Students

History Majors Make the Civil War “Legible and Searchable” for the Future

“What is a gabion?”

“Where are the Bolivar Heights?”

“What does ‘N. f. r. A. G. O.’ stand for?

“Is that word ‘gout’?”

These kinds of questions were asked every Friday afternoon around 2:30 in Professor Hugh Dubrulle’s office this semester. Why? Four student research assistants—history majors Caitlin Williamson ‘19, Gregory Valcourt ‘19Lauren Batchelder ‘18, and William Bearce ‘19 (from left to right in the photo above)—prepared materials for the research project that will be assigned in History 352: The American Civil War and Reconstruction which Dubrulle will teach next semester (Spring 2018). This project will require students in the course to do research on the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry and write papers explaining the degree to which the regiment’s experiences match up with what current Civil War historiography claims about a variety of topics. These topics will include studies of the regiment’s participation in various battles and biographies of its leading officers. Other papers will look at topics such as desertion, politics, discipline, leadership, recruitment, medicine, and so on.

Why choose the 5th New Hampshire? Dubrulle says there are several reasons: “First, it lost more combat fatalities over the course of the Civil War than any other unit in Federal service. We ought to remember and honor this distinction, but it also raises the following question: what made it possible for this regiment, which was a typical product of its time and place, to compile such an outstanding service record? Second, much primary source material is easily available in local archives or online. Third, there are some excellent secondary sources about the unit in print, particularly Mike Pride and Mark Travis’ My Brave Boys: To War with Colonel Cross & the Fighting Fifth (2001).”

Williamson, Batchelder, Valcourt, and Bearce assisted Dubrulle with a number of important tasks, including transcribing letters and entering information from regimental service records into a searchable database. As Valcourt put it, their job consisted of making “the past legible and searchable for the future.” Williamson and Batchelder first transcribed the letters (34 of them) of Pvt. Miles Peabody (born and raised in Antrim, NH) who enlisted in Co. K of the 5th New Hampshire in 1861 at the age of 21. Williamson and Batchelder then moved on to transcribe selected portions of Lieut.-Col. James E. Larkin’s correspondence. A coach painter from Concord, NH, Larkin was mustered in as a 1st Lieut. when the regiment was organized in October 1861. He eventually became the commander of the unit in June 1864.

Both Batchelder and Williamson enjoyed getting to know Peabody and Larkin through their letters. Williamson commented that “I became really attached to the soldiers while reading their correspondence! I felt for them and found myself really invested in their stories that were told over a century ago.” Batchelder also felt an affinity for the men whose letters she read. On occasion, however, she was startled by what they wrote: “A lot of people assume that the Northerners were ‘the good guys,’ but there were times when I transcribed the letters and I would see these people fighting for the Union making a racist comment or saying something completely unexpected.” Such moments made her realize that while she shared a common humanity with these soldiers, they lived in a very different world.

Although Batchelder noted that “some people have the messiest handwriting,” Williamson pointed out that reading handwriting was actually affecting: “There is a lot of emotion in these letters, and much of it is expressed in the handwriting.” Not only that, Williamson felt that reading the letters helped illuminate Civil War history in a striking way that other sources could not. As she put it, the correspondence allowed her to study the conflict more broadly than one might have thought. The letters show “what they [the soldiers] were eating, what they were doing with their time, how they slept, what the weather was like, their experience on the battlefield—along with other important moments, all seen from different perspectives.”

Meanwhile, Bearce and Valcourt scoured Augustus D. Ayling’s Revised Register of the Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1866 (1895) for the abbreviated service records of all the men who served in the 5th New Hampshire during the war. They then transferred this information to an Excel spreadsheet that is both searchable and sortable. Arrayed in this fashion, the data can yield all sorts of interesting patterns. For instance, Bearce quickly noticed that substitutes and foreign-born soldiers seemed much more likely to desert than volunteers and the native-born. Valcourt was stunned by the large number of casualties the regiment lost in the last days of the war at the Battle of Farmville (otherwise known as the Battle of High Bridge)—a fight he’d never heard of. Both research assistants recognized that intriguing trends in the data could prove very useful to students writing papers on any number of topics. At the same time, Bearce also saw that the “the quantitative information [from the database] complements the qualitative data from the transcription of letters.” Among other things, “one can use the service records to contextualize the letters and vice versa.” Valcourt was struck by the strange stories “and colorful cast of characters” that seemed to emerge from the spare notes of the abbreviated service records. His favorite person was Oliver Grapes, an original volunteer in the regiment who deserted in July 1863 and, using the alias Oliver Vine, volunteered the next month as a Wagoner in the 3rd Maryland Volunteer Infantry. As Valcourt explained it, “you learn about the ‘small’ people in order to understand ‘big’ people and events.” At the end of the day, though, through the exercise of data entry, Bearce learned how “quantitative history can be, and how the quantitative aspects of history comes to be.” And, of course, both Bearce and Valcourt brushed up on their Excel skills.

