Matthew Dudley

Matthew Dudley
Cazenovia, NY
Laurentian Singers

            I knew long before coming to SLU that I was bound to become a history major. I would have to attribute this to spending so much time with my Nana, class of ’58, while growing up. We used to watch the History Channel together all the time; this was before all the conspiracy theories, axmen, and aliens took over. She recognized my love for the field early on and helped nurture it. For first grade show-and-tell I specifically remember bringing in the Civil War related history books she gave me for my sixth birthday.

            Something key I have learned from history studies is that very few things in the field are black and white. There are dates and facts historians agree on, yet beyond this data history is best explained as a grey area comprised of a multitude of individual arguments and opposing schools of thought. This past summer I conducted research (with Dr. Evelyn Jennings as my project advisor) about history writing in Franco-Era Spain. For anyone on the fence about applying for a SLU fellowship or other summer research, take the chance and apply. Whether you receive a grant or not the process of writing a proposal can only benefit you. Last spring I also conducted research (in a course with Dr. Melissane Schrems) on General James Wilkinson, a Spanish spy and a War of 1812-era American military leader. As part of my research I drew from primary sources here at SLU and constructed an exhibit in Special Collections entitled “Agent 13 in the North Country.”

            I also am a member of Laurentian Singers here at SLU. Because our director Barry Torres is a history buff we are always well informed of the story behind the pieces we sing. In the coming year I am hoping to expand my research on James Wilkinson or Agent 13 by visiting Los Archivos de Las Indias in Madrid, Spain where most of his secret letters are still kept. In the future I am also hoping to continue my studies and attain a masters degree in a linguistics-related field.