Center Mourns Recent Passing of Trustee Anne Firor Scott, Friends Nancy Lewis and Clay Whitehead | National Humanities Center

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Center Mourns Recent Passing of Trustee Anne Firor Scott, Friends Nancy Lewis and Clay Whitehead

March 1, 2019

The trustees and staff of the National Humanities Center mourn the recent passing of trustee emerita Anne Firor Scott on February 6, 2019, age 97. Scott was a distinguished historian whose long list of accolades included the National Humanities Medal, bestowed on her in 2013 for her pioneering work in the area of women’s history.

Her groundbreaking book, The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics (1830–1930), published in 1970, used women’s diaries and other personal documents to demonstrate how Southern women’s lives as wives and mothers were interwoven with their civic engagements and how their approach to wielding influence in their communities was distinctly different from that of men.

Anne came to the National Humanities Center as a Fellow in 1980–81 and remained deeply involved with the Center for the rest of her life, serving on the Center’s board of trustees from 1986 until 1996 and as the board’s vice chairman from 1991 to 1996 when she was made a trustee emerita.

The Center is also deeply saddened by the loss of longtime friends and supporters Nancy Lewis on October 27, 2018 at age 90, and Clay Whitehead, who died in December 2018. He was 76.

Lewis was the wife of Fellow R. W. B. Lewis (1989–90) and his frequent collaborator working alongside him during his fellowship year as they co-wrote American Characters: Selections from the National Portrait Gallery, Accompanied by Literary Portraits (1999), a book of nearly 200 American portraits with profiles of the colorful people depicted in them. Upon the death of her husband in 2002, Lewis helped establish the endowment fund for the R. W. B. Lewis Study at the Center in his honor and, as a member of the Center’s Sawyer Society, bestowed a gift in her will in his memory.

Dr. Whitehead, a practicing psychiatrist for nearly 50 years, spent his life engaged not only as a physician but as an academic, teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and publishing dozens of scholarly articles in fields that included literary criticism and evolutionary anthropology. A longtime friend and supporter of the Center, he was a frequent and active attendee at Center events and a member of the Center’s Sawyer Society which recognizes supporters who provide a legacy gift for the Center in their estate plans.