Judith Giesberg

Judith Giesberg, editor of the Journal of the Civil War Era, is a professor of history at Villanova University. She is the author of several books on the Civil War era: Civil War Sisterhood: The United States Sanitary Commission and Women's Politics in Transition (2000); "Army at Home": Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (2009); Keystone State in Crisis: Pennsylvania in the Civil War (2013); and Sex and the Civil War: Soldiers, Pornography, and the Making of American Morality (2017). Her latest book is Last Seen: The Enduring Search by Formerly Enslaved People for their Lost Family (forthcoming, 2025) which tells the stories of ten people as they look for the family they lost in slavery, and it shows how Black women and men reconstituted families, traced the lines of kinship that mattered, and determined which ought to be severed. Giesberg also edited Emilie Davis's Civil War: The Diaries of a Free Black Woman in Philadelphia, 1863–1865 (2014) and coedited, with Randall Miller, Women and the American Civil War: North-South Counterpoints (2018). She directs the project Last Seen: Finding Family after Slavery, which is digitizing "Information Wanted" advertisements placed in newspapers by African Americans looking for family members lost in slavery.

NEW IN 2025: Last Seen: The Enduring Search by Formerly Enslaved People for their Lost Family (Simon & Schuster)

OAH Lectures by Judith Giesberg

This lectures explores the ways in which women's Civil War experiences were remembered and rewritten and why that matters for visitors at places like Gettysburg Natonal Military Park.

This lecture explores Philadelphia civil rights community, highlighting the work of a number of African American women in schools and churches during the Civil War and afterwards.

This lecture explores efforts to control access to erotic images and words circulated among men in U.S. army camps during the Civil War.

This lecture highlights the experiences of working class and poor women in the Civil War North through an exploration of Lydia Bixby, the widow to whom Abraham Lincoln addressed a condolence letter in November 1864.


More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources