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Craig Friend

Director of Public History

Department of History

View CV 


Craig Thompson Friend is Professor of History and Director Emeritus of Public History. In 2019, I was named NCSU Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor. I also served as 2017-2018 President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. My academic interests are two-fold: In History, I research in the early American republic, Old South, issues of identity and commemoration, gender and masculinity, and death culture. In Public History, they are in public memory and commemoration, family and community history, and the history of public history. My research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, the Winterthur Museum and Library, the Filson Historical Society, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.


I consider it an honor to work with public audiences on historical projects and to present my scholarship to them. I can talk on any of the topics of my publications and current projects. I may also consider putting together a presentation for your interests, if I have time and sufficient background in the topic. Just ask.



Current Projects

  • Lunsford Lane (book manuscript)
  • “Things That Went Bump in the Night: Early American Horror Stories” (article manuscript)
  • Before Tobacco Road: Nineteenth-Century Higher Education in North Carolina (book manuscript)
  • Many Voices–One Story? The Intellectual Foundations of Public History (book manuscript)
  • The Devil to Pay: The Business of Death in the Early American Republic (book manuscript)
  • Into the Bone of Manhood: Essays on Early American Masculinity (book manuscript)

Graduate Advising

I work with History MA students interested in American history from the Revolutionary era through the Civil War era, especially the early American republic, Old South, issues of identity and commemoration, gender and masculinity, and death culture. I also work with Public History MA and PhD students working on public memory and commemoration, family and community history, and the history of public history. If you are interested in working with me as a doctoral student, please contact me before applying to the program to talk about your plans. Students must complete at least one course with me before I will agree to serve on a thesis or dissertation committee, either as primary adviser or committee member.

Current Advisees

  • Alexander Goodrich, “When Voices Rise: Race, Memory, and Public History in Bermuda” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2021)
  • William Christopher Laws, “The Millennium of Their Glory: Constructing Public Memory through Civil War Monuments in North Carolina, 1868-1925” (Public History, PhD, anticipated 2021)
  • Kathryn Schinabeck, “Monuments and Memorials of the Loyalist Diaspora” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2021)
  • Sarah Matter Soleim, “Public History: The Birth of a Discipline” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2020)
  • James Richard Wils, “‘The Most Memorable Epocha’: Commemoration and Memorialization in the Early American Republic” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2020)
  • Lincoln M. Hirn, “Enslaved families in Antebellum North Carolina” (History MA, anticipated 2021)
  • Austin M. Mitchell, “Civic Development in Early National Raleigh: Local Institutions as Tools of Republican Order” (History MA, anticipated 2021)
  • Connor M. Clancy, “Unionists and Manhood in the Confederate South (History MA, anticipated 2021)

Past Advisees

  • Megan Cullen Tewell, “Prisons in the Popular Mind: Carceral Tourism and the Carceral State” (Public History PhD, 2020)
  • Douglas Forbes McCullum, “North Carolina and the Age of Jackson” (History MA 2017)
  • Loren Michael Mortimer, “Pageants of Sovereignty: ‘Merciless Indian Savages’ and American Nation-State Formation on the North Borderlands, 1774-1775” (History MA 2013); recipient of the 2013 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Thesis Award
  • Amanda Averell Jewett, “Aristocratic Gentlemanliness and Revolutionary Masculinities among Virginia’s Delegation to the Continental Congress, 1774-1776” (History MA 2013)
  • Rachel Elizabeth Trent, “Seeing the Nation by Numbers: The 1874 Statistical Atlas and the Evolution of a Demographic Imagination” (Public History MA 2012); recipient of the 2012 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Thesis Award
  • Marjorie Eleanor Louisa Merod, “Public Memory, Authenticity, and the Frontier Legacy of Daniel Boone” (Public History MA 2012)
  • Jennifer Camille Howard, “Sounds of Silence: How African Americans, Native Americans, and White Women Found Their Voices in Southern Appalachian Music” (History MA 2012)
  • Kimberly Elaine Taft, “Silent Voices: Searching for Women and African Americans at Historic Stagville and Somerset Place Historic Sites” (Public History MA 2010)
  • Jessica Lynn Gillespie, “‘Loved to stayed on like it once was’: Southern Appalachian People’s Responses to Socio-Economic Change—the New Deal, the War on Poverty, and the Rise of Tourism” (History MA 2010); recipient of the 2010 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Thesis Award and the 2011 Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award in Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Brian Isaac Kreiger, “Power Struggle in the Old Northwest: Why the United States Won and the Indians Lost the Indian War, 1786-1795” (History MA 2008)
  • Andrea Rebecca Gray, “Supper on the Trail: How Food and Provisions Shaped Nineteenth-Century Westward Migration” (History MA 2008)

Office Hours

  • Tue: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Or By Appointment


B.A. History Wake Forest University 1983

M.A. History Clemson University 1990

Ph.D. History University of Kentucky 1995