Dr. James J. Broomall, Director
James J. Broomall is the Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War and an associate professor of History at Shepherd University. Before coming to Shepherd, Broomall most recently served as an assistant professor of History at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2011 working under Professor William A. Link whose family, coincidentally, is from the Shepherdstown area. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro awarded his master’s degree in history and museum studies in 2006, and he earned his B.A. from the University of Delaware in 2001.
With an abiding passion for the Civil War-era, Professor Broomall has worked in diverse environments ranging from academic institutions to local museums, and developed courses, conferences, and programs of interpretation focusing on the experiences of civilians, soldiers, and slaves during the mid-Nineteenth Century. Broomall’s scholarship is dedicated to the Civil War-era. He most recently published Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers as part of the University of North Carolina Press’s Civil War America series. Further, along with William A. Link, Broomall published an edited collection Rethinking American Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom (2016, Cambridge University Press). He has articles in Civil War History, Civil War Times, The Journal of the Civil War Era, and the edited volume, Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South in addition to historiographical essays, book reviews, and online essays. Broomall has also recently completed for the National Park Service and the Organization of American Historians a study of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal during the American Civil War, which is being used for interpretative programs, online materials, and a brochure.
He currently resides in Shepherdstown with his wife Tish and their children Simon, Henry, and Addy.
Catherine Mägi Oliver
Catherine Mägi Oliver is assistant at the Center. A former history teacher and “recovering” trial attorney, she entered university after just three years of high school, earning a B.A. from American University in 2000, and a J.D. from the College of William and Mary Law School in 2005. Inspired by the Jeffersonian call for “citizen lawyers” – professionals who use their skills outside of courtrooms for the betterment of their communities – her career path has been marked by a strong dedication to public service and nonprofit engagement, whether helping ensure access to legal services, advocating for survivors of interpersonal violence, or diving into an archeological dig. In addition to her work at the Center, she is a staff writer and membership coordinator for the nonprofit Harpers Ferry Park Association, the official partner of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Her first book, Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny (co-authored with Shepherd alumnus and Harpers Ferry Chief Historian Dennis Frye), was released in June 2019.
In 2015, Catherine seized upon a lifelong dream and adopted – or was adopted by – an historic Harpers Ferry armorer’s house, which she has lovingly restored. She is inspired every day by the Civil War history quite literally written upon its walls.