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Participant name: giesberg

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Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
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FT-54152-06Research Programs: Summer StipendsJudith Ann GiesbergNorthern Women, Work, and the U.S. Civil War, 1861-18676/1/2006 - 6/30/2007$5,000.00JudithAnnGiesberg   Villanova UniversityVillanovaPA19085-1478USA2006U.S. HistorySummer StipendsResearch Programs5000050000

Women working to serve soldiers and care for their own families during the U.S. Civil War created alternative and unorthodox sites for political engagement. I examine a number of these sites – Philadelphia’s streetcars; the streets of Boston’s Irish North End community; county courthouses in rural Pennsylvania; relief offices and almshouses in cities throughout the north; and the grounds of U.S. Army arsenals in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The principal goal of this project is to understand how the war was fought in the spaces of everyday life, where women worked to affect its outcome abroad and to give it meaning at home.

FZ-287117-22Research Programs: Public ScholarsJudith Ann GiesbergLast Seen: Searching for Family After Slavery1/1/2023 - 12/31/2023$60,000.00JudithAnnGiesberg   Villanova UniversityVillanovaPA19085-1478USA2022African American HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs600000600000

Research and writing leading to a book on previously enslaved persons’ efforts to locate missing family members. 

Last Seen tells the story of ten ex-slaves as they search for family members taken from them in slavery. Through ads they placed in the papers, the book traces their efforts to find children, parents, brothers, and sisters who were sold into the Domestic Slave Trade. Their stories are compelling, heartbreaking, and unforgettable. Understanding the long, slow, and incomplete process by which ex-slaves reclaimed and rebuilt their families forces us to rethink the narrative of American freedom. Reconstruction marked the beginning of a new chapter in American history in which the nation sought a way forward, without slavery. It has often been portrayed as a moment of reunion, both for the nation and for ex-slaves who are pictured happily embracing one another again and moving on, together, into freedom. Instead it was the beginning of a long process of holding on to hope and managing expectations. How did ex-slaves make freedom even as missing family tugged them back to slavery?