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Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz

Assistant Professor, Social Science Teaching Program Coordinator

Office: 2556 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-6362
Email: blaughlinschul@eiu.edu

I am a historian of the 19th century United States, and I specialize in the broad Civil War era, the antislavery movement, the memory of the Civil War in American culture, and American women's history. My book, The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown's Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism, was published in 2013. I am also the coordinator for Social Science Teaching, and I work with students interested in teacher licensure in the History Department as well as in the Social Science Studies program (for those who wish to concentrate in Geography, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology-Anthropology while seeking teacher licensure).

Frequently Taught Courses

HIS 2010: The United States to 1877
HIS 2020: The United States since 1877
HIS 3900: Women in American History
SOS 3400: Social Science Teaching Methods


PhD, Indiana University, 2009
MA, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2000
BA, Knox College, 1998

Professional Organizations

  • Organization of American Historians
  • Society of Civil War Historians
  • National Council on History Education
  • National Council for the Social Studies

Speakers Bureau

For more information, please visit the Speakers Bureau Webpage.


My book on the women of abolitionist John Brown's family was published by Cornell University Press in 2013, and I continue to be interested in the field of Civil War memory.  I am working on an article about John Brown's children in southern California in the late 19th century and about how their lives intersected with memory of the Civil War. Presently I am also beginning a new project on 19th century antislavery and women's rights reformers and their ideas about and experiences of motherhood.


  • “The Lincolns as Parents” (tentative title), Blackwell Companion on Lincoln, ed. Michael Green (forthcoming)
  • The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown's Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism (Cornell University Press, 2013)
  • “John Brown’s Widow in Topeka: The Contested over Brown’s Legacy in Kansas in 1882 and Beyond,” Kansas History (2013)
  • “Going to Housekeeping, Going to War: Annie Brown Adams and Memory of John Brown’s Raid,” in Soldiers in the Army of the Lord: John Brown’s Legions, ed. Peggy Russo et al., anthology under review
  •  “‘Endangering the Peace of Society’:  Abolitionist Agitation and Mob Reaction in St. Louis and Alton, 1836–1838,” Missouri Historical Review 45 (October 2000), 1–22. Reprinted in St. Louis from Village to Metropolis: Essays from the Missouri Historical Review, 1906–2006, ed. Louis Gerteis (St. Louis: Lindenwood University Press, 2009).
  • “How was Higher Education seen as an Antidote to Female Sexual Vulnerability, 1780–1830?,” Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600–2000 , June 2007.
  • “White Women,” in Reconstruction: People and Places, ed. James Campbell and Rebecca Fraser (abc-clio, Fall 2008).

Conference Presentations

  • “‘Could I Not Do Something for the Cause?’: The Brown Women & Antislavery Activism,” Underground Railroad National Conference, Detroit, MI, July 2014
  • “‘Relicts’ of the War: Famous Widows and the Shaping of Civil War Memory,” Berkshire Conference on Women’s Historian, Toronto, May 2014
  • “‘he depended on me to watch’: Annie Brown, Housekeeper and Guerilla,” Society of Civil War Historians Annual Conference, Lexington, KY, June 2012
  •  “Making eoc Tests Central but Not Dominant: Idealistic Pragmatism in the History Education Classroom,” OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, April 19-22, 2012 (panel organizer: “Teaching to the Test? Creating Space for Historical Thinking amidst the Realities of State Standards and Curriculum Controversies in History Education”)
  •  “Using Primary Sources to Teach the Revolutionary Era,” North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, February 23, 2012
  •  “Children of Notoriety: Interpreting the War’s Legacy at the Deaths of Owen Brown and Winnie Davis,” “The Legacy of the Civil War: An Interdisciplinary Conference,” Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 10-12, 2011
  • “Searching for the Truth about John Brown, In and Out of the Classroom,” North Carolina Professors of Social Studies Education Retreat,” UNC-Greensboro, June 14, 2011
  • “Illuminating Invisible Pasts: Utilizing the Sesquicentennial to Re-Imagine the Interpretations of the Civil War Era,” panel presentation, Symposium on Public History and the American Civil War, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, March 26, 2011
  • “Teaching the Outbreak of the War through John Brown’s Raid,” North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, February 24, 2011
  •  “The Civil War: A Historian’s Roundtable,” North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, February 24, 2011
  • “‘Thanks to your own struggles … the slave is free’: Mary Brown’s 1882 Eastern Tour,” Organization of American Historians Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2010 [panel organizer: “The Memory of John Brown & Radical Antislavery Culture in America, 1880–1940”]
  • “Annie Brown Adams and the Harpers Ferry Raid,” “John Brown Remembered:  150th Anniversary of the Raid on Harpers Ferry,” Harpers Ferry National Park, Harpers Ferry, WV, October 14–17, 2009
  • “‘Am I Not John Brown’s Daughter?’: Annie Brown and Abolitionist Activism,” Berkshire Conference on Women’s History, Minneapolis, MN, June 2008
  • “Could I Not Do Something for the Cause? The Brown Women and John Brown’s Female Networks,” Brown Bag Talk, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, MA, June 6, 2007
  • “‘I am the only person who can honestly claim to be ‘the last survivor’: The Brown Women in Gilded Age and Progressive America,” American Historical Association Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, January 2007
  •  “‘By one fell swoop’”: A Cultural History of Emancipation in the Antebellum ‘Middle Ground,’” OAH Midwestern Regional Conference, Lincoln, NE, July 6–8, 2006 [panel organizer]

Funding & Grants

  • Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2008–2009
  • Fletcher Jones Foundation Huntington Research Fellow, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2008–2009
  • Fellowship, Schlesinger Library Summer Seminar on Gender History: “Writing Past Lives: Biography as History,” June 24–29, 2007
  • Gilder Lehrman Fellowship, 2006–2007
  • Ruth R. & Alyson R. Miller Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society, 2006–2007
  • James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship in American History, 1998–2000