Heart of the Civil War, produced for Maryland Public Television, and he was a commentator for the Pennsylvania Cable Network show “Battlefield Pennsylvania: The Burning of Chambersburg.”
As co-founder and coordinator of the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars, Alexander has coordinated lecture series and tours since 1989. During that time, they have raised more than 190,000 dollars for preservation.
Alexander served two tours in Vietnam, from 1968-73, as a member of the United States Marine Corps. For his service, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V.