William G. Thomas III

William G. Thomas III

Image credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

William G. Thomas III is the John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, Thomas is also a faculty fellow of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities and currently serves on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives and Records Administration. He was a cofounder and director of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia, where he was an assistant and associate professor of history in the Corcoran Department of History. He was a coeditor the award-winning digital project, Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War. With Edward L. Ayers, he coauthored "The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities," one of the first pieces of digital scholarship published in the American Historical Review. In 2008 he was awarded a Digital Innovation Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and he has received numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also published essays in Civil War History, The Journal of Historical Geography, The New York Times, EDUCAUSE Review, and Inside Higher Education. His books include The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America (2011), a shortlist finalist for the Lincoln Prize. He is currently writing a book called "A Question of Freedom: American Families and Slavery in the Age of Revolution," chronicling the history of black, white, and mixed families in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and early Washington, D.C., and the burst of freedom suits and manumission in the Chesapeake from the Revolution to the Civil War.

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Twitter: @wgthomas3.


  • An Historical Mystery: Ann Williams and the Quest for Freedom
  • Suing for Freedom: Families and Slavery in the Age of Revolution
  • Teaching with Technology: From the Survey to the Seminar


“The Iron Way: Railroads, Civil War, and the Making of Modern America”

This lecture was sponsored by the Michael J. Colligan History Project at Miami University Hamilton. Recorded by Michael Bisson, Computer and Information Technology Services, in October 2011.

Visit the OAH YouTube channel for more audio and video recordings.