Steven B. Burg, Ph.D.

 Steve Burg profile 

About Me:

In 1999, I arrived at Shippensburg University as the history department’s first specialist in public history.  I am now professor of history and also chair of the History and Philosophy Department. I teach courses in public history; historic preservation; archival methods; American social and political history; the history of World War II; and local and regional history. I am currently developing a course on digital history. As an educator, I am passionate about the potential of service-learning projects. When possible, I seek to incorporate hands-on, community-based projects into my classes that allow my students to gain practical experience using their skills to meet the historical needs of our region.

My recent research and professional interests have focused on several different areas. These include:

  • The identification and preservation of African-American burial grounds in Pennsylvania. Working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project, I am currently working to build a comprehensive database of every African-American cemetery and burial ground that existed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, and then to document the history and condition of every site. This documentation project is the first step of a larger effort to advance policies and practices that will protect these sites and encourage public appreciation of these burial grounds as critical sites for understanding and engaging with African-American history. 
  • An oral history and research project exploring the history of Shippensburg University's Stewart Hall. This project is part of a larger effort to preserve and restore the campus's second-oldest building.  Over its 120 year history, Stewart Hall has served as a gymnasium,dormitory, student union, academic building, and home for the Little Princess Playhouse. 
  • Considering the relationships between issues of historic preservation policy and sustainability, particularly as these issues impact rural landscapes and vernacular architecture.
  • Examining the impact of social movements on the development of social welfare and public health policies.  I am currently revising a manuscript on the role of the Townsend Movement on the formation of Social Security in the United States. 
  • Exploring public history pedagogy and the most effective ways to teach public history and train future public history professionals. My past research efforts have examined both the role of internships in public history education and the place of digital history in the public history curriculum.
  • The preservation, interpretation, and cultural meaning of historic cemeteries, especially the cemeteries of racial and ethnic minorities. My current research examines the historical development of the Old Jewish cemetery of Gothenburg, Sweden. I am also directing  project to research and restore Shippensburg's God's Acre Cemetery.
  • The social history of Shippensburg University, 1871-present.

I have also developed a scholarly interest in issues of social history and community memory as they relate to the communities of Central Pennsylvania and the Cumberland Valley region. I have undertaken several projects considering how the region's history is remembered, celebrated, and occasionally forgotten.

In addition to serving as chair of the History and Philosophy Department, in 2013 I was appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania to serve on the Pennsylvania State Preservation Board.  I also serve as Vice President of the Shippensburg Historical Society, the Editor of the Franklin County Historical Society’s journal Franklin County History, a board members of the Shippensburg University Fashion Archive and Museum, and as a member of the South Mountain Partnership’s Cultural Resources Committee. In the fall of 2013, I received a Fulbright Scholars grant to teach and conduct research at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling, reading, visiting museums and historic sites, and watching classic movies (especially films from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s).


University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. in United States History, 1999

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master of Arts in History, 1990

Colgate University, Bachelor of Arts in History, 1990

Honors and Awards:

Fulbright  Scholar to Gothenburg University, Kingdom of Sweden, Fall 2013.

Appointed Member, Pennsylvania State Preservation Board, 2013-2015.

Invited Participant, United States Army War College, 7th Annual Commandant’s National Security Program, July 24-26, 2012.

Shippensburg University Teaching Innovation and Pedagogy Spotlight Teaching Award, 2011.

Research Fellow, Shippensburg University Research and Scholarship Program, Summer 2010.

Shippensburg University Teaching Innovation and Pedagogy Spotlight Teaching Award, 2009.

Recipient, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Grant, 2006-2007. 

Best American History Dissertation 1999, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Named as the university’s nominee in 1999 for the Society of American Historians Nevin Prize for the best-written doctoral dissertation on an American history subject.

Selected Publications:

Burg, Steven B. “’Starvation Would Soon Be At Hand:’ Ellen McLellan’s Encounter with General Robert E. Lee, Chambersburg, 1863.” Franklin County History, vol. 25 (2013): 33-38.

Burg, Steven B., “The North Queen Street Cemetery and the African American Experience in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, 1800-1950.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, volume 77, no.1 (Winter 2010).

Burg, Steven B., “From Troubled Ground to Common Ground: The Locust Grove African American Cemetery Restoration Project: A Case Study of Service Learning and Community History.”  The Public Historian, vol. 30, no. 2 (May 2008): 51-82.

Burg, Steven B., ed. Black History of Shippensburg. (Shippensburg, PA: Shippensburg University Press, 2005).

Burg, Steven B., “Wisconsin and the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.” Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 84, no.1, (Autumn 2000).

Michael E. Stevens and Steven B. Burg, Editing Historical Documents: A Handbook of Practice. (Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 1997).


History 601: Research in Local and Regional History

History 525: 20th Century U.S. Social History (Social Movements)

History 505: Advanced Topics in Public History/Historic Preservation

History 502: Introduction to Archives

History 501: Introduction to Applied History

History 390: United States and World War II

History 318: Introduction to Public History

History 203: Theory and Practice of History 

History 202: Recent U.S. History

History 201: Early U.S. HIstory

History 106: Thinking Historically in a Global Age

History 105: Foundation of Global Cultures

Honors 397: Viruses and History (team taught with Dr. Lucinda Elliott)