Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, 1934-2020

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Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, 1934-2020


Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, 1934-2020


This photo of Dr. Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins was taken at the induction of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016.  Wiggins, the University of Alabama, Department of History’s pioneering first female professor, earned her bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College and both her MA and PhD from Louisiana State University, where she was a student of the legendary T. Harry Williams. After graduation, she spent two years teaching at Southern Seminary Junior College in Buena Vista, Virginia before joining The University of Alabama Department of History in 1961.

Wiggins specialized in the Old South, Civil War, Reconstruction, and Alabama history. She retired from UA in 1995, after nearly 35 years of service. In addition to her primary appointment as a history professor, she edited of The Alabama Review for two decades. Wiggins was a former president of both the Alabama Historical Association and the Jemison-Van deGraaff Foundation Board of Directors. She also served on a number of commissions and boards during her lifetime, including The University of Alabama Library Leadership Board, Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, Alabama Historical Association Board of Directors, Southern Historical Association Executive Council, Alabama Local Records Commission, and Alabama State Records Commission. Dr. Wiggins also enjoyed volunteering in a variety of ministries for Christ Episcopal Church, Tuscaloosa.

Wiggins also published extensively. She’s best known for her 1977 monograph, The Scalawag in Alabama Politics, 1865-1881. Her most recent book, Love and Duty:  Amelia and Josiah Gorgas and Their Family, was published in 2005. Her edited works include From Civil War to Civil Rights, Alabama 1860-1960:  An Anthology from the Alabama Review, 1987; The Journals of Josiah Gorgas, 1857-1878, 1995; and The Journal of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, 1827-1935: A Substitute for Social Intercourse, 2013.

Wiggins was preceded in death by her parents, Robert Nelson Woolfolk, Jr. and Dixie Gilliland Woolfolk, and her husband, Peyton Norvell Wiggins. She is survived by her daughter, Henrietta Wiggins Muller and husband, Courtney. She is also survived by two granddaughters, Sarah VanVoorhis Manning Muller and Gray Manning Muller.


Rebecca Minder




Elizabeth Bradt (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

Original Format


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