Dr Craig Thompson Friend

Picture of Dr Craig Thompson Friend


Craig Thompson Friend is CHASS Distinguished Graduate Professor of History and Director of Public History at NC State University. He is also 2017-2018 President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. His 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, Professor Friend researches in the early American republic and Old South, issues of identity and commemoration, gender and masculinity, and death culture. His research has been funded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, the Winterthur Museum and Library, the Filson Historical Society, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Monographs and Collections

Current book-length projects

  • The New History of Kentucky, 2nd ed., co-authored with James C. Klotter (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky, 2018)
  • The Lullaby of Freedom: Lunsford Lane's America
  • Reinterpreting Southern History, co-edited with Lorri Glover (forthcoming, Louisiana State University Press, 2019)
  • 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

Extension and Community Engagement

As a public historian, Professor Friend subscribes to the philosophy enunciated by Denise Meringolo: “I became a public historian when I began actively to look for ways to be of service, to listen and learn about the precise needs of a given community, and to gently challenge a community to push its own sense of boundaries and exclusiveness. . . . It is only by engaging in political discourse with integrity that we can truly be of service.”

  • 2014: Organizer, From Engagement to Activism: Public History as Civic Responsibility conference
  • 2012: Member, Historical Resources and Museums Advisory Board, City of Raleigh
  • 2011-2013: Consultant and Text Writer, Garner Veterans Memorial, City of Garner, NC
  • 2010: Organizer, Many Voices—One Story? Public History Narratives of Native American and African American Histories conference
  • 2007-2008: Coordinator, Andrew Johnson Bicentennial Symposium, Mordecai Historic Park, Raleigh, N.C.
  • 2006-2008: Mordecai Historic Park Advisory Committee, City of Raleigh; 2007-2008: President
  • 1998-2000: Higher Education Representative, Native American Heritage Commission,Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • 1998-99: Chief Researcher and Consulting Historian, Cultural Resources Survey, Fort Necessity/National Road Interpretive Center, United States National Park Service
  • 1997-98: Coordinator and Principal Humanities Scholar, “Repopulating American History: A Workshop on Multiculturalism in the American History Classroom,” Kentucky Humanities Council
  • 1997: Discussion Leader and Lecturer, “Eden of the West: The Development of Upper South Culture in Kentucky and Tennessee, 1750-1850,” Kentucky Humanities Council
  • 1996: Discussion Leader and Lecturer, “Eden of the West: The Development of Upper South Culture in Kentucky and Tennessee, 1750-1850,” National Endowment for the Humanities
  • 1995: Consultant, Kentucky History Center Museum
  • 1995: Consultant, Bluegrass Area Tourist and Historic Development District
  • 1991: Researcher and Writer, Cultural Resources Survey, National Forest Service: Cherokee National Forest

Graduate Advising

As Director of Public History, Professor Friend advises all Public History MA students and, until they select an adviser, all Public History PhD students. He accepts History MA students working on topics related to late-eighteenth- through mid-nineteenth-century United States history, especially the American frontier, the American South, and social and cultural history. He also accepts Public History MA and PhD students working on public memory and commemoration, family and community history, and the history of public history.

Current Advisees

  • Megan Cullen Tewell, "Prisons in the Popular Mind" (Public History PhD, anticipated 2020)
  • Kathryn Schinabeck, "Loyalists in American Memory" (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