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The Civil War Round Table of Atlanta, Georgia

Richard Barksdale Harwell and the Civil War
Round Table of Atlanta

Each year the Atlanta Civil War Round Table confers the prestigious Harwell Book Award for the best book on a Civil War subject published in the preceding year. This award is named after the nationally recognized bibliographer, librarian and historian, Richard Barksdale Harwell, who authored and edited numerous books relating to the American Civil War. He was also responsible for conceiving the idea of a Civil War Round Table in Atlanta.

In November, 1949, Richard Barksdale Harwell hosted a dinner at his home attended by Wilber Kurtz, Franklin Garrett, Beverly Dubose, Jr. and Carl Forrester to discuss the formation of a Civil War Round Table. As a result of that gathering, the first meeting of the Atlanta Civil War Round Table was held at the Piedmont Driving Club on December 10, 1949. Harwell was issued membership certificate #1 and elected its first President. Prior to completion of his term, he relocated to Chicago to become the Secretary of the College Library Association. Over many years his devotion to the study of history and continued friendship and support of our CWRT contributed greatly to the Atlanta community. The award named in his honor was first presented in 1989, following his death on March 9, 1988, and acknowledges outstanding Civil War books that meet the high standards of Civil War historiography set by Harwell.

During most of the history of the award, the Harwell Book Award Committee consisted of giants in their own right. Tom Watson Brown, Col. Jim Bogle and Ron Hudgins served this organization in many ways, not the least of which was in establishing and maintaining the high standards of the Harwell Book Award. Largely through their effort, the Atlanta Civil War Round Table's Book Award is recognized nationally as a mark of excellence, befitting of the name Richard Barksdale Harwell.