USCG 1790 Logo Historian William H. Thiesen, PhD

United States Coast Guard
Atlantic Area

Image Historian William H. Thiesen PhD

As Atlantic Area Historian, William Thiesen is responsible for preserving and promoting the history of the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area. In his position, he serves as a resource on Coast Guard questions related to service history and archaeology; as well as museum, artifact, history outreach or exhibit-related issues. He supports the preservation of Coast Guard history by collecting archival materials (i.e., documents, audio/visual material, records, books, memoirs, etc.) and recording oral history interviews with active duty personnel and Coast Guard veterans. He answers questions and fields research requests from the public and service personnel and he advises scholars, academics, the media and the general public regarding the history of the Coast Guard. His education programs include lectures, presentations and seminars, which he presents before a wide variety of active duty and civilian groups. His other deliverables include articles and papers for publication in service-related magazines, professional journals and other periodicals where appropriate and he supports the Atlantic Area Historian's Office web site (

Dr. Thiesen earned a master's degree from East Carolina University's Program in Maritime History with a concentration in naval history. He earned a Ph.D. in University of Delaware's Hagley Program in the History of Industrialization and Technology with a specialization in maritime industries and technology. Before serving as Atlantic Area Historian, Dr. Thiesen taught college courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and served as curator and assistant director for five years at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, the largest maritime museum on the Great Lakes. His service-related articles have appeared in maritime history encyclopedias and such periodicals as Coast Guard Magazine, Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association Bulletin, Wreck & Rescue, The Leadership News, The Cutter, Civil Rights-On Deck, Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute and Wings of Gold, Sea History and Nautical Research Journal. His book Industrializing American Shipbuilding was published in April 2006 and he edited the book Maritime Manitowoc, 1847-1947, in May of the same year. Dr. Thiesen's latest book, Cruise of the Dashing Wave: Rounding Cape Horn in 1860.