Laura F. Edwards
Peabody Family Professor of History in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
My research focuses on women, gender, and the law in the nineteenth-century, particularly the U.S. South. In addition to articles on these topics, I have published four books: A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction: A Nation of Rights (2015); The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South (2009); Scarlett Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Southern Women in the Civil War Era (2000); and Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction (1997). The People and Their Peace was awarded the Charles Sydnor Prize for the best book in southern history by the Southern Historical Association and the Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in American Law and Society by the American Historical Association. I have received fellowships from the American Bar Foundation,the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Newberry Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution. I am now working on a new book project, Only the Clothes on Her Back: Textiles, Law, and Commerce in the Nineteenth Century United States.
Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants
Visiting Neukom Fellows Chair in Diversity and Law awarded by American Bar Foundation, (2016 to 2017)
Mellon Research Fellowship awarded by The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, (2014)
Guggenheim Fellowship awarded by John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2012 to 2013)
Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship awarded by National Humanities Center (2007 to 2008)
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities awarded by The Newberry Library (2006 to 2007)
NEH Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (2000 to 2001)
Research Fellow awarded by American Center for Politics and Public Policy (1998 to 1999)
Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by National Museum of American History (1995)
Edwards, LF. A Nation of Rights: A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction. NY,: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Edwards, LF. The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South. Chapel Hill, NC,: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Edwards, LF. Scarlett Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Southern Women in the Civil War Era. Urbana, IL,: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
Edwards, LF. Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction. Urbana, IL,: University of Illinois Press, 1997.
Edwards, LF. "Law as Social History." In The Oxford Handbook of Legal History,edited by Tomlins, C and Dubber, M. New York,: Oxford University Press, 2018. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "Afterward." In The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship,edited by Quigley, P, 217-236. Baton Rouge,: Louisiana State University Press, 2018. (Afterword)
Edwards, LF. "Reconstruction and the History of Governance." In The World the War Made,edited by Downs, G and Masur, K, 30-44. Chapel Hill, NC,: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "Laura Edwards on the Early Republic, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Women’s History." In The Historians Behind the History: Conversations with Southern Historians,edited by Bever, M and Suarze, S. Birmingham, AL,: University of Alabama press, 2015.
Edwards, LF. "Epilogue." In Rethinking Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for African American Freedom,edited by Link, W, 252-270. New York,: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Edwards, LF. "The Material Conditions of Dependency: The Hidden History of Free Women’s Control of Property in the Early Nineteenth Century South." In Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History,edited by Hadden, S and Minter, P, 171-92.: University of Georgia Press, 2013. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "The Contradictions of Democracy in American Institutions." In Democracy from Book to Life: Language and Practice in the North Atlantic 1750-1850,edited by Innes, J and Philp, M, 40-54.: Oxford University Press, 2013. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "Up from the Pedestal: The Influence of Anne Scott's Ladies on Southern Women's History." In Writing Women's History: A Tribute to Anne Firor Scott,edited by Payne, E, 28-63. Jackson, MS,: University Press of Mississippi, 2011. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "Reconstruction, Women, and Political Culture." In Reconstruction in North Carolina,edited by Escott, PD.: University of North Carolina Press, 2008. (Essay)
Edwards, LF. "The People’s Sovereignty and the Law: Defining Gender, Race, and Class Differences in the Antebellum South." In Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the United States South and Southwest,edited by Cole, S, 3-34.: Arlington, Texas: University of Texas Press for the University of Texas, Arlington, 2004.
"Rights that made the world right." Judicature 102, no. 2 (June 1, 2018): 14-25.
Edwards, LF. "Sarah Allingham's Sheet and Other Lessons from Legal History." Journal of the Early Republic 38, no. 1 (2018): 121-147. Full Text
Edwards, LF. "The Reconstruction of Rights: The Fourteenth Amendment and Popular Conceptions of Governance." Journal of Supreme Court History 41, no. 3 (November 2016): 310-328. Full Text
"Textiles: Popular culture and the law." Buffalo Law Review 64, no. 1 (January 1, 2016): 193-214.
Edwards, LF. "The History in “Critical Legal Histories”: Robert W. Gordon. 1984. Critical Legal Histories. Stanford Law Review 36:57–125." Law & Social Inquiry 37, no. 01 (2012): 187-199. Full Text
Edwards, LF. "The Peace: The Meaning and Production of Law in the Post-Revolutionary United States." University of California, Irvine Law Review 1 (September 2011): 565-85.
"Southern history as U.S. history." Journal of Southern History 75, no. 3 (August 1, 2009): 533-564.
Edwards, LF. "The Forgotten Legal World of Thomas Ruffin: The Power of Presentism in the History of Slave Law." North Carolina Law Review 87 (March 2009): 855-900.
Edwards, LF. "Status without Rights: African Americans and the Tangled History of Law and Governance in the Nineteenth-Century U.S. South." The American Historical Review 112, no. 2 (April 1, 2007): 365-393. Full Text
Edwards, LF. "Enslaved Women and the Law: The Paradoxes of Subordination in the Post-Revolutionary Carolinas." Slavery & Abolition 26 (August 2005): 305-323.
Edwards, LF. "You Can’t Go Home Again: Politics, War, and Domestic Life in the Nineteenth-Century South." Reviews in American History 25 (1997): 570-76.
Edwards, LF. "Women and Work in Florida: A Photographic Essay." Tampa Bay History 18 (1996): 32-48.
“The Hidden World of Governance in Jacksonian America and the Artificial Line between Legal History and Political History” . Andrew Jackson at 250: Race, Politics, and Culture in the Age of Jacksonian “Democracy”. Yale University. December 2017
“’Take No Account of Anything Made Entirely Within Yourself’: The Legal Power of Textiles and the Status of Women Between the Revolution and the Civil War in the United States” . Legal History Roundtable. American Bar Foundation. May 5, 2017