New Working History Episode Focuses on Telling Southern History through Women’s Personal Writings
SLSA’s latest Working History podcast, “Southern Histories through Women’s Words,“ is available for listening on iTunes and SoundCloud. Professors Melissa Walker of Converse College, and Giselle Roberts of Australia’s La Trobe University, discuss the field of documentary editing and how the personal writings of southern women reveal the broader history of life in the U.S. South during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The episode is hosted by Beth
English, president of SLSA.
Melissa Walker is the George Dean Johnson Jr. Professor of History at Converse College, and Giselle Roberts is Honorary Research Associate at Australia’s La Trobe University. Together, Walker and Roberts edit the series, Women’s Diaries and Letters of the South, published by the University of South Carolina Press. The next volume in the series will focus on women in the Progressive Era.
Melissa Walker is an award-winning teacher and scholar. Her first book is All We Knew Was to Farm: Rural Women in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941 (John Hopkins University Press, 2000), and her book, Southern Farmers and Their Stories (University Press of Kentucky, 2007), was awarded a prestigious Outstanding Academic Title Award from Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries for its overall excellence in scholarship and its value to undergraduate students. The Southern Association for Women Historians also awarded the book the Willie Lee Rose Prize for the best book in Southern history authored by a woman. She is editor or co-editor of numerous books including, the agriculture volume of The New Encyclopedia for Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), Southern Women at the Millennium, an edited collection of essays drawn from a 2001 conference she helped organize at Converse, a collection of oral histories, Country Women Cope with Hard Times (University of South Carolina Press, 2004), and Work Family and Faith: Rural Southern Women in the Twentieth Century (co-edited with Rebecca Sharpless, University of Missouri Press, 2006). Her latest book is, The Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens: The American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry (Routledge, 2012). Walker has received numerous awards and grants to fund her research, most recently from the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College and from the Schlesinger Library of Women’s History at Harvard Univesity. She is past-president of the Southern Association for Women Historians and the Agricultural History Society and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern History.
Giselle Roberts uses diaries and letters to tell documentary stories about women of the American South. In addition to her work on the WDLS series, she is author of The Confederate Belle (University of Missouri Press, 2003), and editor of The Correspondence of Sarah Morgan and Francis Warrington Dawson (University of Georgia Press, 2004) and A New Southern Woman: The Correspondence of Eliza Lucy Irion Neilson, 1871-1883 (University of South Carolina Press, 2012). Her articles on Sarah Morgan Dawson have appeared in Lives Full of Struggle and Triumph: Southern Women, Their Institutions, and Their Communities (University Press of Florida, 2003), and the South Carolina and Louisiana editions of Southern Women Lives and Times (University of Georgia Press, 2010 and 2016). Roberts has published over 60 book reviews in scholarly journals including the Journal of American History, Journal of Southern History, Journal of Women’s History, South Carolina Historical Magazine, and Civil War Book Review.