During 40 years on the Carolina faculty, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall has advocated for women in every aspect of her career: her research and professional leadership, her award-winning teaching, her mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students and her service to her profession and to the University.
Hall, the Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History and founding director of Carolina’s Southern Oral History Program, is the winner of the 2013 Mary Turner Lane Award. The award recognizes people who make outstanding contributions to the lives of women students, faculty, staff and administrators at Carolina.
“By her scholarship, Hall changed the very concept of history, developing the methodology and best practices of a new kind of history that incorporates the experiences of women and workers and minorities into understanding the past,” the award citation says.
Hall, who grew up in Pauls Valley, Okla., attended graduate school at Columbia University. She came to Carolina in 1973 as the first director of the Southern Oral History Program, a position she held until 2011. The program works to preserve the voices of southern past. Its collection of more than 5,000 interviews with people from all walks of life is available through Carolina’s Southern Historical Collection.
The ripple effects of Hall’s influence and her insights into women’s contributions to human history have been recognized nationally. A former president of the Organization of American Historians, she received the National Humanities Medal presented by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and in 2011 was inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
But it isn’t the accolades that give Hall the most pride; it’s the students who have conducted the many interviews that helped create the program and have gone on to do great things. One student described Hall as “imparting the sheer delight that she feels doing history, conveying a sense of urgency about the lessons of the past, demonstrating meticulous research methods and shaping students’ arguments with the most subtle of suggestions.”
Former students also praise her as a mentor. One said, “She lets her students grow up, transitioning her relationship with them as they move through the profession and their lives.”
Published July 8 2013.