Professor of History and John and Catherine Angle Chair in the Humanities; CAS Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
William G. Thomas III is the Angle Chair in the Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Nebraska. He served as Chair of the Department of History from 2010 to 2016. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Lincoln Prize Finalist.
He is the author of A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Founding to the Civil War (November 2020, Yale University Press), about enslaved families in Maryland who sued for their freedom in the decades after the American Revolution. A Question of Freedom received the 2021 Mark Lynton History Prize.
With partners Michael Burton and Kwakiutl Dreher, he is co-producing a series of live action animated documentary films. The first of these films, Anna, was released in 2018 and won Best Animation at the New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles. The second, The Bell Affair, is in production with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He served as the co-founder and Director of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia, where he was an Assistant and Associate Professor of History in the Corcoran Department of History. He was a co-editor the award-winning digital project, Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War. With Edward L. Ayers, he co-authored "The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities,"" one of the first pieces of digital scholarship published in the American Historical Review.
A dedicated teacher and mentor, Thomas was Chair of the Department of History and guided the department to the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award in 2017. He received the Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award in 2012 from the College of Arts and Sciences at Nebraska, the highest award for teaching in the College. He was named a Mead Honored Faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia in 2004-05 in recognition for his dedication to undergraduate teaching.
Thomas has published essays in Civil War History, The Journal of Historical Geography, The New York Times, The Washington Post, EDUCAUSE Review, and Inside Higher Education. He is a graduate of Trinity College (Connecticut) and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Trinity College and on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives and Records Administration.