Valley of the Shadow

Project Staff and Background

Valley of the Shadow Project Co-Editors

Edward L. Ayers conceived the idea of a dual community study of the Civil War in 1991. He planned to pursue it through traditional means of research until he became involved in the creation of the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia, when it became clear that hypermedia offered new possibilities for doing local studies. He has written two books based on the Valley: In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1864 (2003) and The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (2017).

Anne Sarah Rubin served as the Valley project manager from 1993 through 1996. She is also the coauthor (with Edward Ayers) of The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in The American Civil War. Part I: The Eve of War (New York: W. W. Norton, 2000). As manager, her primary responsibilities included researching the history of the Valley, writing the narratives and web pages, and supervising the research team. She marked up countless newspapers, letters, and diaries.

William G. Thomas, III served as Valley of the Shadow project manager from 1996 to 2001 and the director of the Virginia Center for Digital History from 1998 to 2005. He co-authored with Edward L. Ayers a digital article based on the Valley Project, “The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities,” published by The American Historical Review.

Andrew J. Torget served as the project manager for the Valley Project from 2003 through 2007. He led the redesign team that reorganized the project’s layout, oversaw the development of the Aftermath section of the archive, and completed work on all parts of the archive.

Project Managers

Scott Nesbit served as the final project manager of the Valley from 2007 to 2009, as well as the project manager for the Emancipation Project.

Susanna Lee served as project manager from 2001-2003. Susanna scoured archives in Virginia and Pennsylvania for additional letters, diaries, and photographic images of Franklin and Augusta residents, and created the vastly enlarged and improved personal papers sections of the Valley Project.

Amy E. Murrell served as the Interim Associate Director of the Virginia Center for Digital History for 1999-2000, and directed the SGML tagging of all Valley project letters and diaries.

Virginia Center for Digital History Staff

Scott Gillespie served as the programmer for the Virginia Center for Digital History from 2005–2006, and he worked on upgrading numerous technical aspects of the Valley Project. Scott created eXist-based search engines for the newspapers, the Southern Claims Commission papers, the Memory articles, and the Official Records of the War generated by soldiers in both counties. He also upgraded the 1860 and 1870 census databases, created a postgres database structure for the Cohabitation Records, and provided technical help on numerous aspects of the Valley.

Kim Tryka served as Associate Director of the Virginia Center for Digital History (VCDH) until 2005. Kim designed and oversaw the conversion of the Valley newspapers and personal papers into Extensible Markup Language (XML), as well as providing critical support for the Valley’s technical and organizational design.

Jennifer Muter served as the programmer for VCDH and IATH. Jennifer helped design and build the Valley databases and search engines, assisted with technical aspects of the project, and provided logistical support.

Felicia Johnson served as the web designer for VCDH and IATH. Felicia helped redesign Valley page layouts and graphics.

Alice Carter served as the curriculum developer and coordinator, as well as a web designer and image expert, until fall 1999. Alice worked on the Valley project to develop lesson plans and classroom applications for the project, consistent with Virginia Standards of Learning and National History standards.

Project Staff

Andre Fleche researched and created an expanded version of the Official Records section of the Valley Project, collating hundreds of reports and records from Augusta and Franklin units that fought in the war. He also led the team that expanded the Valley newspapers to include 1868 to 1870, marking up all the newspapers in XML and managing the work of Valley research assistants working on the newspapers section of the project.

Desi Hopkins transcribed, marked up in XML, and proof-read hundreds of letters and diaries in the Valley archive, allowing the Valley Project to transition into an XML database of its collection of personal papers. She also led the work on the Freedmen’s Bureau section of the archive, collating and overseeing the transcription of all aspects of the extant Bureau records.

Jaime Amanda Martinez transcribed and marked up letters and diaries in XML, marked up newspapers in XML, assisted in creating the Valley reference centers, and oversaw the collection and transcription of the Southern Claims Commission papers section of the Valley Archive.

Catherine Neale researched, transcribed, and marked up letters and diaries in XML, researched and created Valley timelines, and helped build the Memory of the War section of the Valley.

Ryan Fleenor helped transcribe the Valley 1870 manufacturing census and the Freedmen’s Bureau Cohabitation Records, putting both into searchable databases. Ryan also marked up various letters and diaries for the project—particularly in the Freedmen’s Bureau and Memory sections—and did research for the project at the National Archives, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Library of Virginia.

Kid Wongsrichanalai transcribed the Valley 1870 agricultural census and the Freedmen’s Bureau Cohabitation Records, helping to put both into searchable databases. Kid also worked on various aspects of the project, particularly the Freedmen’s Bureau (for which he helped conduct research at the National Archives) and the letters and diaries section of the project.

