Maddie McGrady ’17 and Prof. Timothy Huebner of the Department of History are co-authors of an essay in Southern Cultures, one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in the field of southern studies. Growing out of their work on Rhodes’ Shelby Dade Foote Jr. Collection, the essay, “Shelby Foote, Memphis, and the Civil War in American Memory,” explains how Foote’s Memphis locale influenced his interpretation of the American Civil War. This is the first time that a student in the Department of History has co-authored an article in a leading journal. The essay can be found here.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity to work with Prof. Huebner and to experience an academic journal’s editing process firsthand,” says McGrady. “It is rewarding to read in print ideas I first encountered as a freshman in his Shelby Foote seminar.”
A history major from outside Chicago, IL, McGrady took Huebner’s course on “Shelby Foote, the South, and the Civil War” in fall 2013, and since that time, she has been the Department of History’s Foote Fellow. Over the past two years, her work has included transcribing, editing, and annotating the Foote Diaries.
Shelby Foote Jr. (1916-2005) was a noted southern writer and historian who lived most of his adult life in Memphis. He is best known for writing the Civil War: A Narrative, which was published in three volumes. Rhodes acquired the Shelby Dade Foote Jr. Collection in 2010, and it includes original drafts, hand-drawn maps used in writing the trilogy, diaries, manuscripts, research notes, letters, and photographs from the 1930s to the early 2000s. The collection is available to researchers through the generosity of Steven R. and Riea Lainoff.
McGrady currently is assisting Huebner in teaching his Shelby Foote course as well as collaborating with him and the Mellon Innovation Cohort in creating a website for the Foote Collection. “This is the Department of History’s first digital history project,” says Huebner. “Thanks to Maddie’s hard work and dedication to this project, students and scholars for years to come will be able to read and understand Foote’s diaries. And I hope that this will be the first of many digital initiatives available to students in the Department of History.”
“Although I have enjoyed transcribing Foote’s diaries and learning about his influences and writing process, I am most excited about this digital project,” adds McCrady. “Many people have dedicated a lot of time to transcribing and annotating Foote’s diaries and, thanks to the website, soon anyone interested in Shelby Foote can access this research."