Julia S. Tutwiler and Social Progress In Alabama
Library of Alabama Classics
280 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.60 in
- Published: June 2004
The story of a woman who made a difference in her world.
This biography traces the life of Julia Strudwick Tutwiler (1841–1916) from her childhood in Alabama through her pioneering accomplishments as a teacher, administrator, and humanitarian. Born in Tuscaloosa in 1841, Tutwiler was encouraged by her father—an educational innovator and founder of a private academy in Greene County—to pursue academic subjects typically reserved for men. To that end, Henry Tutwiler financed his daughter's studies at Vassar, in Germany and Paris, and under professors at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
After returning to Alabama in 1876, Tutwiler accepted an appointment as a teacher of modern language and literature at the Tuscaloosa Female College. While in this position, she began her work as one of Alabama's earliest advocates for women's rights and educational reform and also led a campaign with the Women's Christian Temperance Union against alcoholism, worked for the improvement of prison conditions and rehabilitative services for prisoners, and supported the expansion of state teacher training.
From Paul Pruitt's new introduction, we learn that “anyone who reads biographies of Tutwiler and [Booker T.] Washington will notice the similarities of their lives and work. Both were products of the Old South who ran their respective institutions with paternalistic attention to detail. Both promoted vocational education as the means by which marginalized groups could rise, and each displayed talent for promoting change without ruffling the 'Bourbon' oligarchy. Tutwiler and Washington became, respectively, the state’s unofficial representatives of women and African Americans.”