In Remembrance of Julia Walsh



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Paul Harvey

Some years ago I was fortunate enough to meet Julia Walsh, then a finishing graduate student under Vernon Burton; I read her dissertation concerning religion and working-class politics in Augusta, Georgia in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, enjoyed it, and made much use of it in my own work. I kept in touch with her for several years; the last time I saw her, if I remember correctly, was at a Southern Historical Association meeting in New Orleans, where she, her husband, and myself stood and listened to the youngest Marsalis brother lead a good jazz ensemble at a SHA reception.

I was shocked and saddened today to get the message of Julia's death, reposted below. She was indeed a warm and generous person and a fine scholar. I'll never forget having bbq in Birmingham with Julia, Daniel Stowell, and a few other folks, nor our wonderful conversations about religion and labor in American history.

The editors and board of H-South with heavy hearts convey the death of Julia Walsh (PhD, Illinois, 1999), an editor of this list and a contributor to H-Labor. Julia, who had been suffering from the effects of early-onset Parkinson's Disease for many years, died in her sleep on April 1, 2009. She is grieved by her husband Tom Jordan (Phd, Illinois, 2000), a specialist in Latin American labor history at SIU-Edwardsville, and by her young daughter Norah.

The daughter of Irish immigrants living in England, Julia was a graduate of Cambridge University and attended the University of Illinois for graduate work in Southern and working-class history. Her dissertation, "Horny-Handed Sons of Toil": Workers, Politics, and Religion in Augusta, Georgia, 1880-1910," was directed by Vernon Burton. She had published a number of articles before being disabled by her illness.

Julia taught for many years at Webster University in St. Louis. Julia was, along with Terry Finnegan and Henry Kammerling, part of the original H-South editors from its inception in the early 1990s. A gracious manner and skillful writing were her professional hallmarks. Julia was as warm and generous a person one could hope to meet. She and Tom presented a supportive social center for Illinois graduate students in the late nineties and they carried that goodwill with them to St. Louis where Julia was much loved in her department. Her scholarship was outstanding and added signifi=antly to our understanding of the American South.

A memorial mass for Julia Walsh will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 8th, at 11:00 a.m. at Seven Holy Founders Catholic Church. A reception following the mass will be held at the Jordan residence and is tentatively scheduled from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

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