Throughout the semester, all of the research assistants were intrigued with finding out “the rest of the story.” Batchelder and Williamson were crushed to learn that Peabody died of illness in November 1864 near Alexandria, VA. They were relieved to learn, however, that Larkin survived the war. Unfortunately, as a result of his military service, he suffered from ill-health, particularly rheumatism, for the rest of his life. Larkin floated between a number of jobs before dying in 1911. From his very different perspective of having dealt with the service records, Bearce was interested in finding out what happened after the war to the soldiers he studied. Noting that Ayling’s Revised Register had addresses for many veterans who had survived to 1895, Bearce stated, “I would really like someone to take on the challenge of doing research using the post office addresses listed in the registry for some purpose. These just seem absolutely tantalizing to me, and I think a paper trying to find out how people adjusted after the war would be very interesting.” One can only hope that future students working with these sources will take on that challenge as well as some of the others presented by the material.

And by the way, what are the answers to the questions above? A gabion is a wicker basket filled with earth and used to shore up fortifications. Bolivar Heights overlooks the town of Harper’s Ferry in what is now West Virginia. “N. f. r. A. G. O.” stands for “No further record Adjutant General’s Office, Washington DC.” And yes, the word in the letter was “gout.”

Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.

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Labbe and Miller Transcribe the Kimball Diaries

Psychology major and History minor Lisette Labbé ’18 (left) and History major Dena Miller ’20 (right) spent part of their semester in the Saint Anselm College Archives transcribing the 1891-1892 diary of Edwin C.H. Kimball.  One Thing After Another caught up with them to learn more about this campus history project.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the project and how you got involved?

Dena and Lisette:  We are working on producing a literal transcription of the Edwin C.H. Kimball Diaries. Kimball recorded his day-to-day activities from January 1891 to December 1894. For our class project, we are focusing on the 1891-1892 diary. The ultimate goal of the project is to transcribe and digitally scan both diaries to have original pages of the dairies aligned with their transcriptions for viewing on the web.  We were both interested in being involved with the history of Saint Anselm College. So we chose this project as the final project in our History 363: Public History course.

Q: So, what did you know about Edwin C.H. Kimball when you started, or what have you learned about him?

Lisette: I did not even know he was a young farmer of 23 until about 20 pages into the diary. I assumed that he was much older and a parent based on how serious he was and his involvement in local and national politics. After reading further into the diary, it appears that he had a mother, a father, and a sister named Ethel. He was also unmarried. He was very interested in politics and would report voting rankings of political candidates from local and national elections. He would also report events that happened nationally which made me wonder if this was information he learned from his visitors who would stay at his family’s inn. He did not seem to deal much with the inn, focusing most of his efforts on the farm. It was interesting to see him interact with the Monks of the college as he was not Catholic but perhaps Baptist.

Dena:  I get the impression that Kimball was a very intelligent man. So much so that I did not even realize how young he was when I started reading his diary. I would have sworn that the diary was written by someone in his 40’s until he mentioned celebrating his 23rd birthday. Despite this initial confusion, I feel that as the project progressed I got a clear picture of who Kimball was. Kimball seemed to be a very family-oriented young man, judging by the amount of work he did for his family on their farm and in their house. Along that same line, he also seemed to care deeply about his community and his neighbors, since he spent hours a day working on their behalf, especially for Rev. Fr. Hugo Paff, O.S.B. Kimball also seemed to be very interested in politics, both local and national. Overall, my impression of Kimball is positive and I think that, judging by his political interests and community sensibilities, he would fit right in on the Saint Anselm College campus today.

Q: So, no juicy details in these diaries?

