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Julia Tutwiler, born August 15, 1841, was a woman with progressive ideas for the time

On March 31, 1916, Julia Strudwick Tutwiler’s death was reported in the Florence Times. Julia Sturdwick Tutwiler died on March 24, 1916, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a woman with progressive ideas who contributed much to the education and penal system in Alabama.

Julia Tutwiler (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Women were the intellectual equals

Julia Tutwiler was born in Havana, Alabama to Henry and Julia Ashe Tutwiler on August 15, 18411. Her father believed that “women were the intellectual equals of men and should be educated as such.”2 At the time there was a lack of higher learning institutions for women in Alabama. Her father sent Julia to a boarding school in Philadelphia. She returned to Alabama during the Civil War and taught at a school her father established, Greene Springs School for Boys in Hale County, Alabama.

In 1866, Julia attended Vassar College in New York for a semester in 1866. In 1867, she took a position at Greensboro Academy in Hale County and where she was appointed co-principal. She next taught at Greene Springs Academy in Sawyerville, Alabama until 1872. She continued her education in Germany, France and Washington and Lee University.

Tutwiler returned to Alabama in 1876 and taught languages and literature until 1881 at Tuscaloosa Female College.

She served with her uncle as co-principal

Julia Tutwiler served with her uncle, Carlos G. Smith, as co-principals of Livingston State Normal School and was the first (and only) president of the college. This school became the University of West Alabama and with her support, in 1892 ten Livingston-educated students became the first women admitted to the University of Alabama. The college received the first state government’s appropriation for women’s education. She became known by mamy as the ‘mother of co-education in Alabama and a key figure in the creation of the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School which evolved into the present-day University of Montevallo.

Angel of prisons

Tutwiler was also called the ‘angel of the prisons,’ because of her push for many reforms in the Alabama penal system. Through her influence, separate prisons were established for men and women. The women’s prison in Wetumpka in Elmore County, Alabama is named after her.

Julia was also and accomplished writer, and in 1931 her poem “Alabama” was immortalized as the official state song.

Julia was also and accomplished writer, and in 1931 the lyrics in her poem “Alabama” were immortalized as the official state song. The poem was composed while she was living in Germany. “Designated “Alabama’s First Citizen,” Tutwiler was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame (1953) and into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame at Judson College (1970).”3


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Interesting handle on her cane.

    1. I think her wrist rested in the “u” shape and her hand grasped what looks like a handle at the bottom of the “U”

  2. […] is considered to be one of the pillars of Alabama progressivism, alongside Dr. Booker T. Washington. She was a woman of fierce conviction and boundless energy; a tireless reformer and impassioned person of principle. There were few people as remarkable as […]

  3. how did Julia Tutwiler die?

  4. Netta Holley ,Connie Strickland Frazier
    Elizabeth McLeod Horton, Elizabeth Frazier

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