Dr. Angela Esco Elder is an Associate Professor of History at Converse University. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Ph.D in History, she became the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech. Her dissertation, which explored the experience of Confederate widowhood, won the Southern Historical Association’s C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize and St. George Tucker Society’s Melvin E. Bradford Dissertation Prize in 2017.
At Converse, she teaches a variety of American history courses, including her specialty in the Civil War and women’s history, and unique courses like “Duels, Disease, and Disaster: Death in 19th Century America.” Dr. Elder sees great value in learning through hands-on experiences, with pedagogy like Reacting to the Past. In 2018, students awarded her the Faculty Involvement and Collaboration Award, in recognition of her commitment to the core values of Converse College. In 2019, she received the Joe Ann Lever Award of Excellence and in 2021, the SCICU Teaching Excellence Award.
When she isn’t lost in stories of the American past, Dr. Elder enjoys cooking and traveling with her husband and children.
Read more about Dr. Elder’s activities and accomplishments
Selected Publications & Presentations
Dr. Elder has published a number of book chapters, encyclopedia articles, and book reviews. She also has received grants from many institutions, including Duke University, Filson Historical Society, George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, Louisiana State University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, and Virginia Tech. She explains more about her first project in this interview with C-SPAN.
Her publications include Practical Strangers: The Courtship Correspondence of Nathaniel Dawson and Elodie Todd, Sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. These letters chronicle a Civil War courtship. It is an engrossing story of two people falling in love and of Abraham Lincoln’s shattered family. In 2022, she published her book on Civil War widowhood, Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss, through the University of North Carolina Press.
Scholarly & Research Activity
In her research, Dr. Angela Esco Elder, Associate Professor of History, explores gender, emotion, and 19th century America.
Elder’s research trips have taken her through local archives and universities across thirteen states, and her conference presentations include the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Civil War Historians, and Southern Association for Women Historians.
Currently, Elder is working on a new project on historic Key West, where the key lime pie is definitely a perk after a long day of research.