A Scholarship Award in Honor of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh

23 01 2012

The Board of Directors of Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. voted at their November meeting to establish a stipend for scholars willing to research selected aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, especially the battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg. The award is named in honor of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh, longtime professor at George Mason University, and author of the prize-winning trilogy on the Maryland Campaign.  Through the generosity of the family and friends of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh, SHAF is able to provide an annual stipend of up to $2,500 for those who apply to undertake project beneficial to understanding various aspects of the campaign and battle.  The stipend will be offered annually and will be awarded based on a decision by a committee composed of representatives of the SHAF Board of Directors, the Harsh family and Antietam National Battlefield.  It is our hope that this funding will allow research on unresolved issues concerning the campaign.  If a scholar does not have a topic in mind suggestions can be provided by SHAF.

Applicants need not be enrolled in any school, but must provide evidence of their ability to perform the research required for completion of the project. Because this award honors a great scholar it is imperative that the completed project reflect the highest standards of scholarship and research.  Topics must be approved by the stipend committee, and the successful applicant will present his/her finished project at a ceremony in conjunction with the annual anniversary commemoration at Antietam National Battlefield and also produce a written summation in a format suitable for publication.  Applications can be made to SHAF no later than February 15, and the award will be announced by March 1.  Research must be completed by September 1.  The guidelines and more details are available at the SHAF website, www.shaf.org.

We are delighted to make this stipend available to all students of the Maryland Campaign, and eagerly await the results of this project.

Application Procedures & Timeline

  1. Applicants must submit a brief statement of a project, a research methodology and relevance of the topic to furthering understanding of the Maryland Campaign of 1862.  They will also provide a brief resume’ emphasizing their historical and research credentials. 
  2. In the event that the applicant does not have a topic in mind the SHAF Board of Directors will generate a list of possible topics and make it available for potential applicants. 
  3. Applications should be submitted by mail to SHAF, P.O. Box 550 Sharpsburg, MD 21782 or emailed through our website, www.SHAF.org.  All applications must be received by February 15, of each year. 
  4. The stipend committee, made up of three members of the SHAF Board, a representative from the Harsh family, and from the Antietam National Battlefield will choose an awardee annually to receive the stipend, and the committee will also oversee the project.  The criteria used to choose an awardee shall be determined by the stipend committee. 
  5. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply as often as they like. 
  6. Members of the SHAF Board of Directors are prohibited from applying.




A Giant Passing

13 09 2010

Tom Clemens called me this evening with the sad news of the passing of historian Joseph L. Harsh.  Read his tribute here and here, and read an obituary here.  Dr. Harsh will be laid to rest, fittingly, on September 17, the 148th anniversary of the event that was so central to his career.

Joe Harsh had a huge impact on how I read and research.  I first met him about eleven years ago, at one of Carol Reardon’s Mont Alto Civil War conferences.  Joe’s mantra was “chronology, chronology, chronology”, or “what did they know, and when did they know it”.  It sounds simple, but especially when it comes to Dr. Harsh’s particular area of expertise, the 1862 Maryland Campaign, it’s surprising the number of folks who seem incapable of keeping those things in mind.

Joe was a wonderful conversationalist, and I have fond memories of sipping scotch into the wee hours in the gazebo outside Mont Alto’s dorm listening to his stentorian tones (think Charles Kuralt) as he opined on a variety of CW topics.  (I took the photo above in the gazebo in 2001 – that’s Keith Alexander on Joe’s right, and my nearly empty bottle of 12-year-old Macallan in the foreground.)  I remember how proud I was to stump him with his own book, Sounding the Shallows, the last installment of his three-volume legacy, asking how the regimental commanders of  Hood’s Texas Brigade managed to make it all the way through the Maryland Campaign without a scratch.  I felt pretty smug for a few seconds, until I remembered the magnitude of his work and mentally put myself in my place.  Joe was considerate enough not to do it for me.

A giant has passed – we may see his like again, but I doubt it.  Rest in peace.








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