Manuscript Collection



Download Finding Aid (577 KB)

Download Custodian of the Past: Arnold M. Shankman by Joyce E. Plyler (139 KB)


Accession 259

Inclusive Dates



Open under the rules and regulations of the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections

Collection Size

48,500 pieces, 24.25 linear feet



Historical Note

Dr. Arnold Shankman (1945-1983) was a highly regarded historian whose scholarship included the American Civil War, the Old South, ethnic and immigrant history, southern Jewish history, civil rights, and women’s history.

Dr. Shankman received his B.A. from Knox College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University, where he studied under the tutelage of renowned Civil War historian Bell Wiley. Shankman also studied for a year at Harvard with Oscar Handlin, the patriarch of American immigrant history. As a Professor of History at Winthrop University from 1975 to 1983, Dr. Shankman embarked upon his own impressive career, which included the publication of four books, more than 50 articles, and numerous speeches and public service activities. Beloved by students and colleagues, Dr. Shankman’s career was cut short by his untimely death from cancer at the age of 37.

For more biographical information concerning Dr. Arnold Shankman, please consult the attached biography above written by historian, Joyce E. Plyler.

Scope and Content Note

The Arnold Shankman Papers are a treasure trove of historical research in a variety of areas. Within the American Civil War era, Shankman had extensively researched the “copperhead” movement of northern opposition to the war and was an expert on one of its leading members, Clement Vallandigham. Pursuing his interest in ethnic history, Dr. Shankman was a pioneer in the study of how ethnic and immigrant groups viewed each other. For example, he was one of the first to use early African-American newspapers to determine the views of blacks toward Italian immigrants and other groups. Shankman also was singularly instrumental in the publication of the speeches and writings of Marion Wright, a 20th century crusader for civil rights in North and South Carolina. Many of Mr. Wright’s papers are included within the Shankman files. In addition, Dr. Shankman’s papers include a wide variety of other interesting topics, many concerning the activities of individuals whose stories might have been lost otherwise. For example, Shankman’s papers include his research into the lives of Jewish immigrants to South Carolina in the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as the activism of women such as Dorothy Tilly, a Methodist and advocate for civil rights, and the Hicks sisters of Bainbridge, Georgia, who were early proponents of Socialism.


The papers of Dr. Arnold Shankman, historian, educator, and author, were received as a gift by the Archives from Harvey and Gertrude Shankman in 1983.


American Civil War, Women's History, Civil Rights, Ethnic and Immigrant History, African-American History, Jewish History, Winthrop, Marion Wright


For information concerning copyright please contact the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections at Winthrop University.

Arnold Michael Shankman Papers - Accession 259

LC Subject Headings

Shankman, Arnold M., 1945-1983--Archives; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Vallandigham, Clement L. (Clement Laird), 1820-1871; Wright, Marion A. (Marion Allan), 1894-1983; Jews--Southern States--History; African Americans--Southern States--History; Civil rights--United States--History; United States--Ethnic relations--History; United States--Race relations--History; Winthrop Normal and Industrial College--History; Winthrop College, the South Carolina College for Women--History; Winthrop College--History