Laura F. Edwards

Laura F. Edwards

Peabody Family Distinguished Professor of History in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External address: 
333 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 668-1435


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.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1991

  • M.A., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1987

  • B.A., Northwestern University 1985

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)