Lisette:  The psychology major in me wants to know more about the man behind the diary. But I have learned from this project that his diary was more of a journal or a records book than what we view as a diary in the 21st century.

Dena:  The Kimball family owned the property on Shirley Hill Road that was once used as an entrance to the College. Kimball recorded in his diaries the comings and goings of friends, family, and guests at his family’s inn and boarding house, the Maplewood Farm. Kimball also recorded his economic exchanges with the Monks of the college, usually days spent plowing or haying the monastic fields.  These diaries are essential to the school’s history because they are the only primary documents that recorded the fire that burned down the only college building where Alumni Hall is located in 1892.  But we only got through 1891, so we did not get to read that part!

Q: What does an average day of transcription look like?

Dena and Lisette:  So one of us will go into the Archives and typically Keith has printed out the other person’s transcriptions for us to edit. We will edit them by looking at the original document to check for errors, like a missed or an accidently capitalized letter. Afterwards, there may be edits on our own transcriptions for us to review and fix in the transcription document. So we would have to look at our partner’s edits and the diary to cross-compare before fixing the errors on the transcription document. There is also a working log where we post comments, questions and concerns for our partner, such as “what do you think this word is on page 54 line 4?” After all these steps are done we start transcribing again. If we have any questions, we typically ask Keith, or just text each other.

Q:  That is a lot of detail work! What skills do you think you have acquired through this work?

Dena and Lisette:  We learned how to transcribe exactly from a handwritten source to a digital file, which requires careful detail orientation, an understanding of cursive, and specialized knowledge of Microsoft Word. We also learned many other work-flow and project management skills. The diaries needed to stay in the College Archives, and digital pictures and copies could not be made. Hence, we had to go into the archives to do the transcriptions with the College Archivist, Keith Chevalier. Unfortunately, we could not go in at the same time because we were both working on the same diary and the same transcription document. As a result, we had to learn to schedule shifts around our three different schedules. Because of this problem, we learned how to collaborate as a team, even when the team was never in the same place at the same time. We also learned how to create a transcription and editing log to track our work as well as a style and process guide to help those who come after us maintain a consistent transcribing process.

Q:  You make it sound pretty easy. What obstacles did you encounter?

Dena and Lisette:  One of the major obstacle we have is his handwriting. Kimball forms his letters in very confusing way, where letters could look very different on different pages or pieces of the letters could look like punctuation. For example, when he writes an “a”, it often looks like “,a” because he connects the beginning of the letter to the line on the paper. This has caused confusion and in some cases has made punctuation a judgement call. Other obstacles that we’ve found is that he misspells words and we often find ourselves writing the correct word instead of the literal transcription of his misspelled word.

Q:  What do you think is important about your project? 

Dena and Lisette:  This project is important to the college’s history because we are preserving essential parts of the early life of the college. We are also working towards having the diaries online for the public to view. This initial process is to have the metadata of each page image. Metadata is data that describes and gives information about other data. We have created a catalogue record of each page. Ultimately, when each page of the diary is uploaded, typing keywords will cause all relevant pages and items to appear. These transcriptions are just the first step towards this major archival project.

Q:  So what are possible next steps for continuing this project?

Dena and Lisette: There are many ways in which future students could expand upon the work we have done. First they could continue the transcription—there are three more years to go!  After that, they could create annotations within the text of the diary. Annotations could be used to give context for the people and the situations that he describes in the diary. For example, annotations could shine a light on the political importance of James G. Blaine [a congressman and senator from Maine who was the Republican nominee for president in 1884; he served as secretary of state under President Benjamin Harrison from 1889 to 1892], who was mentioned many times. Another way that the project could be expanded upon would be the creation of a searchable index. If a future researcher wants to find all the times that a name or a term is mentioned in the diary (for example, Ethel), the index would refer the researcher to every mention of her name. This index could be expanded even further to include the misspelled versions of common words that would typically be left out of a common search because it was misspelled.

Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.

Kelly Studies abroad in Sevilla

History major Elizabeth (Liz) Kelly, ’19 is currently studying abroad in Seville, Spain. One Thing After Another would have loved to interview her in person in sunny, southern Spain, but settled for a long distance conversation about her studies and travels. She had just gotten back from a weekend trip to Paris when the conversation began.

