Author Archives: branchuk

Andrew Short: Peter Parish Memorial Fund Report

Thanks to the support of Peter Parish Memorial Fund, I was able to go on a research trip to New Mexico in April 2018. The purpose of the trip was part of my research into the relationship between Protestant home missionary organisations and the state in the late-nineteenth century American West. I began my research at the Menaul Historical Library of the Southwest, a small archive based at the Menaul School, a former Presbyterian mission school established in 1896. Most of the holdings of the Library are related to genealogies and family histories, but the Library also holds a cache of materials related to Presbyterian missions in New Mexico that was invaluable for my research. The particular collection that I focussed on was the records of the Albuquerque Indian School, one of the many ‘contract schools’ established in collaboration between the Federal Government and church mission Boards, aimed at the assimilation of Native American children to U.S. cultural and social norms. This collection provided valuable insight into the inner workings of this ‘contract school’, revealing the competing agendas of the two agencies over the direction & purpose of the school – each side had competing ideas about funding for the school and the use of Native American languages in the school.

The second institution I visited was Centre for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico. I had my planned items to research, however one particularly rich source was suggested by an archivist, the papers of William G. Ritch, Secretary of the Territory of New Mexico from 1873 until 1885. The Centre was in the process of digitising Ritch’s papers and the archivist allowed me to search through their working database. This suggestion from the archivist gave me the chance to focus on an historical agent I had not considered beforehand. With regard to Territorial governance, I had been focussing on Governors of the Territory, going through (with meagre results) Governor’s papers looking for relevant correspondence. Yet in the U.S. Territories, the Secretary also wielded significant influence, and was often more involved in decision making than absentee and disinterested Governors. William Ritch, for example, served for twelve-years in the role of Secretary, and saw four separate Governors walk through the Governor’s Palace in Santa Fe. Examining his papers I found corresponded with Protestant clergyman in New Mexico, who Ritch considered allies in his wider ‘crusade’ against what saw as the Roman Catholic domination of New Mexico. Overall, I left New Mexico satisfied with my research trip, and with the valuable resources to further my project.






American Nineteenth Century History: Editor Position

Editor Position:  American Nineteenth Century History (ANCH)

 After over eight years at the helm of American Nineteenth Century History, Bruce Baker and Susan O’Donovan are stepping down as editors. BrANCH is now seeking a UK-based Editor for ANCH, with a view to the new Editor appointing, if appropriate or desired, a US-based co-editor. The appointment would run from January 2019 to allow for a short transition period.

The new editor will be working closely with the ANCH Book Review Editors, Patrick Doyle (UK) and Billy Coleman, and the Assistant Editor Alexander Page, as well as with the BrANCH Committee, to develop the academic and publishing relationship between BrANCH and ANCH, with particular focus on developing Web-based review initiatives.

If interested in this position, please send a short c.v. and covering letter to the BrANCH Chair, Susan-Mary Grant ( by Monday 1st October 2018, detailing what you might bring to the role of ANCH Editor, and how you see the journal developing over the next five years.


Journal of American Studies: Editorial Assistant position

Editorial Assistant to the Co-Editors-in-Chief: Journal of American Studies

Applications are invited for the post of Editorial Assistant to the incoming Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of American Studies, Dr. Sinéad Moynihan and Dr. Nick Witham. The Journal of American Studies is an interdisciplinary journal published jointly by the British Association for American Studies (BAAS) and Cambridge University Press. More information on the Journal is available here:

The annual salary is £3,600 which is paid on a monthly basis. The successful candidate can expect to work 25 hours per month. The work can be carried out remotely and the candidate does not need to be based at either of the editors’ home institutions. The post is available from 1 November 2018 for a maximum of four years.

Role of the Editorial Assistant

The Editorial Assistant supports the Co-Editors-in-Chief in processing article submissions, communicating regularly with the Co-Editors-in-Chief and maintaining a broad overview of actions relating to new and outstanding submissions. Specifically, s/he shall be responsible for

  • Twice weekly maintenance, checking, and data input into the ScholarOne system
  • Maintaining regular contact with the Co-Editors-in-Chief, including weekly updates regarding new submissions.
  • Maintaining regular contact with the Co-Editors-in-Chief regarding articles for which readers’ reports remain outstanding and/or in cases in which reviewers have declined and additional recommendations are required.
  •  Communicating with authors regarding any queries that they may have relating to the review/production/publication process in a timely manner.
  • Maintaining regular contact with the Production team at CUP in order to ensure timely processing of articles accepted for publication in readiness for appearance in print.
  • Forwarding accepted material to CUP on schedule
  •  Keeping track of all acceptance/rejection data.
  • To attend, available monies permitting, the annual Editorial Board Meeting
  • Informing Co-Editors-in-Chief in advance of annual leave/periods of absence so that they can be ready to maintain the system during these periods.

Skills and Experience Required

Excellent organisational and communication skills are essential for this post. An interest in academic publishing is also desirable. Preference may be given to candidates who have research expertise in American Studies.

