Update Feb. 7, 2019 — We are sad to announce the passing of one of our co-founders, Anne Firor Scott, a native of Georgia and a pioneer of American women’s history. Her first book, The Southern Lady (1970), opened up new avenues of inquiry in the field of southern history and helped originate the emerging field of women’s history. It was followed by two more scholarly monographs, Making the Invisible Woman Visible (1984) and Natural Allies (1991), as well as dozens of articles and edited collections that foregrounded women’s role in American history.
Her scholarship, which has had a lasting effect on the discipline, was the subject of Writing Women’s History: A Tribute to Anne Firor Scott (University of Mississippi, 2011), by Elizabeth Anne Payne. She was the William K. Boyd Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. In 2014, Scott received the National Humanities Medal awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and presented to her by President of the United States Barack Obama. Scott was also a great mentor, and provided keen editorial guidance and career advice to dozens of young scholars who followed in her footsteps.
In her honor, the SAWH established the biennially awarded Anne Firor Scott Mid-Career Fellowship in 2007.
The Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH) supports the study of women’s history and the work of women historians. The SAWH especially welcomes as members all women and men who are interested in the history of the U.S. South and/or women’s history, as well as all women historians in any field who live in the South.
The SAWH meets annually in conjunction with the Southern Historical Association (SHA), awards publication prizes, and sponsors the Southern Conference on Women’s History every three years. SAWH members receive a thrice-yearly newsletter with conference announcements, calls for papers, and news about the organization and its members
The SAWH was founded in 1970 in a small room near the boilers in the basement of Louisville’s Kentucky Hotel during a meeting of the SHA. In those days, when women historians were a distinct minority among the SHA membership and when people who studied women’s lives felt marginalized, a group of volunteers formed the “Caucus of Women Historians” to study the status of women in the profession and in the SHA and to encourage scholarship on women. By 1974, the women had transformed an informal caucus into a well-organized professional association which still meets annually.
Today more than seven hundred women and men from around the world fill the membership rolls of the SAWH. The organization has several purposes: to stimulate interest in the study of southern history and women’s history, to advance the status of women in the historical profession in the South, to provide a forum for women historians to discuss issues of professional concern, and to publicize and promote issues of concern to SAWH members.