Noel G. Harrison proposed, researched, wrote, and digitized the webpages composing the “Popular Culture in Franklin” and “Popular Culture in Augusta” sections of the Valley Project’s “Memory of the War” discussion.

Dave Zimring transcribed, marked up in XML, and proofed numerous newspapers for the 1868–1870 expansion of the newspapers section of the project, taking the lead on the work on several of the newspapers during 2005-2006.

Keith Harris transcribed and marked up in XML several newspapers for the Aftermath section of the archive during the summer of 2005.

Doug O’Reagan worked on various aspects of the project during the summer of 2005 and 2006, marking up in XML various letters and diaries, organizing and marking up Memory articles, transcribing and marking up newspapers, and work on numerous other parts of the Valley archive.

Josh Botts transcribed, marked up in XML, and proofed numerous Memory articles during 2005–2006, allowing us to complete that section of the archive.

Matt Speiser worked on various aspects of the project during the summer of 2005, particularly the Memory section which he helped to re-organize as he transcribed and marked up in XML numerous Memory articles.

Elizabeth Ladner gathered, transcribed, marked up in XML, and proofed numerous Southern Claims Commission papers during 2005–2006.

Philip Herrington transcribed, marked up in XML, and proofed numerous Southern Claims Commission papers during 2005–2006.

Andrew Witmer transcribed and marked up letters in XML, helped build the Valley timelines, and worked on creating the Memory of the War section.

Amanda Mushal transcribed and marked up letters and diaries in XML and helped build the Valley timelines.

Watson Jennison headed the newspaper team for the project until 2003. He transcribed, tagged, and edited several years of various newspapers, converting our text sources into XML.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean led our geographical and statistical data analysis team from 2000 to 2003.

Benjamin Knowles created the individual graphics for the Valley Project and helped with the overall graphical design of the website. Benjamin also worked on the soldier’s records and provided general troubleshooting assistance.

Pranav Pittie digitized images of several Valley newspapers, allowing the project to expand our offering of original images of the newspapers.

Heather Wiedner helped to transcribe and proof various letters and diaries for the Valley Project.

John Koerner transcribed and marked up newspapers in XML for the Valley as we worked to expand that section of the project to include the years 1868–1870.

Jeremiah Starsia served at the Valley Project’s high school intern for the summer of 2004, working on various aspects of the project such as the Letters & Diaries section of the Valley.

Hannah Bush, the Treasurer of the Stonewall Brigade Band, served as a special consultant during preparation of the two webpages on its history, in the “Popular Culture in Augusta” section of the Valley Project. That work would have been impossible without her impressively organized archives, encyclopedic knowledge of the band’s history and past personnel, and detailed responses to a barrage of inquiries.

Travis Lee Clements served as photographer, driver, and scout during preparation of the eight webpages that compose the “Popular Culture in Franklin” and “Popular Culture in Augusta” sections of the Valley Project.

Scott Crocker created a Geographic Informations Systems (GIS) map of Franklin County for 1860.

Lara Diefenderfer helped create a database of 1870 Franklin County census returns, and transcribed the letters of Jedediah Hotchkiss.

Jaime Henshaw worked on the 1870 Franklin County census database, the soldiers’ dossiers, and the transcription of letters.

Amy Rider worked on the Franklin County census for 1870.

John Riedl spent a year reading and tagging each issue of the Staunton Spectator published between 1865 and 1867.

Andrew Chancey worked on all of our databases to ensure clean and consistent data entry and editorial and stylistic consistency.

Sonja Czarnecki worked on the Valley project after graduating from the University of Virginia in 1998-1999 as a history major. Sonja worked on teaching modules for the Valley, public outreach, and Valley “help” files.

Colleen Doody led the newspaper research team until 1999. She transcribed hundreds of articles, tagged years of newspapers, and supervised the work of other researchers on the newspapers.

Robert J. Driver, Jr., a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps, served as a special consultant to the Valley Project. The author of several regimental unit histories in the Virginia Regimental Histories Series, he has compiled thousands of note cards on the Confederate soldiers from Augusta County and has created and edited the Augusta rosters for the project.

Brian Erb worked on the project from September 1995 through August 1996. He marked up newspapers, transcribed personal papers, worked on our map databases, compiled and marked up rosters, and worked on a variety of other projects.

Geoff Evans worked on the project from 1998-2000. Geoff mastered Macromedia Flash Shockwave and designed and built the project’s animated theatre maps in the Part II section.

Sally Henninger worked on the project from September 1996 through September 1997, tagging newspapers, building SGML files for the letters project, and transcribing newspaper articles.

John F. Kirn, Jr., served as our head statistician and data analyst.

Ariel Lambert worked on the project from 1998-2000. Ariel took a GIS course at UVA to prepare herself to work on the Valley GIS effort, and then helped direct that complex project. She worked with Steve Thompson to develop the 1870 Augusta georeferenced map.

