William G. Thomas III is the John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Nebraska. He teaches U.S. history and specializes in The Civil War, the U.S. South, and Slavery. He graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and Trinity College in Connecticut, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at the University of Virginia.
His research has been published in the American Historical Review, The Journal of Historical Geography, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and by leading university presses, including Louisiana State University Press, Yale University Press, and the University of Nebraska Press. He has received several fellowships and grants, including an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship and a Collaborative Research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He served as the Visiting Professor of North American Studies at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, in London, England, in 2008.
In 2012 Thomas received the Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska, the highest award for teaching in the College. Thomas was also named a Mead Honored Faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia in 2004-05 in recognition for outstanding undergraduate teaching.
His recent book The Iron Way: Railroads, The Civil War, and the Making of Modern America (Yale University Press) was a 2012 Lincoln Prize Finalist from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Thomas is co-editor with Edward L. Ayers on the Valley of the Shadow Project.
He served as Director of the Virginia Center for Digital History from 1998 to 2005. Edward L. Ayers, Anne S. Rubin, and Thomas were awarded the Lincoln Prize in 2001 from the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College for the Valley of the Shadow project, and the James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association in recognition of the project as an outstanding contribution to the teaching of history. The Valley Project continues to be recognized as a pioneering digital humanities project.