WBU-Clovis dean publishes book on Civil War

CLOVIS – A just-published, cutting-edge historical depiction of the Confederacy’s largest hospital by a local author is garnering academic accolades and national interest.

“Chimborazo: The Confederacy’s Largest Hospital,” written by Carol Cranmer Green, Ph.D., dean and associate professor of history at Wayland Baptist University-Clovis, has been nominated for the 2005 Jefferson Davis Award.

The Jefferson Davis Award is presented annually by The Museum of the Confederacy to authors of narrative works. Based in Richmond, Va., the museum is a private, nonprofit educational institution.

“The Museum of the Confederacy’s book awards recognize outstanding contributions to the study of the Confederate period,” said Sarah Dowdey of the museum. “Independent committees of scholars select the award winners.”

“Her book certainly fits the criteria for the Jefferson Davis Award,” said Tom Post, publicist for the University of Tennessee Press, publisher of the book. “We’ve had good response so far in terms of requests for review copies. One of the things that interested us as the publisher was that Chimborazo Hospital was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. That’s what makes the book unique.”

A local book signing event for Green and her first book will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 15, at Hastings, 1925 N. Prince St., Clovis.

“We’re excited to be hosting a book signing for Dr. Green,” said Dena Engel, store manager for Hastings. “We invite everybody out to get their books signed and check out the works of any of our other local authors we keep in stock.”

Green delivered the keynote address at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine 9th Annual Conference in August 2001. Her topic: “Chimborazo Hospital: 1861-1865.”

The WBU-Clovis dean said she was pleased with her first book project.

“I’m very pleased with the book, its quality and the editing,” she said. “The research was very interesting. It was an exciting process of discovery. Nothing had been written on Chimborazo, so I had to go to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and dig through the original documents and other material.

“Academically, this is pretty cutting edge,” she said. “Most other histories don’t see modern hospitals developing until the 1880s after the development of the germ theory of disease. But this research pushes the development of the hospital back to the Civil War. My research into Chimborazo and other Civil War hospitals shows a paradigm shift of patients and doctors in how they viewed hospitals both before and after the war.”

The concept for the book came from a footnote during Green’s doctoral research.

“This work began in graduate school as I was researching general information on Civil War hospitals and came across a reference to Chimborazo Hospital,” she said. “The records of most Richmond hospitals were burned in the Richmond fire, which was set as the Confederate government evacuated the city in 1865 in the face of the advancing Union army. Most other sources I had seen regretted that no records were available for Richmond hospitals. However, this obscure footnote reported that, contrary to popular belief, the records of Chimborazo Hospital were housed at the National Archives.”

So the story was born.

“The book speaks to many audiences,” Green said. “There is a management element, and of course, basic interest in Civil War history, plus the history of medicine, women’s history and African-American history. My favorite chapter in the book is the chapter on Chimborazo’s patients. Their stories are fascinating.”

Green has served as campus dean for WBU-Clovis since the campus opened its doors at Cannon Air Force Base in 1997.

The Cannon/Clovis campus has grown from 15 students that first semester to more than 250 this year.

Green received her doctorate in history from Texas Tech University in May 1999. She and husband, Robert, a pharmacist at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, have three daughters: Mallory, 9, Amanda, 6, and Shelby, 7 months.