by Mary Tabb Johnston and Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb
University of Alabama Press, 1978
Cloth: 978-0-8173-5235-6 | Paper: 978-0-8173-1234-3
Library of Congress Classification Z720.G67J64
Dewey Decimal Classification 027.70924

The definitive biography Amelia Gayle Gorgas, one of the most influential people in the history of the University of Alabama

Amelia Gayle Gorgas (June 1, 1826–January 3, 1913) was the head librarian and postmaster of the University of Alabama for 25 years in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After the University's original library was burned by Union troops just days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Gorgas played a central role in the creation of a new library, expanding the collection from 6,000 to 20,000 volumes. She worked till the age of 80 in 1907, and, in gratitude for her years of service, the University's main library is named in her honor. This book tells her story. 

Amelia was the daughter of John Gayle, governor of Alabama from 1831 to 1835, and the wife of Josiah Gorgas, chief of ordnance for the Confederate armies. Their six children included William Crawford Gorgas, surgeon-general of the United States Army. Brought up in the antebellum South, Gorgas nevertheless was a leader in the physical and intellectual reconstruction of the University after the Civil War, both providing some stablizing continuity but also embracing change. 

The life of Amelia Gayle Gorgas disproves stereotypes of fragile Southern women. Readers of her story can see in episode after episode the strength, resiliency, and perseverance that the times called for. The extensive and penetrating scholarship of Mary Tabb Johnston and Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb present Gorgas's story in brisk and enticing detail that will delight readers interesting in the University of Alabama and Southern history.


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