Yacovone, Donald 1952–
Yacovone, Donald 1952–
Born February 25, 1952, in Hartford, CT; son of Alfred F. and Mary E. Yacovone; married Cory C. Burke, July 2, 1988 (divorced) children: Natasha L. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Southern Connecticut State University, B.S., 1974; Trinity College, M.A., 1977; Claremont Graduate School, Ph.D., 1984. Hobbies and other interests: Cycling.
University of Arizona, Tucson, visiting lecturer, 1983-84; Millersville University, Millersville, PA, assistant professor, 1984-86; Florida State University, Tallahassee, assistant editor of Black Abolitionist Papers, 1986-91; Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, senior associate editor, 1991—, and editor of Massachusetts Historical Review, beginning 1999; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, research manager of W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research. Organization of American Historians, distinguished lecturer, 2004—.
American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Association for Documentary Editing, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Society for Civil War Historians.
Fellowships from John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, 1981-82, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, 1986-87, American Council of Learned Societies, 1991, American Philosophical Society, 1991, and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1989, 1993-94.
Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.
(Assistant editor) The Black Abolitionist Papers, Volume 3: The United States, 1830-1846, Volume 4: The United States, 1847-1858, Volume 5: The United States, 1859-1865, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1991-92.
(Editor, with C. Peter Ripley, Roy E. Finkenbine, and Michael F. Hembree) Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation (includes material from The Black Abolitionist Papers), University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1993.
A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1997, paperback edition published as A Voice of Thunder: A Black Soldier's Civil War, 1998.
(Editor, with Martin H. Blatt and Thomas J. Brown) Hope and Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, MA), 2000.
(Editor) Freedom's Journey: African American Voices of the Civil War, Lawrence Hill Books (Chicago, IL), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of American History, Reviews in American History, American Legacy, Pennsylvania History, Humanities, Journal of the Early Republic, American Quarterly, Perspectives in American History, New England Quarterly, and Georgia Historical Quarterly.
Donald Yacovone writes about American history, especially the antislavery movement, the Civil War, and the history of manhood. His first book, Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, provides an account of the Unitarian minister, abolitionist, education reformer, and peace and temperance advocate who promoted female suffrage in nineteenth-century America. "A non-resistant pacifist, a supporter of women's rights, and ever a crusader against the political corruption of a pro-slavery government, May remained always the gentle humanitarian," wrote William H. Pease in New England Quarterly. He described Yacovone's book as "psychohistory, social science history, biography, intellectual history rolled into one," and added that it "displays considerable imagination and strength." Another reviewer, Lawrence B. Goodheart, described Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, in an American Historical Review appraisal, as "an engaging biography with important insights about a fascinating figure," and Len Gougeon, in a Journal of American History assessment, described Yacovone's work as "a well-written, factually detailed, and worthwhile study."
Yacavone edited Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation, with collaborators Roy E. Finkenbine and Michael Hembree. Julie Winch, writing in the Journal of Southern History, described Witness for Freedom as "scholarly editing at its best" and summarized it as "invaluable." Similarly, Janet Harrison wrote in the Journal of American History that the book constitutes "an excellent introduction to black abolitionism." Michael A. Cooke, reviewing the book in the Mississippi Quarterly, felt that Witness for Freedom "is an important new addition to samplings of the hopes and despairs of black abolitionists."
A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens is a biography and documentary collection of a black community leader from Philadelphia who served in the Union Army and worked as a correspondent for the New York Weekly Anglo-African during the U.S. Civil War. R.A. Fischer, writing in Choice, described A Voice of Thunder as a "delightful volume, combining a skillfully crafted biography with [Stephens's] published correspondence." David A. Cecere, while suggesting that "Yacovone should have taken a fresher approach," acknowledged in New England Quarterly that the book "is certainly a fine effort at rediscovering a neglected voice."
