Rudely Stamp’d Brings History to Life

Tracy Ford (right) as Sherman and Derek Maxfield (far left) as Grant

by Bryan Giltner

April 28, 2020

“I think that many good teachers are naturally performers in the classroom,” said English Professor Tracy Ford.

History Professor Derek Maxfield and Ford have decided to make history come to life with their Rudely Stamp’d theatre, exploring a conversation between Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, played by Maxfield, and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, played by Ford.

Maxfield’s passion for history is on full display in this play as he is always looking for interesting ways to apply history. “I want to teach and find new and interesting ways to do it,” he said. “The play is really the result of that. Tracy and I talked about staging conversations between important historic figures as a way to bring those people to life and make them more relatable.” To make history real, Maxfield imagined being a fly on the wall as important figures from history discussed issues of their day. The original idea was a conversation between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, a famous friendship between Founding Fathers.

Students who have Maxfield as a professor may be unfamiliar with him while he is on stage because Ford describes Maxfield as “being calmer and more reserved while being in the character of Ulysses S. Grant.”

Some college students may find history unimportant or boring. Maxfield wants students to think about history and realize it’s in the world before them. He said, “I want them to care and see that an understanding of history forms a context for understanding the world today, the world they live in, what past people have done creates the possibilities and limitations of today

Derek Maxfield as Ulysses S. Grant