Robert F. Engs, professor at UPenn and William & Mary, dies

Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, Robert F. Engs

William & Mary Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community on Jan. 17, 2013 - Ed.

I write with great sadness to share the news that Robert F. Engs, former Visiting Professor of History at William & Mary, and Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, died on Monday, January 14, 2013. 

Professor Engs came to William & Mary in the fall of 2008 as the Visiting J.P. Harrison Professor of History.  He taught a course that explored the Civil War experience as described by black and white Southerners, mostly from the Tidewater area.  He also researched and wrote a report on what was known about the history of African Americans at the College and the steps that needed to be taken to complete that history.  His work led to the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation.  After retiring from the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Engs returned to William & Mary in the fall of 2009 to bring together a number of local and College efforts exploring slavery, Jim Crow, integration and efforts toward College/community reconciliation, and acted as the initial consulting scholar for the Project.  He was an expert on the post–Civil War American South, particularly the responses of freed people and white Southerners to emancipation, and he had a special interest in the roles of education, religion and the missionaries in the emancipation process.  Professor Engs also wrote numerous articles and books, including “Freedom’s First Generation: Black Hampton, Va., 1861-1863,” and had developed an electronic archive on the middle 19th century, titled “The Crisis of the Union Archives.” He was currently editing a collection of Civil War letters....

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