Meet the Faculty: Dr. Wallace Hettle
UNI’s graduate faculty are among the most creative and innovative scholars in their fields. Their research benefits graduate students and the university, as well as the Cedar Falls community, and they are an essential part of UNI life!
Dr. Wallace Hettle, one of UNI’s history professors, is dedicated to making important historical research accessible to the public. His work helps graduate students learn crucial research skills so they can carry on the scholarly tradition in the discipline of history.
What is your academic and professional background?
My background professionally is a BA and Phd from Northwestern University.
What research or project are you currently/recently working on?
I'm working on compiling a book of sources on the Union home front in the Civil War. Here’s a brief “back cover” blurb: "This volume features a collection of primary source documents that illuminate the people--those of the Union homefront during the Civil War. The Union Homefront foregrounds the diversity of this population, which included people who varied by social class, race, age, and political views. The Union is often associated solely with politicians and generals, but its populace included intellectuals in New England, farmers in Iowa, and slave owners in Kentucky. These documents were selected and edited by Wallace Hettle, who also provides headnotes for each source and an introductory essay. This book will appeal to students and lay readers."
What colleagues, students, or others have inspired your work in this area?
My dissertation adviser, James Oakes, and other scholars who write in my field.
If graduate students have worked on this project, how does this benefit their graduate experience?
Grad students have helped. They learn to locate sources and make connections to librarians, both of which are skills needed for their theses.
What kind of sources are you/grad students working with for this project?
My selection of documents is based on my 25 years as a Civil War historian, with a variety of writing and teaching experiences. The sources would be almost impossible to find without some experience in the field: it would feel like looking for needles in a very large haystack. Crucial to the project have been sources at the Library of Congress, Civil War era newspapers, contemporary letters, sermons, novels, and post-war interviews, especially with ex-slaves in the four border states with slavery that sided with the Union.
What will the publishing process for this project look like?
First, I will send the manuscript to a couple of friends whose opinions I respect. Next, I will send it to a publisher. The book will be sent to several blind referees--that is, people from my field who will not know my identity--and it will be my job to respond to their suggestions.
What else would you like people to know about your project?
I am working with publishers to make the book affordable for the intended audiences of students and laypeople.
Want to work on projects like this with some of our outstanding faculty? Check out our MA in History.