Historical Hall of Fame: Thomas Perkins Abernethy (1890-1975) was a professor of history and chair of the department at the
University of Virginia.
Virginia History Series
Born in Collirene, Alabama, on August 25, 1890, Thomas Perkins Abernethy was a member of the Marion Military Institute Class of 1908
(he was a cadet sergeant and played on the football team), and a 1912 graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He
also taught at MMI for a number of years (1912-1914, 1919-1921) while completing his graduate work (M.A., 1915; Ph.D., 1922) in history
at Harvard University in Massachusetts.
Upon completion of his graduate studies at Harvard, Dr. Abernethy embarked upon a distinguished
career as a Southern historian and professor. He taught at Vanderbilt University, the University of Chattanooga, and the University
of Alabama, before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia as the Richmond Alumni Professor of History in 1930. Dr. Abernethy’s
career culminated in his serving as chair of the Corcoran Department of History at UVA, one of the premier departments of history
in the country. Abernethy retired from UVA in 1961, but also taught briefly at the University of Texas and the University of Arizona.
Dr. Abernethy received an Honorary Doctor of Literature (Litt. D.) from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He was
also honored by a festschrift entitled "The Old Dominion: Essays for Thomas Perkins Abernethy", edited by Darrett B. Rutman (1964).
Among his many contributions to the field of history, Dr. Abernethy co-founded and served as third president of the Southern Historical
Association. He also served on the executive board of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond for over a quarter century.