#TurnItUP: Spotlight on Alabama’s Bicentennial

upw-logo-yellow-800pxTo celebrate history day on University Press Week 2018 blog tour, we are highlighting Alabama’s bicentennial year—a three-year celebration of the people, places, and events that form our rich history.

Formed as a territory on March 3, 1817, Alabama became the nation’s twenty-second state on December 14, 1819. In celebration of this occasion, University of Alabama Press has collaborated with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission to publish a series of books commemorating the stories of Alabama’s people, place, and path to statehood.

Below is a roundup of titles, available and forthcoming, celebrating 200 years of Alabama statehood:

The History of a Deep South State, Bicentennial Edition

William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins, and Wayne Flynt

A new and up-to-date edition of Alabama’s history to celebrate the state’s bicentennial

The Making of an American State

Edwin C. Bridges

A thorough, accessible, and heavily illustrated history of Alabama from its geological origins to the early twenty-first century, this book offers a vital new narrative of the history, culture, and identity of the state


Jkt_Lewis_mktgAlabama Founders
Fourteen Political and Military Leaders Who Shaped the State

Herbert James Lewis

A biographical history of the forefathers who shaped the identity of Alabama politically, legally, economically, militarily, and geographically

These Rugged DaysJkt_Sledge_mktg
Alabama in the Civil War

John S. Sledge

An accessibly written and riveting narrative of Alabama’s role in the Civil War


Cvr_Wills&Davenport_mktgExploring Wild Alabama
A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas
Kenneth M. Wills and L. J. Davenport

A comprehensive guide to Alabama’s publicly accessible natural destinations



Alabama CreatesJkt_Knight_mktg
200 Years of Art and Artists
Edited by Elliot A. Knight
Available Spring 2019

A visually rich survey of two hundred years of Alabama fine arts and artists

The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods
Emily Blejwas
Available Spring 2019

Alabama’s history and culture revealed through fourteen iconic foods, dishes, and beverages

TuscaloosaTuscaloosa front cover.indd
200 Years in the Making
G. Ward Hubbs
Available in January

A lavishly illustrated history of this distinctive city’s origins as a settlement on the banks of the Black Warrior River to its development into a thriving nexus of higher education, sports, and culture

Cvr_Braund_mktgThe Old Federal Road in Alabama
An Illustrated Guide
Kathryn H. Braund, Gregory A. Waselkov, and Raven M. Christopher
Available Spring 2019

A concise illustrated guidebook for those wishing to explore and know more about the storied gateway that made possible Alabama’s development


Early AlabamaCvr_Bunn_mktg
An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798–1826
Mike Bunn
Available Spring 2019

An illustrated guidebook documenting the history and sites of the state’s origins



Be sure to check in with the other University Presses posting on politics today as part of the UPWeek blog tour:

Wilfrid Laurier University Press: Nil Santiáñez, author of the recently-published Wittgenstein’s Ethics and Modern Warfare, explores how the Great War impacted Wittgenstein’s philosophy. The post celebrates the centenary of the Armistice of 1918 and focuses on the book’s main topics.

University of California Press: The Western Woman Voter: The Women’s Suffrage Movement, Through the Perspective of the West – an excerpt taken from Shaped by the West, Volume 2: A History of North America from 1850 by William Deverell & Anne F. Hyde

University of Nebraska Press: Jon K. Lauck, adjunct professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota and the author of numerous books, will discuss the importance of Midwestern history.

Rutgers University Press: A focus on acclaimed cultural historian H. Bruce Franklin’s new book Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War.

University of Rochester Press: An interview with the author of our new book An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South, which uncovers the role of African American women in the design and construction of schools in the post-Reconstruction South

Beacon Press: A looking at the Press’ ReVisioning American History and ReVisioning American History for Young Readers Series

University Press of Kansas: A discussion and celebration of the passion of military history readers by interviewing authors, critics and customer

Harvard Univerity Press: A look at the history of HUP publishing with Bruno Latour.

University of Georgia Press: A spotlight on a new series, Gender and Slavery, and its inaugural book, Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas. The series seeks to shed light on the gendered experience of enslavement including and beyond that of the United States.

University of Toronto Press: Editor Stephen Shapiro reflects on the vast range and the staying power of UTP’s publishing program in history.

MIT Press: A Q&A with our longtime editor Roger Conover (who is retiring next year) and one of his authors Craig Dworkin, about his history at the MIT Press.



