Antoinette Elizabeth Taylor
Antoinette Elizabeth Taylor, historian, was the first scholar to study woman suffrage in the South. Born on June 10, 1917, in Columbus, Georgia, she received a B.A. from the University of Georgia in 1938 and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1940. She taught for one year at Judson College in Alabama, where she came across the six-volume History of Woman Suffrage. That discovery led to her life’s work; she set out to tell the story of southern women’s fight for the ballot.
Taylor earned her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1943 and published an article about woman suffrage in the Volunteer State in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly that same year. She subsequently published The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, a book based on her dissertation, in 1957. It was the first book-length study of southern women’s struggle to win the right to vote.
After receiving her Ph.D., Taylor accepted a position at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University) and continued her research, chronicling the woman suffrage movement in each of the southern states and publishing more than a dozen articles. Taylor retired in 1981 but remained active, encouraging younger historians who built on her work. The Southern Association for Women Historians named an award, for the best article in southern women’s history, in her honor.
She died at her home in Columbus on October 10, 1993. Her last essay, which recounted Tennessee’s pivotal role in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, appeared in Votes for Women! The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South, and the Nation (1995). The book is dedicated to her memory.