Shaffer, Donald R. 1965–

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Shaffer, Donald R. 1965–


Born 1965. Education: Graceland College, B.A., 1987; California State University, Fullerton, M.A., 1990; University of Maryland, Ph.D., 1996.


Office—Department of History, Upper Iowa University, 605 Washington St., P.O. Box 1857, Fayette, IA. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, educator. University of Maryland, College Park, lecturer in history, 1991-96; San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, lecturer in history, 1997-98; University of Wyoming, Laramie, assistant lecturer in history, 1999-2000; University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, lecturer in history, 2000-07; Upper Iowa University, Fayette, assistant professor of history, 2007—. State University of New York, Plattsburgh, visiting assistant professor, 1998-99. Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, archival intern, 1991 and 1992; National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Hagerstown, MD, lead historian, 1996-97.


American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Civil War Historians.


Arthur J. Beveridge research grant, American Historical Association, 1994; Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship, George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, 2005, for After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans; West Point Summer Seminar in Military History fellow, 2005.


After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans, University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 2004.

(Editor, with Elizabeth Regosin) Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files, New York University Press (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to books, including Southern Families at War, edited by Catherine Clinton, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000; and Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Post War Adjustments, edited by Paul A. Cimbala and Randall M. Miller, Fordham University Press (New York, NY), 2002. Contributor to periodicals, including Prologue and Civil War History.


In his award-winning After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans, Donald R. Shaffer offers "a reliable, sometimes moving, account of ordinary men caught in extraordinary historical circumstances," observed Journal of Southern History contributor Stuart McConnell. The nearly 180,000 black soldiers who served in the Union Army, Shaffer notes, enjoyed significant postwar benefits, including eligibility for federal pensions and admittance into the Grand Army of the Republic, the only integrated organization of Union veterans. These advantages were limited, however; racism permeated the Pension Bureau, and poor, illiterate African American veterans found it difficult to secure adequate representation. Additionally, the author "shows us that black veterans were a surprisingly insignificant political presence," Bruce R. Kahler remarked in History: Review of New Books, adding that "Shaffer confirms what David W. Blight and others have noted about the era: that reconciliation between North and South came at the expense of an emancipationist vision."

Shaffer also argues that African American males used their wartime experience to prove their worthiness as men. "One of the book's most intriguing conclusions is that the psychological boost gained by black soldiers as a result of the wartime recognition of their masculinity often lasted a lifetime," commented Patrick J. Kelly in an H-Net online review. Kelly added, "Shaffer is convincing when he argues that service in the Union Army offered many black veterans inner resources they could call upon when attempting to better themselves after their return to civilian life." Though McConnell found fault with the thesis, stating that it "seems to have been grafted onto the research after the fact," he applauded the effort, stating, "On the whole, however, this is a solid work," and called After the Glory "the standard work on African American veterans."



American Historical Review, June, 2005, Thomas J. Brown, review of After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans, p. 798.

Choice, March, 2005, K.L. Gorman, review of After the Glory, p. 1290.

History: Review of New Books, winter, 2005, Bruce R. Kahler, review of After the Glory, p. 63.

Journal of American History, September, 2005, William Seraile, review of After the Glory, p. 618.

Journal of Southern History, February, 2006, Stuart McConnell, review of After the Glory, p. 197.


H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (November, 2004), Patrick J. Kelly, "Ambiguous Victory," review of After the Glory.

Upper Iowa University Web site, (May 10, 2008), biography of Donald R. Shaffer.