An Excerpt from “Jeffrey’s Latest 13: More Alabama Ghosts” by Kathryn Tucker Windham

From A Sampling of University Hauntings

excerpt 2

Colleges, it appears, have always been attractive to ghosts, and there is hardly an institution of higher learning in Alabama that lacks a local legend of the supernatural.

Huntingdon College has its Red Lady, Judson has its phantom organist, Montevallo has the restless spirit of a former student up on fourth Main (better known as Buzzard), Spring Hill has the ghost of a brilliant mathematics professor, Athens College has the stern presence of Madam Childs, and there are other such college hauntings.

The University of Alabama, as befits the state’s oldest seat of advanced education, has several college ghosts, spirits linked with the history of that Tuscaloosa institution. Ghost lore on the University campus centers on Smith Hall where for more than a quarter of a century there have been stories of nocturnal noises for which there is no satisfactory explanation.

There may have been earlier supernatural occurrences in the yellow brick building, but it was in 1955 that Dr. Gary Hooks, then an instructor at the University, had his first encounters with the Smith Hall ghosts. Dr. Hooks, it is recorded, was working very late, doing research for his dissertation in a room on the first floor of Smith Hall. He was alone in the building.

He was concentrating on the notes and charts spread out in front of him when he became aware of unusual noises on the floor above him. There were the sounds of muffled voices and of many footsteps, as though a group of students was being shown through the second floor museum.

Dr. Hooks hurried upstairs to see who the late-night visitors were, but he found the second floor quite deserted: no one was there. There was no one on the third floor, either. Yet Dr. Hooks was certain he had heard footsteps and voices.

He gathered up his papers and left the building.

This initial awareness of the presence of other people in the supposedly empty building was followed by several similar experiences. Again and again his late night study was interrupted by clattering footsteps on the second floor and by the intermingling of many voices. And on each such occasion, a search of the building showed no one else was there.

The ghostly noises did not always follow the same pattern. Sometimes it was the voices of college students Dr. Hooks heard, as though the students were assembling in the classroom for a lecture or were changing classes. At other times the voices seemed to be those of children, perhaps elementary school pupils being taken on a tour of the museum. Though thousands of Alabama schoolchildren have trekked through the museum in the past half-century, no youngsters were ever visible when Dr. Hooks went to investigate.

In the early 1970s, several graduate students studying past midnight in Smith Hall told of eerie experiences similar to those reported by Dr. Hooks.

Chuck Weilchowsky of Selma, working alone in the basement after midnight, had his study interrupted by the same kinds of noises, the subdued intermingling of many voices and the hurried steps of many feet. But never did he find anyone else in the building.

Bob Clark, Barry Gilliam, Jay Masingill, Perry Hubbert, Vic Davis, Steve Kimbrell, and others have reportedly heard the phantom voices and footsteps. On some occasions, they said, a dominant voice was audible above the murmur. Though the words were not clear enough to be understood, it sounded, they said, like the voice of a teacher or lecturer calling his class to order.

Occasionally, these graduate students recalled, they were aware of an unseen presence very close to them, as though a professor were looking over their shoulders to check the quality of their research.

jeffrey excerpt

Dr. Eugene Allen Smith spent most of the last years of his long life in Smith Hall.

Some of the students who heard the ghostly noises believe the sounds somehow involve Dr. Eugene Allen Smith for whom the building was named.


Dr. Smith was born in Autauga County in 1841, and he entered the University of Alabama in 1860. The War Between the States interrupted his education, and in 1862 he joined the Confederate forces, attaining the rank of captain.

He became a professor on the faculty of the University in 1871, having earlier earned his Ph.D. degree from Heidelburg University. In 1873, the Alabama legislature appointed him Alabama’s first state geologist.

In his new position, Dr. Smith crisscrossed the state in his horse­-drawn buggy, observing, studying, mapping, collecting, photographing, and writing about Alabama’s geological formations. It was Dr. Smith who first recognized the importance of preserving the remnants of Indian culture at Moundville.

He was nearly seventy years old, but still quite active, when Smith Hall was completed in 1910. He moved his laboratory to the first floor of the building that bears his name, and for the next seventeen years he continued to work there. And into that building he brought his collection of fossils, artifacts, and rocks, geological samples from every county in the state.

Dr. Smith was eating breakfast one morning in late August 1927, when he became violently ill. His death came about a week later. He was eighty-six years old.

”Dr. Smith spent most of the last years of his long life in Smith Hall. He loved this place,” students who believe that his spirit still lingers in the building point out. “He liked to lecture to the classes and enjoyed escorting groups of elementary schoolchildren through the Museum of Natural History, talking to them and answering their questions.

