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Rable, Reynolds to highlight 2024 Marszalek Speaker Series

February 27, 2024
Dr. George C. Rable and Ryan Reynolds


Dr. George C. Rable, Professor Emeritus and former Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama, and Ryan Reynolds, a Ph.D. candidate from Oakland, California, studying American military history and the Cold War, will be the featured speakers for the 2024 John F. and Jeanne A. Marszalek Lecture Series. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 pm on Thursday, March 7, in the John Grisham Room in Mitchell Memorial Library.

Held each March, the Marszalek Lecture Series recognizes an MSU graduate student and an established, nationally known historian to bring attention to their works and to encourage the use of primary sources in historical research, according to David Nolen, Associate Dean for Archives and Special Collections.

"The purpose of the Marszalek Fund and Lecture Series is to encourage the use of primary sources in historical research," said Nolen. "The fund allows for the purchase of primary source materials that cover the Civil War and Reconstruction; Jacksonian America; and/or race relations. The lecture allows a student researcher to present their research in an event that also features an established scholar speaking about their own research."

Rable will speak on “The Promised War: Expectations, Fears, and Hopes as Americans Confronted their Civil War.” Reynolds topic is “The Transnational Beat: America's Paramilitary Turn in Policing.”

Rable is the author of seven books on the Civil War era including Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! (University of North Carolina Press, 2002)—which won the Lincoln Prize, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South (Louisiana State University Press, 2015), and most recently Conflict of Command: George McClellan, Abraham Lincoln, and the Politics of War (Louisiana State University Press, 2023).

Reynolds’ dissertation focuses on the intersections between American grand strategy, law enforcement, and the military during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and he has received research grants from the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries. His work has appeared in The Strategy Bridge and The Journal of America’s Military Past, and he is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Military History.

Nolen said the series offers MSU students, faculty and staff the chance to hear from important scholars.

"What we hope that students will gain from the lecture is an opportunity to hear original research presented by both a student and a seasoned scholar," he said.

The lecture series and Marszalek Library Fund were established in 2002 when John F. and Jeanne A. Marszalek donated $20,000 to establish the fund with Mississippi State University Libraries for the purchase of primary source materials on three aspects of American history: Civil War and Reconstruction; Jacksonian America; and race relations. Materials purchased with this fund may be of any type other than monographs or journals.

"Through the Marszaleks' generosity the library is able to add to its collections and the research and teaching mission of the university is positively impacted by both the fund and the lecture," Nolen added.