Emerging Civil War has chosen Dave Roth, editor of Blue & Gray Magazine, as the recipient of this year’s Emerging Civil War Award for Service in Civil War Public History.
Emerging Civil War’s Award for Service in Civil War Public History recognizes the work of an individual or organization that 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.
Roth, a native of Ohio, established Blue & Gray with his late wife, Robin, in 1983. The first issue, which focused on Harper’s Ferry, came out on July 21 of that year—the anniversary of First Manassas. Since then, Roth published 198 issues over a 34-year run before discontinuing publication earlier this year.
“For almost three and a half decades, Dave Roth produced the go-to magazine for people who loved to be out on the battlefields,” said ECW Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski. Each issue focused on a particular engagement, with an in-depth feature, citations, an extensive tour section, original maps, and plenty of photographs. “While there are several excellent Civil War magazines available, Blue & Gray really promoted an immersive experience out on the field.”
Born in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, Roth eventually attended Ohio University and graduated in 1974 with a degree in accounting. The following year, he passed his CPA exam.
“So when I got into history,” Roth explained, “I wasn’t taught, really, how to do history. I just decided it was what I wanted to do.” The magazine sprang from Roth’s hobby as a budding Civil War enthusiast, sparked by Bruce Catton’s A Short History of the Civil War and Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels.
During the course of the Blue & Gray’s run, several Emerging Civil War authors appeared in its pages. Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White wrote a pair of articles on the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Daniel T. Davis wrote about Bentonville, and Rob Orrison and Bill Backus wrote about the Potomac River blockade. Steve Davis, who has written about the Atlanta campaign for Blue & Gray, also served as the book review editor for a time.
Later this week, ECW will begin running a multi-part series about Dave, so stay tuned.