”He dedicated his life to the study of the geology of his native state, and he wanted to pass his knowledge on to new generations. So it could well be his voice we hear above the mingled whispers, his footsteps we hear in the museum, his presence we feel,” they say.

(c) Kathryn Tucker Windham

Jkt_Windham_Latest_mktgLooking for more hauntings? The Jeffrey books are available for purchase here.

Visit our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a chance to win all six Jeffrey books.

Fall Reading List


Although it’s still 80-some degrees here in Tuscaloosa, we are embracing the Fall spirit, and nothing says “Fall” quite like curling up with a good book. This season our recommendations include fresh fictions, spooky stories, and war-time tales. So while we may have to hold off on the chunky sweaters, hot apple cider, and hayrides, it’s never too early to fall into reading.

The Moon Over Wapakonta by Michael Martone

Cvr_Martone_mktgAmerican Midwest with the gift for discovering the marvelous in the mundane. In these stories Martone shows us how traveling across time zones from Ohio to Indiana is a form of time travel; how a beer bottle can serve as a kind of telescope, how Amish might power their spaceships with windmills as they travel through space and time. These stories capture the paradox of feeling that one is in the heart of the country while at the same time in the middle of nowhere, of natives who find themselves strangers in their once familiar, but now strange, lands.

On display is a love of obsolete technologies, small-town whimsy, home movies of proms and birthday parties, steam engines and baseball games. If Italo Calvino lived in Indiana rather than Italy, these are the fictions he might have made.

Send the Alabamians by Nimrod Thompson FrazerFrazer_jktfinal_copy

Send the Alabamians recounts the story of the 167th Infantry Regiment of the WWI Rainbow Division from their recruitment to their valiant service on the bloody fields of eastern France in the climactic final months of World War I.

To mark the centenary of World War I, Send the Alabamians tells the remarkable story of a division of Alabama recruits whose service Douglas MacArthur observed had not “been surpassed in military history.” The book borrows its title from a quip by American General Edward H. Plummer who commanded the young men during the inauspicious early days of their service. Impressed with their ferocity and esprit de corps but exasperated by their rambunctiousness, Plummer reportedly exclaimed:

In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in
time of peace, for Lord’s sake, send them to somebody else!

The Jeffrey collection by Kathryn Tucker WindhamWindham

One of the best-known and widely shared books about the South, Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey has haunted the imaginations of generations of delighted young readers since it was first published in 1969. Written by nationally acclaimed folklorists Kathryn Tucker Windham and Margaret Gillis Figh, the book recounts Alabama’s thirteen most ghoulish and eerie ghost legends.

Following the overwhelming success of 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, Windham and Jeffrey began to journey across the South assembling more ghastly tales that repeat Windham’s winning combination of traditional folklore, Southern history and culture, and family-friendly story-telling. In five additional books, Windham’s disembodied friend roams the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida to recall more timeless, spine-tingling tales of baneful and melancholy spirits that spook the most stoic heart.

Time in the Barrel by James P. Coan

Coan_cover_mktgCon Thien, located only two miles from the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Vietnam, was a United States Marine Corps firebase that was the scene of fierce combat for months on end during 1967. Staving off attacks and ambushes while suffering from ineffectual leadership from Washington as well as media onslaughts, courageous American Marines protected this crucial piece of land at all costs. They would hold Con Thien, but many paid the ultimate price. By the end of the war, more than 1,400 Marines had died and more than 9,000 sustained injuries defending the “Hill of Angels.”

More than a retelling of military movements, Coan’s engrossing narratives focus on the sheer sacrifice and misery of one Marine’s experience in Vietnam. Through his eyes, we experience the abysmal conditions the Marines endured, from monsoon rainstorms to the constant threat of impending attack. Climatic moments in history are captured through the rare, personal perspective of one particularly astute and observant participant.

Mythical Trickster Figures by William J. Hynes and William G. Doty

0-8173-0857-1_cover.p70Mythical Trickster Figures, is the first substantial collection of essays about the trickster to appear since Radin’s 1955 The Trickster. Contributions by leading scholars treat a wide range of manifestations of this mischievous character, ranging from the Coyote of the American Southwest to such African figures as Eshu-Elegba and Ananse, the Japanese Susa-no-o, the Greek Hermes, Christian
adaptations of Saint Peter, and examples found in contemporary American fiction and drama.

The many humorous trickster stories included are fascinating in themselves, but Hynes and Doty also highlight the wide range of features of the trickster–the figure whose comic appearance often signifies that the most serious cultural values are being both challenged and enforced.