Q: What brought you to Saint Anselm College? How did you decide to enroll here?

A: I came to Saint Anselm based on the opportunity to pursue a liberal arts education and continue as a student-athlete. I play lacrosse. Being able to balance sports and academics was important to me, and Saint A’s was the perfect fit.

Q: What made you decide to be a history major? Has something in the major stood out thus far?

A: I chose to be a history major because I am interested in law school. Aspects of the major, such as reading, analyzing, comprehending, and writing will be helpful in preparing for a career in law. In regards to the history department at Saint A’s, I have really enjoyed all the professors I’ve had. I would say that my history professors strongly influenced me in choosing this major. They have made all the history classes I have taken interesting and intriguing!

Q: Tell me about your program in Spain. 

A: I am studying at the University of Sevilla in Sevilla (or Seville, as it’s referred to in English) which is located in the Andalusian region of Spain. It is an important city in the history of Spain and the world because all people and imports coming from the New World had to pass through this port. I study mostly with other American or English students in classes taught in both English and Spanish. I came here with a program called ISA (International Studies Abroad) who have been super helpful in this crazy transition, and I’ve also planned many excursions for us to see other cities in Spain.

Q: So you have gotten to travel while studying abroad?

A: Yes, of course! Traveling in Europe IS SO EASY. In Spain, I’ve been to Madrid, Toledo, Cadiz, Barcelona, and, of course, Sevilla. I’ve spent the last two weekends in Munich and Paris. Finding deals to make travel easy and affordable is not at all difficult, and this is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime. I have plans within the next couple weeks to visit Lagos (Portugal), Amsterdam, and Morocco.

Q: Being in Spain must be pretty exciting right now with the Catalan independence vote and the police violence in response. Are those events affecting you in any way?

A: The independence referendum in Catalonia has obviously been a huge topic of conversation here, and there are Spanish national flags, along with democratic “Si!” flags (supporting Catalan independence), everywhere. Every local Spaniard has an opinion on this matter. On the anti-independence side, people argue that Catalonia IS a part of Spain and should remain that way. If Catalonia leaves Spain what is stopping every other region from doing the same? On the pro-independence side, people argue that Catalans are culturally different from the rest of Spain, and their unique culture should be recognized as such.

The weekend of the vote, my friends and I actually went to Barcelona because we had to travel from there. We were in Barcelona the Thursday before the vote and the Monday after the vote, and we were able to tour the city, go to the beach, and arrive and leave from the airport completely unaffected. We are aware of the police violence that occurred, but were surprised to see how “normal” everything appeared the day immediately after the vote.

Q: What is it like to be an American in Spain? Do you find people ask you questions about American politics or culture?

A: Being an American in Spain has been interesting. The second people hear my accent, they ask me my opinion on Donald Trump, and are eager to tell me how entertaining they think his campaign was and how his presidency is. I have been told that all we do is complain and work in America, and I am starting to believe they are right.

Q: Is there something you are looking forward to doing before you come home?

A: I am definitely looking forward to visiting Morocco. I think that will be a very cool experience and unlike anything I have seen before. I also am looking forward to the Christmas season and how that is celebrated in Spain as well as the United Kingdom.

Q: Is there something you miss about the US or the Hilltop?

A: Honestly, I am so happy to be here. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to study like this, and there is constantly so much to do that I don’t even feel like I’ve had the opportunity to miss home. The weather in Sevilla is so beautiful, and I am honestly dreading the day I have to leave. I will be happy to be back with my friends and family come December, but until then I am going to try and make the most of every day I am here!

I would 10/10 recommend the study abroad experience to anyone who can make it work with their schedule. To realize how small I am in this huge world, and how much more there is to do and see outside of my tiny and protected reality, has been a beautiful and eye-opening experience. Especially for people who are trying to excel in another language, the only way you can truly learn it is to immerse!

Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.

Goodbye, Class of 2017! Hello, Class of 2021!

For most people (especially in the Northern hemisphere), “Happy New Year” conjures up lacy snowflakes and winter wonderlands. For academics, it means the end of summer and the start of a new school year. One Thing After Another is back from its summer hiatus and ready to start another year. But before we move forward, we should look back for a moment and catch up on some highlights of the Saint Anselm College History Department Class of 2017. In late April, senior Whitney Hammond ’17 helped Professor Sean Perrone induct new members of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society. Michael Schmidt ’17 was inducted a year late, since he had been in Germany during the previous year’s induction. The other inductees were juniors and as of this week, they officially began their senior courses. We hope one or two might attend a Phi Alpha Theta conference in the spring as Kristen Van Uden ’16 did last May.

