Emerging Civil War has selected Paige Gibbons Backus as the recipient of this year’s Emory Upton Award. The Upton Award is presented to a member of the Emerging Civil War community in recognition of outstanding service to ECW.
Paige, who has blogged with ECW since 2016, serves as ECW’s social media manager.
“As a digitally-based brand, it’s especially important for us to have a strong online presence,” says Editor In Chief Chris Mackowski. “Paige has done incredible work to not only maintain ECW’s digital footprint but expand it. That’s especially challenging considering the disconnect between traditional users of digital technology and tradition Civil War buffs. Paige navigates that space—and helps ECW navigate that space—well.”
A native of Wisconsin, Paige graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Historic Preservation and George Mason University with a master’s degree in Applied History. She has been in the public history field for close to ten years focusing on educational programming and operations working at several historic sites throughout Northern Virginia including Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Sully Historic Site, and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. She currently serves Prince William County as the Historic Site Manager at Ben Lomond Historic Site (a Civil War hospital) and Lucasville School (a one-room African American schoolhouse).
When out of the office, Paige spends her time serving on the board of the Virginia Association of Museums, exploring, being outdoors, or researching her interests which include women’s history, as well as the more morbid side of history such as death, disease, medicine, murder, or scandal. Her published works include Witness to Peace and Strife: The History of Ben Lomond in Manassas, Virginia, as well as well as numerous articles published for a variety of publications such as Emerging Civil War, Virginia Association of Museum’s Voice Magazine, Civil War Traveler, and Prince William Living. She currently lives in Brentsville, Virginia, with her husband, Bill, and their two dogs, Barley and Bernard.
“Emerging Civil War is an organization that I truly enjoy,” Paige says. “I love the history, I love the people—and you know what they say: “if you love what you do, it’s not work”! I love working with ECW and helping with the social media for it allows me to be a small part of helping historians share their passion for history to larger audiences.”
In April 2021, Paige shared her ECW story, which you can read here.
In March 2017, for Women’s History Month, we highlighted Paige’s work as a public historian. You can read that profile here.
Previous recipients of the award include Rob Orrison, Sarah Kay Bierle, Kris White, Jennifer Mackowski, and Chris Mackowski.