Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving THANKS! ("No Nonfiction Writer is an Island")"

Thanksgiving Day was already a week ago; I don;t want to let another day pass without thanking all the people who helped with my new book, Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

I think there is a romantic notion that writing is a solitary venture, but from my own experience it requires a lot of assistance, support, and cooperation.

This book was the product of more than a decade’s interest and research and the kind, enthusiastic and expert cooperation and support of many people.

To that end, I am happily in debt to:

First and foremost, the wonderful staff of the University of Notre Dame Archives, especially Kevin Cawley (Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts), Peter Lysy (Archivist for University Records), Sharon Sumpter (Assistant Archivist, Reference) and Elizabeth Hogan (Archivist Photographs), who have answered questions and supplied me with a host of material for many years now.

Sister Bernice Hollenhorst (Archives and Records of the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) and Ms. Deb Buzzard and Father James Connelly (Archives of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) also provided advice, documents and photographs from their wonderful collections.

The story of the University of Notre Dame is intimately connected to the story of the state of Indiana. As such, the assistance of the following people was essential and much appreciated:

Suzanne Hahn (Director of Reference Services) of the Indiana Historical Society assisted me with photographs and the wartime letters of Notre Dame student-soldier Orville T. Chamberlain in the Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain papers.

Diana Zornow of the Elkhart County (Indiana) Historical Museum provided copies of local period newspaper articles and books relating to Notre Dame student-soldier Frank Baldwin.

Susan Lowery of the Mishawaka (Indiana) Heritage Center provided copies of essential wartime articles from South Bend (IN) newspapers.

The reference staff—especially Patricia Bicknell—at my hometown Montgomery County (Texas) Memorial Library were friendly and helpful as always.

Tim Deichl was a kind and early supporter of this project and provided rare documents and photographs related to his family history—especially important were items concerning Notre Dame student-soldier, and Union general, William F. Lynch.

Likewise, Linda Fluharty shared her remarkable genealogical research on student-soldier Michael Quinlan.

Jay Odom, proprietor of, expertly retrieved soldier service records from the National Archives.

Dave Powell, author, historian and battlefield tour guide, kindly shared correspondence from his collection regarding the Battle of Chickamauga.

Professional photographer Pat Brownewell, Notre Dame graduate and Navy veteran Corrine Rypka, author and historian Michael Aubrecht, historical marker expert Craig Swain and lifelong friend Curtis Fears all kindly provided much-needed (and excellent) modern photographs of monuments and memorials from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Washington, D.C., of Notre Dame’s service in the war.

In all of my writing endeavors, I have received the generous advice and support of professional and academic historians, and this project was no different. Dr. Dorothy Pratt of the University of South Carolina kindly provided her unpublished—and essential—manuscript regarding the effect of the draft on Notre Dame in the Civil War.

Dr. John F. Marszalek, Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University—and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association—read the manuscript and provided expert comments and sage advice that made the final work all the better.

Guy R. Hasegawa—dear friend, estimable author and historian in his own right and expert editor—applied his sharp eye and blue pencil to the manuscript but mostly offered me his encouragement.

Joseph Gartrell, my editor at The History Press, saw merit in this project and championed its publication, and for that—and his friendship—I am most grateful.

My wife Susan; our children Katherine, Robert and Michael; and my parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family and friends provided loving support as always.

See?! I told you it took a lot of help! Thanks EVERYONE!

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