From left: Professor Sean Perrone, Whitney Hammond ’17, Ted Boivin ’18, Colleen Gaughan ’18, Jonathan Burkhart ’18, Michael Schmidt ’17, Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18, Professor Pajakowski; Emily Rice ’17 is not pictured.

In May we had a second chance to enjoy the Class of 2017 at the History Department Senior Dinner. This annual gathering of history department seniors and faculty is a great chance to remember past escapades and hear about future plans. With seniors off to law school, to Fidelity’s leadership training program, to graduate school in Education, and to the workforce, we look forward to hearing about future success.

Front row, from left: Professor Beth Salerno, Eric Soucy ’17, Michael Schmidt ’17, Whitney Hammond ’17, Professor Sarah Hardin, Professor Silvia Shannon, and Brendan Megan ’17. Back row, from left: Professor Sean Perrone, Matthew Horton ’17, Michael Ryan ’17, Ginger Gates ’17, Professor Hugh Dubrulle, Professor Phil Pajakowski, Professor Matthew Masur.

The Class of 2017 had the distinction of being the smallest history class in departmental memory. The Class of 2021 may be one of our largest in six or seven years. We are excited to welcome two American Studies majors and about 15 history majors with interests ranging across America, Europe, and the world. We have a student scouted professionally for bowling, a student with Irish/Filipino heritage, an avid camper, and a student whose high school history teacher was a former SAC history major! Keep an eye on One Thing After Another for more stories about members of this incoming class over their next four years. They are less than a week into their “happy new year,” but clearly already excited.

History and American Studies majors (and a few undeclareds) at First-Year Orientation, August 2017

Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.

Sigman Does Summer Research in African History

Over the summer, Professor Sarah Hardin took on Becky Sigman ’19 as a research assistant. We asked Sigman, who majors in Peace and Justice while minoring in French, to tell One Thing after Another something about her experience. Starting this fall, the History Department will be making much greater use of research assistants than in the past, so you might want to read about what Sigman thought of her summer work.


Last year, I took Professor Hardin’s course, History 391: History of Southern Africa. After speaking with her several times about her area of expertise—the role of agriculture in the lives of West Africans—I decided that I wanted to learn more. The idea of doing research with a professor appealed to me because I thought it would be a great way to learn about academic research, increase my knowledge about an issue that I was interested in, and develop a closer relationship with a great mentor in the field. Professor Hardin needed a research assistant, so together we identified our plan of action. Lucky for me, I learned that one of my research responsibilities would consist of translating documents from French into English, which allowed me to expand my French vocabulary and increase my fluency. We started applying for funding, and through the generosity of the Dean’s Office, I was able to assist Professor Hardin in her research for four weeks over the summer.

Throughout those four weeks, I was responsible for translating, summarizing, and analyzing reports from France and francophone African countries. For years, Professor Hardin has been collecting documents to investigate the repercussions of pesticides and herbicides used for cotton production in West Africa between the 1950s and 1980s. She wants to learn what agricultural agents knew about the dangers of the chemicals they used (and when they knew it). She gave me reports and transcripts of meetings in which agents discussed the issues they encountered. Below is an advertisement from the trade journal Coton et Fibres Tropicales which is dated 1970:


Translation:
Gésaten: yields are assured with this cotton herbicide
A Geigy treatment is appropriate for all of your problems
Widespread applicability: Gesaten eliminates the first sprouting of grass and dicotyledons
Easy to use: Gesaten can be applied through simple spraying techniques or through a spraying with sand without burying the product
Safety: Used in prescribed conditions, Geasaten will not harm your cotton crop and does not present any toxic risk for humans
Geigy société anonyme, 43 rue Vineuse, 75-Paris 16e

Professor Hardin was extremely insightful and patient throughout the process, meeting with me a few times each week to give me feedback on the work I’d completed and helping me through confusing vocabulary or concepts. What I found the most helpful is that she would continuously draw connections between specific documents and the larger goal of her thesis, which made me feel like the work I was doing was valuable. In the transcripts, we found that in the 1950s some chemicals accidentally killed goats, birds, dogs, and fish, and harmed humans, but that the agents seemed to take human labor for granted and only advised that people follow instructions carefully. In the 1970s, however, the agents began to express more concern about environmental damages and human health over the long term. Professor Hardin proposes that economic and political factors contributed to this change.

