Cornell College student named Gilder Lehrman History Scholar

NEW YORK, NY – Stephanie Schmeling, a junior at Cornell College and a native of Denver, Colorado, was recently named a 2008 Gilder Lehrman History Scholar and has also been admitted to the prestigious SHEAR/Mellon undergraduate seminar.

Stephanie SchmelingThis summer, the Gilder Lehrman scholars will study in New York City for five weeks in a program that combines historical research, seminars with eminent historians, and behind-the-scenes tours of historical archives. Each scholar will have the opportunity to produce original research resulting from his or her work. This year’s class will work with primary source documents from the Revolutionary Era in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

“These are the brightest young historians in America,” said Professor James G. Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which sponsors the program. “We see them as something like Rhodes Scholars among history majors. We hope this spurs them all to consider careers as scholars, history teachers, or public historians in the future.”

Stephanie has also been selected as a student fellow for this summer’s prestigious SHEAR/Mellon undergraduate seminar at the McNeil Center fro Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Stephanie will spend three weeks in Philadelphia beginning archival research for a senior thesis on Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. Professor of History, Phil Lucas, as Stephanie’s academic advisor for this project, will join Stephanie for the final week of the seminar in Philadelphia. Stephanie is the second history major from Cornell College to participate in this competitive program which selects ten students from liberal arts colleges nationwide each year. Stephanie Lampkin, graduating senior with a double-major in history and ethnic studies participated in the program last year with her advisor, Professor Catherine Stewart.

Now in its sixth year, the Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Program has included students who have gone on to history Ph.D. programs at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina. Some now work for history research organizations. One is a winner of the renowned Marshall Scholarship, and another was awarded a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge University.

In addition to the fifteen Gilder Lehrman History Scholars, fifty finalists will take part in a one-week compressed version of the program. These finalists will meet with eminent scholars, as well as history professionals outside academia, and visit important archives and museums across New York City.

Applicants to the 2008 program represented 166 colleges and universities across the United States.

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history. The Institute serves teachers, students, scholars, and the general public. It helps create history-centered schools, organizes seminars and programs for educators, produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, sponsors lectures by eminent historians, and administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state through its partnership with Preserve America. The Institute also awards the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Book Prizes, and offers fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection. The Institute maintains two websites, and the quarterly online journal

The Gilder Lehrman Collection contains more than 60,000 documents detailing the political and social history of the United States. The Collection’s holdings include manuscript letters, diaries, maps, photographs, printed books, and pamphlets ranging from 1493 through modern times. The Collection is particularly rich with materials in the Revolutionary, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction periods. Highlights of the Collection include signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, a rare printed copy of the first draft of the Constitution, and thousands of unpublished Civil War soldiers’ letters. Letters written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and others vividly record the issues and events of their day. The writings of such notable women as Lucy Knox, Mercy Otis Warren, and Catherine Macaulay discuss a variety of military, political, and social issues.