Lycoming College history students conduct research at David Library of the American Revolution
Three Lycoming College history majors recently participated in a research trip to the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington Crossing, under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Pearl, assistant professor of history. Kerri Kearney, Shannon Sheridan and John Sibel conducted original research on topics including the influence of the French Revolution on American politics in the 1790s and the regulation movement in colonial North Carolina.
Kearney, a senior researching the politics of the 1790s, said that she “got the taste of what archival research entails” and noted that her senior thesis “would be inadequate and would not accurately reflect the complex sociopolitical dynamic of the developing United States” without the research she conducted at the David Library.
Sheridan, a junior researching the public’s reaction to the treason of Benedict Arnold, also noted that the trip was central to her thesis. While at the library, Sheridan had a memorable moment. As she read through the papers of Benjamin Franklin, she came across a letter Franklin wrote in French. Although Sheridan can’t read French, her fellow researcher Kearney, who is pursuing a double major in French and history, can, and she helped to translate the letter. As Sheridan said, “It was one of those fun moments when I felt like a real historian working with colleagues.”
Sibel, a junior working toward a certification in education, has earned a summer internship at the library. He said, “My favorite part of the trip was being able to spend time with people who enjoy history as much as I do and having an open dialogue to discuss historical topics.”