I would highly recommend doing research with a professor whose area of interest lines up with yours if you are interested in improving your writing and analysis skills, gaining a better understanding of how the academic research process works, or generally expanding your knowledge about a specific topic.

Furthermore, I consider that the myth of the unemployable History major must be destroyed.

Gaughan and Jack Experience Woodside Priory School

During spring break, Education Professor Terri Greene Henning accompanied five Saint Anselm College Secondary Education students as they visited Woodside Priory School, a Catholic Benedictine middle and high school in Portola Valley, California, connected to Saint Anselm Abbey. Among those students were Colleen Gaughan ’18 and Randy Jack ’18, both history and secondary education double majors. One Thing After Another asked them to share some thoughts about their experience.

The trip began on Saturday March 4, with a flight to San Francisco and two days of sightseeing. Students visited the Golden Gate Bridge, the University of San Francisco, the Ferry Building, the Pacific Ocean, and Alcatraz. Randy Jack said of the sightseeing, “Being a history major provided a unique perspective, because it gave Colleen and me an opportunity to appreciate the rich history of the city. Colleen and I freaked out when we saw Alcatraz for the first time! Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge was an absolute bucket list item for me so it was an incredible moment when I first laid my eyes on it. ”

On Sunday, the group made their way to Portola Valley and the Woodside Priory School. The group was housed on campus for the week, encouraging an inclusive and immersive environment. Each day, the group attended mass in the morning, observed classes with students, attended sporting events, and explored the campus. Both Gaughan and Jack were placed in classrooms to observe and teach lessons.

Colleen Gaughan, who is passionate about both history and English, was placed in an English classroom for the first few days and attended a middle school US History class later in the week. Colleen said of her experience: “I think being a history major really made a difference specifically in the history classrooms. It was great to see how they were teaching history to students, especially middle school children. In the middle school US History class, they were listening to the Broadway musical Hamilton and using that to keep students engaged in the material. I think sometimes it’s difficult to get students interested when they think history is just lectures about dead people. So making history fun and come alive was helpful for the students. I think that being a history major, I was able to recall what made me love history; I saw that same passion in the students and how they were being taught.”

Randy Jack was placed almost exclusively in a Social Studies classroom and was able to teach lessons in a US History class. Jack called the experience “fantastic” and discussed how “being a history major absolutely plays a big part in how I would like to teach. While we learn a great deal about the particular strategies in our education classes, taking history classes at Saint A’s has been important in informing how I want to utilize the strategies I’ve learned in a historical contexts.” Gaughan shares these sentiments: “In my future history classes . . . I want students to understand concepts and how events relate to each other, rather than being nitpicky about memorization of dates. The focus of my classes will be making sure students can apply what they are learning in their history class to what they are seeing in the world. Understanding where we’ve been can help inform us on where we will go.”

When asked what moments of the trip stood out to them, Gaughan and Jack both referred to their time teaching in classrooms. For Jack, “seeing the students be so engaged and laughing and having fun while learning was a good reminder of exactly why I want to be a teacher.” For Gaughan, the spiritual value of the trip was as important as the educational value. There are three Benedictine monks from Saint Anselm Abbey at the school, and the Saint Anselm students had dinner with them one night. Gaughan said, “Since there are only three monks, there was room for real discussion. Father Martin is an alum of Saint Anselm, and he used to live here before he was asked to move out to California, so it was interesting hearing his stories about how the school has changed over the years. . . . It was also very cool from a historical perspective to hear the stories of Father Pius and Father Maurus, who were two of the Hungarian monks who escaped communism by coming to the United States and eventually set up the monastic community at Priory. That dinner was one of the most memorable events of my trip.”

