Dr Craig Thompson Friend

Picture of Dr Craig Thompson Friend


Craig Thompson Friend is Professor or 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 Public History, they are in public memory and commemoration, family and community history, and the history of public history. In History, I research in the early American republic, Old South, issues of identity and commemoration, gender and masculinity, and death culture. My research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, 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 North Carolina public audiences on historical projects and to present my scholarship to them. I am available to speak on the following:

  • Lunsford Lane of Raleigh: A Nineteenth-Century African American Life
  • George Washington's Birthday and the Origins of American Commemorative Culture
  • Things that Went Bump in the Night in the Early American Republic
  • Do Monuments--Confederate or Otherwise--Have a Future?

I may also consider putting together a presentation for your interests, if I have time and sufficient background in the topic. Just ask.

Monographs and Collections

Current book-length projects

  • Lunsford Lane's America
  • Before Tobacco Road: Nineteenth-Century Higher Education in North Carolina
  • Reinterpreting Southern Histories, co-edited with Lorri Glover (forthcoming, Louisiana State University Press, January 2020)
  • Many Voices--One Story? The Intellectual Foundations of Public History 
  • The Devil to Pay: The Business of Death in the Early American Republic
  • Into the Bone of Manhood: Essays on Early American Masculinity

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, please contact me before applying to the program to talk about your plans.

Current Advisees

  • Alexander Goodrich, "Bermudan Public History and the Silence of Slavery" (Public History PhD, anticipated 2021)
  • William Christopher Laws, " 'All Time Will Be the Millennium of Their Glory': Constructing Public Memory through Civil War Monuments in North Carolina, 1868-1925" (Public History, PhD, anticipated 2021)
  • Megan Cullen Tewell, "Prisons in the Popular Mind: Historic Carceral Tourism, Public Interpretation, and the Normalization of the Carceral State" (Public History PhD, anticipated 2020)
  • Kathryn Schinabeck, "Monuments and Memorials of the Loyalist Diaspora" (Public History PhD, anticipated 2020)
  • Sarah Ann Matter, “Public History: The Birth of a Discpline” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2019)
  • James Richard Wils, “‘The Most Memorable Epocha’: Commemoration and Memorialization in the Early American Republic” (Public History PhD, anticipated 2019)

Past Advisees

  • Douglas Forbes McCullum, "North Carolina and the Age of Jackson" (History MA, anticipated 2017)
  • Loren Michael Mortimer, "Pageants of Sovereignty: 'Merciless Indian Savages' and American Nation-State Formation on the North Borderlands, 1774-1775" (History MA 2013); winner 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); winner 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); winner 2010 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Thesis Award and 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)


  • PhD in History from University of Kentucky, 1995
  • MA in History from Clemson University, 1990
  • BA in History from Wake Forest University, 1983