Johansson Earns History Book Award

Dr. Jane JohanssonThe American Civil War Museum recently recognized Rogers State University Professor Dr. Jane Johansson with its 2015-16 Founders Award for her book, “Albert C. Ellithorpe, the First Indian Home Guards, and the Civil War on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier.”

The Founders Award recognizes excellence in the editing of primary source documents related to the origins, life, and legacies of the Confederacy and the Civil War. In announcing the award, the judges praised the book both for its coverage of a “relatively unexplored theater of the war” and for Dr. Johansson’s incorporation and annotation of diverse primary sources in one volume.

Dr. Johansson serves as a Professor in RSU’s Department of History and Political Science. She specializes in the history of the American Civil War and worked for several years as co-editor of the Papers of Will Rogers Project.

Her book, published in November by Louisiana State University Press, details the Civil War experiences of Albert C. Ellithorpe, a Caucasian Union Army officer commanding the tri-racial First Indian Home Guards. The book examines the remarkable and understudied facets of the war’s campaigns west of the Mississippi River.

Major Ellithorpe’s unit—comprised primarily of refugee Muscogee Creek and Seminole Indians and African Americans who served as interpreters—fought principally in Arkansas and Indian Territory, isolated from the larger currents of the Civil War. Using Ellithorpe’s journal and his series of Chicago Evening Journal articles as her main sources, Dr. Johansson provides one of the fullest examinations available on a mixed-race Union regiment serving in the border region of the West.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, the American Civil War Museum seeks to be the preeminent center for the exploration of the American Civil War and its legacies from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians. Judges for this year’s Founders Award were Dr. David J. Coles of Longwood University (chair), Dr. Carl Moneyhon of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Dr. Peter C. Luebke, historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command.

RSU offers bachelor’s degrees in history, military history, public affairs, and social studies education, along with associate degrees in secondary education and social science. Its military history program offered Oklahoma’s first bachelor’s degree in the discipline and has attracted students from around the nation. Additionally, RSU faculty, including Dr. Johansson, have actively participated in prestigious activities that bridge the history of military action with contemporary lessons.

For more information, contact the RSU Department of History and Political Science at 918-343-6811 or visit