Bradford Dissertation Prize

The Melvin E. Bradford Dissertation Prize is an annual competition that recognizes the best dissertation written on any aspect of the American South.The award was established in 1993 in honor of the late Mel Bradford, Professor of Literature at the University of Dallas. Bradford completed his PhD at Vanderbilt University under the direction of Donald Davidson, the Fugitive Poet. Bradford was best known, however, as a conservative political theorist. He participated at the first two St. George Tucker Society meetings.

The M.E. Bradford Prize recognizes the best dissertation focused on the South, any time period and any discipline. The prize carries a $1,000 award to discuss the project at the Society’s annual meeting. Attendance at the July 25-27, 2019 meeting in Milledgeville, Georgia is mandatory for receipt of the prize.

Eligible dissertations will have been completed and defended in the 2018 calendar year and must be written in English. Self-nominations accepted. Please submit a letter of application, CV, dissertation abstract, and an electronic copy of the dissertation by April 15, 2019 to Dr. Matthew A. Byron, Chair of History at Young Harris College via email:

Bradford Dissertation Committee Chair

Dr. Matthew A. Byron, Chair of History at Young Harris College

Recent Bradford Dissertation Prize Winners:

(2018) “The Man Who Started the Civil War: Southern Honor, Emotion, and James Chestnut, Jr.” Anna Koivusalo, University of Helsinki

(2017) “Married to the Confederacy: The Emotional Politics of Confederate Widowhood”
Angela Esco Elder, University of Georgia and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Virginia Tech Department of History & Virginia Center for Civil War Studies

(2016) “Aesthetic Activism: Race, Ethnicity, Literary Experimentalism, and the U.S. South.”
Chad Jewett, University of Connecticut.

(2015)”A Second Degree of Slavery”:  How Black Emancipation Freed the Deep South’s Poor Whites
Keri Leigh Merritt, University of Georgia.

(2014) Murder in the Shenandoah: Commonwealth v. John Crane and Law in Federal Virginia
Jessica Lowe, Princeton University

(2013) Gaslights, Progress, and the Old South, 1801-1865
Phillip (Jay) Richardson, Jr., University of South Carolina

(2012) Georgia Imagined, Georgia Illustrated: Reading the Landscape, 1717-1859
Christopher Lawton, University of Georgia

(2011) Intellectual Manhood: Becoming Men of the Republic at a Southern University, 1795-1861
Tim Williams, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

(2010) The Builders of a New South: Merchants, Capital, and the Remaking of Natchez, 1865-1914
Aaron Anderson, University of Southern Mississippi

(2009) Executing, and Not Executing Criminals in North Carolina History
Seth Kotch, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

(2008) Creating “a truly Democratic Party” – Georgia Loyalists in the 1960s
Tim Boyd, Vanderbilt University

(2007) Merchants and the Political Economy of Nineteenth- Century Louisiana: New Orleans and Its Hinterland
Scott Marler, Rice University