Associate Professor of History

Education: B.A. Carnegie-Mellon University, 1980, M.A., Drew University, 1999; Ph.D., 2003.

Areas of Specialization: American intellectual and cultural history, vernacular history and collective memory, conspiracy theory in American history.

Current Research Interests: A study of how contemporary United States political figures use history and memory, and more particularly, of the narratives of the past they (and their speechwriters) enunciate in their quest for electoral success and in defining leadership and policy stances.

Courses Taught: American Civil War, American Intellectual and Social History Since the Civil War, Robber Barons and Reformers: The United States in the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras, Great Depression and WW2, History and Memory in Western Society (g), American Intellectual History I and II (g), History of the Book in America (g), America in the 1940s and ’50s (g).

Publications and Recent Presentations:

  • “Republicans Are Local, Democrats Are Not: Historical Vision in Recent Political Contests,” paper presented at the 2006 OAH annual conference, April 2006.
  • The Historical Understanding of the Nation’s 16th President,” keynote address at Drew University’s 9th Annual Lincoln Symposium, Feb. 18, 2006.
  • His first book, The Legend of John Wilkes Booth (Kansas, 2004), won the Organization of American Historians’ Avery O. Craven Award in 2005 and Drew University’s Bela Kornitzer Prize in 2007.
  • “Congressional Temperance League,” and “Methodist Board of Temperance,” in International Encyclopedia of Temperance and Prohibition, Jack Blocker ed. (ABC-CLIO, 2004).
  • “Booth Legend,” and “Lincoln Assassination,” in Encyclopedia of Modern American Conspiracy Theory, Peter Knight ed.( ABC-CLIO, 2004).

Awards and Other Academic Contributions:

  • Bela Kornitzer Award for outstanding faculty publication, 2007.
  • Avery O. Craven Award, Organization of American Historians (OAH), 2005.
  • Mary Lester Pennywitt dissertation prize, 2003.
  • List Editor for H-SHGAPE, 2003 to present.
  • Fellow, Washington Association of New Jersey, 2000.

Contact Information:

  • Office: 21 Gilbert House
  • Telephone: (973) 408-3329
  • E-mail: wevans@drew.edu