March is Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, this blog post is dedicated to Sallie Swepson Sims Southall Cotten (1846-1929) of Pitt County, N.C.

Oversize Volume SV-2613/12, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Oversize Volume SV-2613/12, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sallie Cotten was a campaigner for women’s issues, with a focus on achieving equal education and legal status for women.  She was secretary of the Mothers’ Congress, and when the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs was formed she was the first elected vice-president.  She drafted their constitution and wrote their Federation Song.

Oversize Volume SV-2613/4, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Oversize Volume SV-2613/4, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She was elected president in 1911, where she started an endowment fund, incorporated the NC Federation, and even designed the NC Federation Seal.

Oversize Volume SV-2613/4, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Oversize Volume SV-2613/4, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

When she retired from the presidency she was named Honorary President for life.  She helped start an Educational Loan Fund that was named in her honor.  She also served four years as the Director for North Carolina on the General Federation Board of Directors.

Oversize Volume SV-2613/12, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Oversize Volume SV-2613/12, in the Sallie Southall Cotten Papers #2613, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Southern Historical Collection is proud to have her papers, which include correspondence, scrapbooks, reminiscences, and a copy of her book The White Doe.

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