Where We Meet!
 

The 3 West Club
3 West 51st Street
New York City
 

Please call to reserve your place at least
7 days before each meeting:
Telephone number: 718-341-9811

Come Enjoy!
 
"Dinner and a Speaker"

5:00pm Cocktails
6:00pm Dinner     
7:00pm Speaker   

 

 $50.00 members
$60.00 guests     

     
 

BELL I. WILEY AWARD

 
     
 
The Civil War Round Table of New York Presents its Bell I. Wiley Award to James M. McPherson
 
On April 9, 2014, The Civil War Round Table of New York, celebrating its 63rd year, presented the BELL I. WILEY AWARD for only the 11th time to James M. McPherson, one the country’s greatest Civil War historians.

(From Left to Right)
Martin A. Smith, President of CWRTNY; James M. McPherson, Bell I. Wiley Award Winner; Judith Lee Hallock,
Bell Wiley Committee Chairperson; William Finlayson, Bell I. Wiley Committee Member
(Photo Credit:  R. L. Burke)

 

 The BELL I. WILEY AWARD was bestowed by William Finlayson, Past President of the CWRT of New York, at the Round Table’s 579th  meeting at which Professor McPherson  discussed “The Rewards of Risk Taking:  Two Civil War Admirals.” This award honors those whose outstanding non-literary/artistic talents have contributed to a greater understanding and preservation of that which pertains to the Civil War.  Previous winners have included Jerry L. Russell (1983), Edwin C. Bearss (1986), Annie Snyder (1988), Zetna Andrews (1989), Ken Burns (1991), Ronald Maxwell (1993), Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (1997), Jeff Shaara (2001), Harold Holzer (2008), and James I. “Bud” Roberston, Jr. (2011).
 
Professor McPherson was born in Valley City, North Dakota in 1936 and raised in Minnesota.  He received his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958 and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963.  His mentor at Johns Hopkins was legendary historian C. Vann Woodward.  He was awarded the Anisfield-Wold Award in 1965 for his book, The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction.  In 1989, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his most famous book and perhaps the best single-volume history of the American Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom.  In 1998 he received the Lincoln Prize for his book, For Cause and Comrades.  In 2002 he published both a scholarly book, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam 1862 and a history of the Civil War for children, Fields of Fury.  In 2009 he was awarded the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military history—the first person to be awarded the prize.  In 2009 he was the co-winner of the Lincoln Prize for Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.  Dr. McPherson is also known for his outspokenness and activism and for being a crusader to preserve Civil War Battlefields.  He is currently Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University where he has taught since 1962.
 
The BELL I. WILEY AWARD was created in 1981 by the Civil War Round Table of New York to honor one of America’s greatest Civil War historians.  Bell Wiley has been described by his protege, James Robertson as “the greatest spokesman for the nineteenth century common man.”  A prolific writer, Dr. Wiley produced a body of ground-breaking work that did not attempt to see the nation’s bloodiest conflict through the eyes of its generals, but instead through the trench-level perspective of the ordinary soldier.  Wiley’s most famous books, The Life of Johnny Reb and The Life of Billy Yank were the result of his research and reading of more than thirty thousand soldiers’ letters.  Dr. Wiley was born in 1906 in Halls, Tennessee where he and his ten siblings picked cotton and helped their parents work their small farm.  He once said, “I grew up in the midst of Civil War history,” hearing tales from his grandmother, a confederate widow, and from family friends who actually served in both armies during the conflict.  Dr. Wiley received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1933.  His friends and admirers included William Faulkner, Margaret Mitchell, and C. Vann Woodward, among others.  In the 1950’s his progressive stance on civil rights rankled many fellow Southerners.  He taught at Mississippi Southern College, the University of Mississippi, Louisiana State, and Emory University.  Dr. Wiley died in 1980 having authored over two dozen books.
 
Founded in 1951, The Civil War Round Table of New York generally meets the second Wednesday of the month from September to June. Members assist each other with research, discuss preservation strategy for endangered battlefields and other sites, and listen to a distinguished speaker talk about a particular aspect of the war. For the 2013-2014 Season, the meeting location is The 3 West Club, 3 West 51st Street in Manhattan.
 
For more information on the Civil War Round Table of New York, please contact The Civil War Round Table of New York at our mailing address: 139-33 250th Street, Rosedale, New York 11422.  Or, if you prefer, call 718-341-9811, or email us at cwrtnyc1@gmail.com
 
About the Bell I. Wiley Award
 
At the September 8, 1981 meeting of the board of directors of the Civil War Round Table of New York, past president George Craig submitted a recommendation for a suitable award to be established in memory of Dr. Bell I. Wiley.  This award would be in addition to the organization’s current awards and would honor those whose outstanding non-literary/artistic talents have contributed to a greater understanding and preservation of that which pertains to the Civil War; that this not be an annual award; that the award be in the form of a plaque, properly inscribed, to be presented to an accredited recipient whenever a committee of responsible Round Table members, appointed by the then current president, deems it proper to bestow such an award.  The membership at the November 11, 1981 meeting unanimously adopted the recommendation and Judith Hallock was appointed chairperson.  The committee members were Theodore Bushell and William Finlayson.  On April 9, 2014, current chairperson Judith Lee Hallock along with committee member William Finlayson have decided to present the 11th Bell I. Wiley Award to James M. McPherson.  The inscription on the plaque shall read:
 
“THE CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE OF NEW YORK PRESENTS THE BELL I. WILEY AWARD TO JAMES M. McPHERSON TO HONOR HIS LIFETIME OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR THROUGH RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS AND EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM AND IN THE PUBLIC FORUM APRIL 9, 2014”
  
 
     
 

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