All the Saints, All the Time: Remembering Barbara Schnorrenberg

Dr. Barbara Brandon Schnorrenberg, past president of the Episcopal Women’s History Project, died from complications of breast cancer on October 10, 2013.  Dr. Schnorrenberg was a long-time advocate of women in the historical profession and of women’s history.  With an undergraduate degree in history from Wellesley, master’s work at the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D. in British history from Duke University in 1958, Dr. Schnorrenberg taught at several colleges and universities in North Carolina, eventually teaching the first course on women’s history at the University of North Carolina.

From 1976 on she was an independent scholar.  She served with distinction as an officer of a number of historical associations including as founding secretary-treasurer of the Southern Association for Women Historians and editor of their newsletter; Treasurer of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and terms as president of the South Eastern American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies, the Southern Conference for British Studies, and of the Episcopal Women’s History Project from 1998-2002.

After many years of writing about women in British history, Dr. Schnorrenberg began work on Alabama deaconesses, and soon began exploring other topics.  Three recent books included several histories of Episcopal parishes and a book on St. Mark’s Academic and Industrial School, an Episcopal school for African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama.  Most recently Dr. Schnorrenberg lived in Alexandria, Virginia where she was deeply involved in the life of St. Aidan’s Parish and wrote a history of the parish, published in 2008.

Dr. Schnorrenberg balanced professional life with an active family life. She and her husband John raised a son and daughter while pursuing active academic careers. Dr. Schnorrenberg understood first-hand the challenges that a woman could face in academia, especially one with a family and was a strong advocate for women in the historical profession.

As president of EWHP, Dr. Schnorrenberg was an active promoter of history conferences, both those sponsored independently by EWHP and in cooperation with other Episcopal historical societies.  She also made fundraising a priority. Matilda Dunn, EWHP Treasurer adds, “Barbara always gave money to EWHP honoring her priest, the associates, members of her Church, her family and friends.  On her anniversary a couple of years ago, Barbara asked that contributions be sent to EWHP for her and her husband.  Support from her family and friends was more than $2,500.”

In recent years, Dr. Schnorrenberg offered papers at Tri-History conferences and remained an active supporter and member of EWHP.  Matilda notes, “I received a call and note from Barbara after the service for her anniversary, saying that she was surprised and got emotional when the plaque from EWHP was read.  She often kept in touch with me through supportive notes and calls. I think she was one of the longest-serving presidents, and she served and supported EWHP well.”

EWHP will miss her.

Joan R. Gundersen

Joan Gundersen is the current president of the Episcopal Women’s History Project.

2 Comments

  • Barbara Schnorrenberg was a vitally important supporter of my M.A. and Ph.D. studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Always encouraging. Provided very helpful suggestions and guidelines.

    • Barbara Schnorrenberg was a vitally important supporter of my M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Always encouraging. Provided very helpful suggestions and guidelines.

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