Project Title: American Civil War Years: The Michigan Experience - photojournalism book design project

Faculty Sponsor: Donna Ullrich

Department: Communications and Visual Arts

Telephone: 810.766.6679


Project Description: This project complements two broadcast and Internet educational projects of the same name, produced to tell the rich history of Michigan's contributions to and sacrifices on behalf of the American Civil War. The broadcast programming has been the recipient of 4 EMMY nominations, 2 each in 2012 and 2013.

The Goal: To design a complementary print project to satisfy the mission of creating educational tools across media to reach all students and their best methods of learning.


  1. To tell the story of Michigan's role in the American Civil War through photographs of living historians and Civil War reenactors.
  2. To disseminate the book to schools and libraries where we present on the topic for their own collections and access to their patrons and students.
  3. To capture the photographic and design talents of Michigan artists, and honor the 30,000 living historians and reenactors who educate the public each year in Michigan.

Methodology: State historian and Civil War expert John Gibney and Civil War historian and program producer Rodney W. Brown will edit and organize thousands of photographs shot at reenactments and presentations to tell the stories of Michigan's significant Civil War history. The photos they are choosing from are those of accomplished and award-winning Michigan photographers Wayne Dabney and Leon C. Collins, who have shot and are shooting brilliant, imagination capturing photographs during our filming schedules for the broadcast production. 

Donna Ullrich, UM-Flint instructor of communications, will use her publishing experience to serve as the overall project director and editor. Two editions of the book will be designed and published. One hard-cover coffee table version (100 count) that will best feature the stunning photo-story we have to tell. This edition will also be presented to the schools and libraries around the state that have hosted (and will host) our presentations on the subject matter. A second, smaller, soft cover design will be prepared for print-on-demand distribution through's CreateSpace. It will sell for a lower-cost and be more appealing to those interested in the subject. Proceeds will go toward royalties for the creative team.

Additional funding has been sought from the Michigan Council for Art and Cultural Affairs, and will be sought in early 2014 from the Michigan Humanities Council and other opportunities that present themselves to help us pay talents Michigan media professionals and produce the books.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities:  

Book Design: Two versions of the book will be designed - one hard-cover coffee table edition and one soft cover print-on-demand edition. Some research into possible publishing houses for the hard-cover edition. Work with photo and copy editors to produce two high quality editions.

Editing of photos: Design and publication preparation of the two editions of the book. Tentative deadline September 30, 2014.

Minimum Student Qualifications: Book design experience and course work completed. Samples, Recommendation(s) of art faculty.

Proposed Starting Date: 11/01/2013

Proposed Ending Date: 09/30/2014