Kent McConnell worked on the project during 1995 and 1996. Kent brought to the project his experience and scholarly interest in religious history. Kent oversaw the research into churches in Augusta and Franklin.

Jeff McClurken transcribed, revised, and edited hundreds of census pages; marked up newspapers, diaries, and military rosters; created timelines for both national and Franklin County events; worked on map databases; charted troop movements for Franklin and Augusta regiments; and traveled to Chambersburg to collect documents.

Gregg L. Michel served as our census expert for several years. He constructed databases and helped design search pages for all of the Augusta and Franklin censuses: manuscript population, slaveholders, manufacturing, and agricultural censuses. Additionally, he developed a scheme of occupation codes for the transcribed population census. Gregg also constructed comparative maps for a wide array of economic, political, and demographic variables.

Andrew Morris worked on the transcription and editing of the population census, selecting, summarizing, and HTML markup of local newspapers, work on the map databases, as well as visits to Pennsylvania archives to obtain materials for the project.

Michael Mullins worked on the project over several weeks during January and February 1997 as a visiting intern from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He conceived and implemented the octagonal “floor plan” navigational scheme of the website, and the new design of the the site’s front end.

Josh Rothman worked on the project during the summers of 1995 and 1996. He transcribed the population census, tagged newspapers, created an Augusta County events timeline, and wrote our introduction to nineteenth-century newspapers.

Phillip D. Troutman worked on the Valley project from the summer of 1994 through the summer of 1996. His specialty was geographic mapping, and he was responsible for locating individuals and buildings on existing maps. He did considerable research in tax, insurance, war claims, and archival records.

Drew VandeCreek made several research trips to various archives in Pennsylvania, constructed timelines for both Virginia and Pennsylvania, compiled secondary literature on Pennsylvania, marked up newspapers, and transcribed several other sources.

Amy Vorhees joined the Valley project in 1999 after previously working in the publishing field. She edited all the War Years letters for consistency and accuracy and has transcribed Augusta County files from the Southern Claims Commission.

A number of other people, primarily undergraduate and graduate students from the Corcoran Department of History have made valuable contributions to this project. In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Peter Brownfeld (soldier’s rosters, census, letters markup)
  • Molly Campbell (image design)
  • Trish Canney (programming)
  • Elizabeth Crocker (letters and diaries markup)
  • Sonja Czarnecki (web-searchable database of war damage claims)
  • Geoff Evans (animated mapping, Official Records research)
  • Bob Guffin (claims transcription)
  • Charles Irons (data collection, mapping)
  • Edna Johnston (data collection, scanning, organization)
  • Peter Kastor (newspaper markup, html markup, and overall design)
  • Ariel Lambert (Geographic Information Systems Mapping)
  • Juliette Landphair (newspaper markup)
  • Andrew Lewis (census transcription and scanning)
  • Moses Miles (programming)
  • Brad Mittendorf (image and text scanning)
  • Sarah Nelson (newspaper tagging and transcriptions)
  • Risa Anne Ryland (transcription completion and proofchecking of the 1870 Franklin County census)
  • Peter Sheehy (newspaper and claims transcription)
  • Lisa Sziffel (newspaper transcriptions)
  • Andrew Trees (newspaper and claims transcription)
  • Steven Totty (programming, database and cgi)

Technical Staff from the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities

Thornton Staples was formerly the Project Director at IATH. He participated in all facets of the design and construction of this project.

  • Dot Akinola (system set-up and software development)
  • Dan Ancona (searching scripts and VRML)
  • Trish Canney (searching scripts)
  • A.C. Capehart (searching scripts)
  • Karen Dietz (SGML entry templates)
  • Susan Gants (database and statistics)
  • Perry Roland (geographic information)
  • Christie Stephenson (digital imaging)
  • Steven Totty (msql database programming, cgi scripts)
  • Pete Yadlowsky (software development and sound)

Thanks to to Jason Haynes and Joy Shifflette, administrative assistants at the Institute for their contributions and support. Thanks also to the Department of History, especially Elizabeth Stovall, Lottie McCauley, Ella Wood, and Kathleen Miller.

Journey Group

Journey Group, an independent design company, partnered with New American History to update the project’s databases and interfaces to bring the Valley of the Shadow to a new generation of scholars and students.

  • Josh Bryant (databases and search)
  • Zack Bryant (strategy and user experience)
  • Jeremy Cherry (user experience and interface design)
  • Hannah Davies (project management)
  • Luke Haynes (project management)
  • Emily Merricks (databases and search)
  • Parker McCrary (front-end development)
  • Abby Farson Pratt (content strategy and entry)
  • Ana Silva (interface design)
  • Josh Whitwell (databases and search)