photo by Jen Andrella in 2021

Historian, Digital Humanist, Photographer.

Dr. John R. Legg received his Ph.D. in History at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in May 2024. His research focus includes Indigenous ethnohistory, the United States and Canada, and the Civil War era. His dissertation, "In Our Own Rightful Territory": Dakota Mobility, Diplomacy, and Belonging in Mni Sota Makoce after the US-Dakota War, explores the movement and diplomatic practice of Dakota people within their homeland and how this movement challenged the colonial borders of the United States and Canada. 

John is dedicated to building meaningful connections between academic and public communities. With training in digital humanities, public history, and oral history, he has contributed to more than a dozen projects aimed at making history accessible to a wide audience. John also serves as an editorial assistant for the Journal of Social History and works as a book review editor for H-CivWar. He has also served as affiliate editor for the National Council of Public History's History@Work blog.

John received his BA in History from Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia and his MA in History and a Graduate Certificate in Public History from Virginia Tech.

In addition to his academic work, John is a professional photographer known for producing high-quality author photos and headshots for academics. He has an upcoming image featured on the cover of Niels Eichhorn and Duncan Campbell's book, The Civil War In the Age of Nationalism (LSU Press, 2024). If you are a Civil War scholar in need of images, John has documented numerous battlefields and historical sites across the United States and can be contacted for assistance.

Recent Updates

John Graduates from George Mason University

John traveled to GMU to graduate in May 2024. A joyous and celebratory end to the PhD.

John Publishes op-ed with MinnPost

On May 10, John published an op-ed about digitization and Dakota source material at Minnesota Historical Society. This engages with the current conversations about repatriation of Dakota physical objects held in MNHS's collections.

Read more here:

John Defends Dissertation

On March 20, 2024, John defended his dissertation and passed with no revisions. 

Added to Native Reconstruction Working Group

John's been added to the Native Reconstruction working group. Read more here: