Duke’s first female history department chair honored at White House

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 06:15 PM

The first female chair of the Duke University History Department was honored Monday for her work studying Southern women.

Anne Firor Scott, W.K. Boyd Professor of History Emerita at Duke, was honored as one of 10 2013 National Humanities Medalists in a ceremony at the White House on Monday.

The medals are given to people or groups whose work has deepened people’s understanding and engagement with the humanities or that also preserve access to resources in the field, according to the website http://www.neh.gov.

Scott was honored for “pioneering the study of Southern women,” according to the White House Office of the Press Secretary. Her research into the lives of Southern women “established history as vital to our understanding of the American South.”

Alongside Scott and eight others, National Public Radio host Diane Rehm was honored as a 2013 National Humanities Medalist. In addition, Monday’s ceremony also honored 2013 National Medal of Arts recipients including novelist, poet and essayist Julia Alvarez and musician Linda Ronstadt.

Scott taught in Duke’s history department for 30 years until 1991, according to Duke Today, and she was the first female chair of the university’s history department. Among other works, she is known for writing “The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830-1930.”

According to an online profile for the National Endowment for the Humanities by Esther Ferington, Scott was born in Georgia, graduated from the University of Georgia, got a master’s degree in political science from Northwestern, and then earned a doctorate in history from Harvard University, which was then called Radcliff College.

She taught at Haverford College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before working at Duke. To read her full online profile, go to the website http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals/anne-firor-scott.