If you are interested in applying for this post, please submit to both Sinéad Moynihan ( and Nick Witham (

  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A 1-page cover letter outlining your skills and, if applicable, experience.

The closing date for applications is Friday 12 October 2018 at 5:00pm.  It is expected that shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the week commencing Monday 22 October 2018 via Skype.

Please direct informal inquiries to both Sinéad Moynihan ( and Nick Witham (


As a professional body of historians, BrANCH has been invited to comment on the Draft Criteria (Panel and Submissions) for REF2021 (available here).

We will send in one, collated BrANCH response, and invite all BrANCH members (REF2021 really only impacts those working in the UK, but that does not mean that non-UK views are neither relevant nor welcome; they are, and they are!) to participate in this exercise if time and inclination permit.

If you have any comments, positive or negative, on the Draft Criteria, please send these to the BrANCH Secretary, Dr Becky Fraser at UEA: ( by Wednesday 19th September at the latest.


American History in the UK

BGEAH (British Group of Early American Historians), BrANCH (British American Nineteenth Century Historians) and HOTCUS (Historians of the Twentieth Century United States) are pleased to invite participation in a new survey exploring the conditions of study, recruitment and employment within the field of American history as practised in the UK.
The survey is open to anyone who is teaching or conducting research in American history, from the pre-colonial period onwards, at a British higher education institution, or who has recently done so. Postgraduate research students, early career researchers, and established academics are all invited to respond.
The survey will normally take around ten minutes to complete. It will remain open until March 1. Its principal purpose is to produce a broader base of knowledge about the social forces shaping the field of American history in the UK.
We would like to know more about who is studying and working in the field, what routes they have followed into the field, and what obstacles they have encountered – or are likely to encounter – along the way.
Over the course of the past twenty years, the community of American historians in the UK, in terms of both faculty and postgraduate students, has grown very significantly, through its constituent organizations and under the umbrella of BAAS. But size alone is not a guarantee of inclusiveness or representativeness. It is now time for the field to build upon its achievements in network- and capacity-building with efforts to make the pursuit of advanced degrees and careers in American history more accessible to all members of society. To do that, we need better information about current conditions. 
Surveys are rarely sources of joy. The categories used will not always match the varieties of human identity and experience. There may be some questions that you do not feel able to answer. But we hope that you will see value in completing the survey as fully as you can and passing the link on to others.
We aim to produce a report on the results and recommendations for action by summer 2018. The report will focus on aggregate findings. Individual responses will remain confidential.

Book Launch: Adam I.P. Smith, ‘The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics 1846-1865’, UCL, March 20th

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The University of North Carolina Press is hosting a book launch at UCL on Tuesday 20th March to celebrate the publication of Adam I P Smith’s latest (and Lincoln Prize shortlisted) book, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics 1846-1865.

The event will be held in The Garden Room, Wilkins Building, UCL between 18.00 and 20.00. There will be speeches at 18.45.
Simply for catering purposes, if you intend to come to this, please let Adam know at:

BrANCH EBAAS (2018) Panel CFP

BrANCH invites submissions for a panel(s) to be submitted to the joint British Association for American Studies/European Association for American Studies Conference that will be taking place in London, 4-7 April, 2018. The details are at:

Without being prescriptive, BrANCH proposes that a sponsored panel(s) might showcase the range of research undertaken by BrANCH members and postgraduates, ideally structured around the EBAAS conference theme of ‘Environment, Place and Protest.’

  1.     Open Panel on BrANCH Research

EBAAS has noted that 2018 is an opportunity, fifty years on, to reflect on the tumultuous events of 1968. A BrANCH panel, obviously, would have the opportunity to locate this anniversary in a far longer temporal trajectory. With this in mind, a range of possible political historical topics suggest themselves, inspired not least by the fact that the EBAAS Conference coincides with the sesquicentennial of President Andrew Johnson’s narrowly avoiding impeachment in the Senate in April 1868. That year, too, saw the first Memorial Day celebrations, and the various ongoing political, economic, social and environmental challenges and changes associated with Reconstruction. A BrANCH panel need not, of course, adhere to the anniversary angle, as the ‘Environment, Place and Protest’ theme allows for a range of approaches.

  1.     BrANCH Postgraduate Panel

BrANCH would anticipate that a distinct postgraduate panel would offer the opportunity for our postgraduate and ECR members to showcase their research in a different environment but broadly within the ‘Environment, Place and Protest’ theme.

Note: in order to facilitate postgraduate/ECR involvement, BrANCH is able to offer some limited financial support in the form of travel costs only up to a maximum of £100 for each of three participants if financial support from the home HEI is not available. BrANCH regrets that it cannot cover conference fees or accommodation costs or any other expenses associated with attendance at EBAAS 2018.

We invite proposals (ideally three-paper panel proposals but individual, too) of c.250 words for each proposed 20-minute presentation. These, together with a one-page C.V. for each panel participant should be sent to the BrANCH Chair, Professor S-M Grant ( by Friday 1st September, 2017.