Published on April 14, 2015 by William Nunnelley  
Elizabeth Wells archivist

Samford University archivist Elizabeth Wells was awarded the Virginia Hamilton Award by the Alabama Historical Association (AHA) at its annual meeting in Mobile April 9. The award is presented every other year to honor contributions that promote appreciation and better understanding of Alabama history among the general public.

Wells has been processing archivist in the Special Collection and Archives department of Samford’s University Library since 2013 after serving as chair of the department for 38 years. She joined Samford in 1974.

"Receiving the Virginia Hamilton award from the Alabama Historical Association is just one more reminder of Liz Wells’ sterling record of public service and the meaningful contributions she has made to Samford, her profession, and the state of Alabama," said Samford Provost and Executive Vice President Brad Creed, who serves on the AHA board of directors.

Wells helped make Samford archives especially strong in three areas—Alabama history, Alabama Baptist history and the history and heritage of Samford. The Samford archives also house notable Irish genealogical holdings in the Albert E. Casey Collection and Other Irish Materials, and a literary authors collection of materials and first editions by British authors John Ruskin, John Masefield and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Wells was the recipient of Samford’s Jennings Marshall Award for significant service to the university in 2012 and of the Marvin Yeomans Whiting Award from the Society of Alabama Archivists for significant contributions to the preservation and dissemination of local history in Alabama in 2013.

The Virginia Hamilton Award is named for the historian and author of biographies of Hugo Black, former member of the U.S. Supreme Court from Alabama, and Lister Hill, longtime senator from the state. Hamilton, who served as head of the history department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also wrote Alabama: A History, part of The States and the Nation Series, and other books.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.