Jonathan W. White to give fourth annual Williams Lecture on Lincoln and Civil War Studies

Contact: Madison Welzbacher

Headshot of Jonathan W. White
Jonathan W. White (Submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A highly esteemed historian and author will visit Mississippi State to speak during the university’s fourth annual Frank and Virginia Williams Lecture on Lincoln and Civil War Studies on Oct. 28.

Jonathan W. White is an associate professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. The lecture, titled “In A House Built By Slaves: African American Encounters with Abraham Lincoln,” will be based on White’s upcoming book, "To Address You As My Friend: African American Letters to Abraham Lincoln" (The University of North Carolina Press).

The event will be held at 1 p.m. in the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library and is free and open to the public. Copies of his new book, set to be released Oct. 26, will be available for purchase with the opportunity to get books signed by the author. The lecture will be livestreamed, with access instructions forthcoming at

White is a doctoral graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and is the author of 12 books about Lincoln and the Civil War. He wrote “Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln” (LSU Press, 2014), selected as “best book” by Civil War Monitor, a finalist for both the Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize and Jefferson Davis Prize, and winner of the Abraham Lincoln Institute’s 2015 book prize. One of his more recent novels is “Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams During the Civil War” (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), which also was selected as “best book” by Civil War Monitor magazine. He serves as vice chair of The Lincoln Forum and on the boards of several Lincoln and Civil War-based associations.

Preceding the lecture, an addition to the Williams Collection will be unveiled at 11 a.m. on the fourth floor of Mitchell Memorial Library in front of the U.S. Grant Presidential Library. The addition is called “Moody, Tearful Night,” a depiction of a fatally wounded Abraham Lincoln being carried from the Ford Theatre by Union soldiers after he was shot by John Wilkes Booth.

The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana is located in Mitchell Memorial Library and represents a lifetime of work collecting documents, books, artifacts, ephemera, philately, numismatics, paintings and statuary related to the life of the 16th U.S. president and the Civil War in general.

The continued generosity of Frank and Virginia Williams to MSU gives the university community and local residents an opportunity each year to learn more about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. The lecture series brings leading scholars to campus to share their knowledge and expertise, providing an additional educational opportunity for those interested in learning more about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War and positioning the university among the nation’s leading centers for the study of this era.

For more on the Williams Collection, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:03 am