James I. Robertson, Jr.
|Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr.|
Bud Robertson in Lexington, Virginia, 2005
|Pen name||Bud Robertson|
|Occupation||Author, Professor of history|
|Period||1963 - present|
|Genre||non-fiction American Civil War|
Early life and academic career
Robertson was born and raised in Danville, Virginia. He earned his bachelor's degree at Randolph-Macon College in 1955, and his master's degree and PhD. at Emory University in 1956 and 1959, respectively. He earned his Litt.D. at Randolph-Macon in 1980.
Known as an excellent public speaker, Robertson has made his career teaching thousands of college students in his Civil War and Reconstruction course at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the Alumni Distinguished Professor in History from 1967 to 2011.
Civil War achievements
Robertson is the founding executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies research and education center. He is considered the preeminent scholar on Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Robertson was the Chief Historical Consultant in the 2003 Warner Brothers film Gods and Generals, which prominently features Stonewall Jackson. Robertson is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
Robertson has authored 18 books including award-winners General A.P. Hill, Soldiers Blue and Gray, and Civil War! America Becomes One Nation. His biography Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, won eight national awards including the American Library Association's Best Book for Young Readers Award. Robertson also edited an additional 18 books on the Civil War.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy nominated Robertson to serve as the executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission, a federal committee that was foundering under the pressures of regional differences and the emerging civil rights movement, unable to organize a dignified commemoration of the war era. Robertson worked effectively with 34 state and 100 local centennial committees to create a successful result. Fifty years later, he was named a charter member of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.
In 1963 he worked with David Mearns, director of the Library of Congress, to assist in the planning of Kennedy's funeral by researching the funeral of Abraham Lincoln, after which Kennedy's was patterned. Robertson and Mearns referenced Frank Leslie's Weekly and Harper's Weekly for details of the 1865 funeral that were used to transform the East Room of the White House.
In 2011, Robertson wrote and hosted, with William C. ‘Jack’ Davis, the 3-hour documentary "Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance".
Along with his distinguished career in the academic community, he also spent several years as a faculty representative from Virginia Tech to the NCAA. Robertson's work as Faculty Chairman of Athletics and President of the Virginia Tech Athletic Association from 1979–91 helped Virginia Tech join the Big East athletic conference. Robertson was elected to the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. His other main contribution to college athletics was by being an Atlantic Coast Conference football referee for 16 years.
Notable among Robertson's long list of publications are:
- The Stonewall Brigade (1963)
- General A.P. Hill (1987)
- Soldiers, Blue and Gray (1988)
- Civil War! America Becomes One Nation (1992)
- Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend (1997)
- The Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War (1990–92; Reprint of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1870–88))
- Civil War Echoes: Voices from Virginia, 1860–1891 (2016, Library of Virginia)
- "James 'Bud' Robertson Jr. honored with emeritus status". Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. June 8, 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- Virginia Tech University Libraries Special Collections Department
- "Popular Civil War Professor prepares for retirement," Virginia Tech website, accessed May 6, 2011
- "Dept of History - Emeriti". Virginia Tech. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Biography". Virginia Tech. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- "James I Robertson". Roanoke Times. Jan 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "President John Fitzgerald Kennedy". Visitor Information. Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Library of Congress selects "Virginia in the Civil War" for Web Archives". Blue Ridge PBS. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Virginia author to receive 2005 Robertson Prize". Free Lance Star. 2005-10-22. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Calos, Katherine (August 18, 2016). "Civil War documents brought to light in 150th anniversary collected into book". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 14 September 2016.