Big City by Marream KrollosCvr_Krollos_mktg

Marream Krollos’s Big City is astructurally innovative work of prose composed of vignettes, verse, dialogues, monologues, and short stories. Alone, they are fragments, but together they offer a glimpse of the human condition and form a harmonized narrative of desire, loneliness, and beauty. Through language that builds, destroys, and violates, Krollos maps the geography of our contemporary condition, a haunting meditation on human togetherness and isolation.

Krollos plays with the tension between the voice of the lonely “I” produced by the urban experience and the polyphony of the city itself. A city is a chorus and a collection of traces; it is a way of being with others and the concretization of the social divisions that keep people apart. As a lifelong city dweller, Krollos is obsessed with the way that cities shape our experiences of the world, our ideas about inside and outside and self and other.

By mapping the emotional highs and lows of particular (though often anonymous) beings, the book creates a geography of the urban consciousness. The sensation of reading this lyric work of fiction is akin to how one experiences an attentive walk in an unknown city: one becomes attuned to the tenor of its many voices, how the languages lift and flourish, and how the micro and macro became integrally linked.

Points of Honor by Thomas Boyd


Points of Honor: Short Stories of the Great War by a US Combat Marine is based on author Thomas Alexander Boyd’s personal experiences as an enlisted Marine. First published in 1925 and long out of print, this edition rescues from obscurity a vivid, kaleidoscopic vision of American soldiers, US Marines mostly, serving in a global conflict a century ago. It is a true forgotten masterpiece of World War I literature.

The stories in Points of Honor deal almost entirely with Marines in the midst of battle—or faced with the consequences of military violence. The eleven stories in this collection offer a panoramic view of war experience and its aftermath, what Boyd described as “a mass of more human happenings.” The themes are often antiheroic: dehumanization, pettiness, betrayal by loved ones at home, and the cruelty of military justice. But Boyd’s vision also accommodates courage and loyalty. Like all great works of war literature, this collection underscores the central paradox of armed conflict—its ability to bring out both the best and worst in human beings.

This reissue of Points of Honor is edited, annotated, and introduced by Steven Trout. Trout provides an overview of Thomas Boyd’s war experience and writing career and situates the stories within the broader context of World War I American literature.

99 Fables by William MarchMarch_99_Fables

“March has picked up where Aesop and Don Marquis left off, prick- ing vanities and exposing antics of chronic phonies. . . . Here are damning truths about the Noblest Animal, here is vitriol without venom. richard Brough catches the full flavor in his illustrations.” —New York Times Book Review

“As one reads the fables one is haunted by the resemblance of March to his natural predecessor, Ambrose Bierce. The two men had much in common: their work is criss-crossed with similar themes; both were ridden with personal demons; both viewed life with bitterness; each was a minor genius; and each was the most neglected writer of his time.” – Nelle Harper Lee, Alabama Alumni News

The Great War in the Heart of Dixie by Martin T. Olliff

OLLIFF_Great WarThere has been much scholarship on how the U.S. as a nation reacted to World War I, but few have explored how Alabama responded. Did the state follow the federal government’s lead in organizing its resources or did Alabamians devise their own solutions to unique problems they faced? How did the state’s cultural institutions and government react? What changes occurred in its economy and way of life? What, if any, were the long-term consequences in Alabama? The contributors to this volume address these questions and establish a base for further investigation of the state during this era.

Wolfhounds and Polar Bears by Col. John M. House, US Army (Ret.)

Jkt_House_mktgIn the final months of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson and many US allies decided to intervene in Siberia in order to protect Allied wartime and business interests, among them the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from the turmoil surrounding the Russian Revolution. American troops would remain until April 1920 with some of our allies keeping troops in Siberia even longer.

Wolfhounds and Polar Bears: The American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, 1918–1920 may well be the most detailed study of the military aspects of the American intervention in Siberia ever undertaken, offering a multitude of details not available in any other book-length history.

The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold by Kate Bernheimer

9781573668217As a child, Lucy dreams of talking fairies and lives contentedly in the wooded suburbs of Boston; she grows up to be a successful animator of fairy-tale films. Or does she? She claims at moments to be a witch in the woods.

Like her sisters, who appeared in Bernheimer’s first two novels (The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold and The Complete Tales of Merry Gold), Lucy has a secret, but she is unable to fasten onto anything but brightness. Novelist Donna Tartt writes, “Lucy’s particular brand of optimism, blind to its own shadow, is very American—she is innocence holding itself apart so fastidiously that it becomes its opposite.”

This novel is a perfect end to the Gold family series, and the perfect introduction, for new readers, to Bernheimer’s enchanting body of work.