Their experiences at the Woodside Priory School confirmed both Gaughan and Jack’s decision to teach history. Jack admits, “My decision to become a history teacher was one that I pondered for a long time. It started out with my love for history; growing up I always loved talking about history. Eventually I decided I would love to be able to get a job using my love for history, and I figured education would be a good fit. However, when I finally entered the classroom as an educator my sophomore year, I realized it was so much more than that. I realized that being able to work with students and help them develop their own appreciation for history was equally important to me.”

For Gaughan, teaching history is a way to initiate a new generation of informed students. As she put it, “I love how history informs us of the past and helps us to understand the present. I think that by studying the people of the past we can understand what worked, what hasn’t, and what we might want to try. Understanding cause and effect is a pivotal part of understanding the past and the present, and I think that it’s a skill that is really important to develop and one I want to foster in my students.”

NOTE: In the photo above, Gaughan is third from left while Jack is fourth from left; both are holding the banner. Professor Terri Greene Henning is far left. 

Hitchen Saves the World at the NH Department of Environmental Services

This semester, Lily-Gre Hitchen ’18, a History major from Auburn, New Hampshire, is interning with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. One Thing after Another caught up with Hitchen and asked her about her experiences

Q: What made you decide to do an internship?

A: Ever since I was in grade school I’ve been interested in the courts, lawyers, and the law in general. When I first entered Saint Anselm College, I seriously considered the possibility of going to law school afterwards. Now being a junior, I decided to do an internship that would answer questions that have been brewing since I was a freshman. What do lawyers do? What type of work can a person do in the legal field? What is it like to work with the law? Would I like that type of work? This internship for me was all about discovery; I wanted my questions answered with experience.

Based on my time spent at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES), I would recommend internships to my fellow history majors. I think they are very important in seeing firsthand how skills learned in history classes can be applied to the “real world.” If there is the time and opportunity, I highly recommend completing an internship that is of interest.

Q: What intrigued you about NH DES in particular?

A: The initial thought of working at the NH DES excited me. The main reason that I was intrigued is that I am a huge nature lover, and I care for New Hampshire’s environment in particular. I am from a small town, and I have always enjoyed the outdoors. My home state is very special to me, and I wanted to be able to protect its environment. DES was a great place to pursue my passions.

Q: Can you describe a typical day at the office?

A: I am responsible for a wide variety of tasks at the DES. During a typical day, most of my time is spent working independently on an assigned project. My assignments can range from proofreading legal documents for cross-referencing errors and creating tables expressing the changes in a set of laws to creating draft decisions on environmental fine cases. Drafting fine case decisions are my favorite projects to work on because there are so many facets in making a decision. I read through the file while analyzing the case’s chronology of events, I listen to the fine hearing, and then I draft a document explaining if I think the respondents committed a violation. After I complete the draft, I pass it on for review. When I am not working independently, I am sitting in on meetings or fine hearings.

Q: Are you finding your history skills useful in your legal work?

A: My history skills have helped me in ways that I had never expected. I think the most important history skills that I have used are reading critically, paying attention to detail, not making assumptions, and being skeptical. Using these skills I have spotted mistakes in numerous documents, whether it is in their structure or chronology. Also, being able to formulate a chronology and possessing the ability to point out errors in an already provided chronology is an expertise that history majors are taught and expected to master. However, I never knew that this particular skill would be useful in the working world.

Q: What has been the hardest part of translating your classroom skills into the workplace?

A: The most difficult part of translating my classroom abilities to the workplace was asking questions. In a classroom, a professor is either always open to questions, or specifically asks, “Are there any questions?” However, in a new workplace it is sometimes a balancing act trying to find the appropriate time to ask a question. I did not want to be an annoyance, so at first I was reluctant to speak up. Over the first week, I realized that I did not need to be reluctant when asking questions; I just needed to be respectful. Everyone is busy in the office, so I only ask questions when I cannot continue my work without it being answered. Being concise when asking questions is also a part of respecting their time.

Q: So what do you do to after a busy week of classes and internship?

A: Most of my time outside my classes and internship goes towards the family business. My mother owns a hair salon, Salon OPA, so I have many responsibilities there that I am proud of. I manage the inventory, cash customers out, answer phone calls, and make appointments. I also have my apprentice license in cosmetology and makeup certification, so I can perform some services. One of the most rewarding parts of working at the salon is selling wigs to women who are going through cancer treatment or have alopecia. Working at the salon has given me a joy for business, and the appreciation of entrepreneurs of all kinds.