Eli Kirshner

Junior Research Historian | Puzzle-Solver

Work at HAI

Eli is a junior historian who works on a combination of litigation research and exhibits/interpretive planning projects. Eli brings to HAI a background in genealogy research, with a focus on African American family history. He is especially passionate about telling the uncomfortable truths of U.S. history as an important step towards creating lasting social change. Eli is interested in identifying primary sources during the periods of enslavement and Reconstruction, including deed records, probate records, and historical newspaper records. Eli is interested in becoming a Certified Genealogist (CG) in the future! He is also fully fluent in Spanish, and looks forward to working on projects that involve Spanish translation

Path to HAI

Eli graduated with Highest Honors in History from Oberlin College in 2020. His undergraduate honors thesis focused on race relations and coal mining in Western Pennsylvania in the 1920s. Eli also studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador in 2019, and he was a research intern in the Department of Anthropology of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, Region 6, in Cuenca Ecuador – where he conducted oral history interviews in Spanish about the local history of urban gardening. From 2021 to 2023, Eli lived in Knoxville, TN, where he served one year as a AmeriCorps VISTA doing bilingual Spanish college application counseling for local families in the Latino immigrant community, and one year as Family/Community Liaison for Knox County (TN) Schools, supporting Spanish-speaking families of English Language Learner (ELL) K-12 students. Eli is a proud member of several genealogy and history organizations, including the African American Genealogical Society (AAGS) of Cleveland, Ohio and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).