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.