Yacovone teamed with Laura McCall to edit A Shared Experience: Men, Women, and the History of Gender, a collection of essays by writers described by a reviewer in Choice as "authors who collectively assert that socially constructed gender roles were often more flexible than historians have recognized." Yacovone also contributed the chapter "Surpassing the Love of Women: Victorian Manhood and the Language of Fraternal Love." This essay, like the rest of the book, seeks to overturn modern assumptions about manhood and gender in the nineteenth century. The essay summarizes themes that have preoccupied Yacovone since his first book on Samuel Joseph May and the Garrisonian antislavery community. Nancy F. Cott suggested in American Historical Review that A Shared Experience "overreaches itself with its claims to unseat and replace the old," but added that "the collection has some bright spots nonetheless." Thomas Winter, meanwhile, wrote in a Journal of Men's Studies review that the book "makes a significant step toward a history of gender" and noted that it "directs our attention to remaining gaps in the scholarship."
Yacovone coedited Hope and Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, a collection of essays on the most famous regiment of black soldiers of the Civil War. The book, divided into three sections, traces the history of the regiment and its men, and the many ways Americans have memorialized the regiment and interpreted the Augustus Saint-Gaudens monument on Boston Common. The book, which Boston Globe reviewer Michael Kenney deemed "richly rewarding," brings the history of the regiment and the monument into the present by concluding the collection with a look at the role of African Americans in the Civil War reenactment community. The volume includes essays from such writers as Helen Vendler, David Blight, and Denise Von Glahn, as well as a foreword by General Colin L. Powell.
According to Kliatt reviewer Raymond Puffer, Freedom's Journey: African American Voices of the Civil War is the first published collection of primary source documents created by black Americans of this time period. Moreover, the collected letters, diaries, speeches, articles from black periodicals, and other original sources depicts the experiences of the widest possible spectrum of men of color. The writers are farmers, soldier, tradesmen, journalists, teachers, even spies, as well as slaves and former slaves, and their communication skills rival the most florid and erudite prose of their white compatriots, Puffer reported. He called Yacovone's selection of documents "exciting, absorbing, anger producing, hilarious, and pathetic in turn."
Yacovone once told CA: "I have spent my writing career examining the central flaws of democracy in the nineteenth century—slavery and racism—and the construction of masculinity. In both cases, the history has not been what we, as a society, have imagined and both subjects reveal how much social values have changed and fall short of ideals. In the case of black history, the condition of African Americans is the central barometer of democratic health. How we choose to remember the past, and the black role in it, is critical to our future."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1992, Lawrence B. Goodheart, review of Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, pp. 1279-1280.
Booklist, February 15, 2004, Frieda Murray, review of Freedom's Journey: African American Voices of the Civil War, p. 1026.
Boston Globe, February 6, 2001, Michael Kenney, review of Hope and Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, p. E2.
Choice, October, 1991, P.F. Field, review of Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, p. 344; July-August, 1997, R.A. Fischer, review of A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens, p. 1866; April, 1999, K. Gedge, review of A Shared Experience, pp. 1520-1521; October, 2001, R. Detweiler, review of Hope and Glory, p. 375; October, 2004, J.D. Smith, review of Freedom's Journey, p. 354.
Civil War History, March, 1993, Robert McColley, review of The Black Abolitionist Papers, pp. 84-86; September, 1997, Robert McColley, review of A Voice of Thunder.
Historian, spring, 1999, Richard Newman, review of A Voice of Thunder.
Journal of American History, June, 1992, Len Gougeon, review of Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, pp. 267-268; December, 1994, Janet Harrison, review of Witness for Freedom: African American Voices on Race, Slavery, and Emancipation, pp. 1314-1315; March, 2000, C. Dallett Hemphill, review of A Shared Experience.
Journal of Men's Studies, fall, 1999, Thomas Winter, review of A Shared Experience.
Journal of Southern History, August, 1994, Julie Winch, review of Witness for Freedom, pp. 578-579.
Kliatt, July, 2004, Raymond Puffer, review of Freedom's Journey, p. 43.
Mississippi Quarterly, fall, 1994, Michael A. Cooke, review of Witness for Freedom.
New England Quarterly, March, 1993, William H. Pease, review of Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1871, pp. 142-144; December, 1997, David A. Cecere, review of A Voice of Thunder.
New York Review of Books, November 4, 1993, David Brion Davis, "Terror in Mississippi," pp. 6-11.
Military Review,http://www-cgsc.army.mil/ (May-June, 1998), Richard L. Kiper, review of A Voice of Thunder.
Wofford College Web site,http://www.wofford.edu/ (July 26, 1999), Larry McGehee, review of A Voice of Thunder.