Winner of the Clinton Jackson Coley Award
The 1878 City Directory of Montgomery, Alabama, included “A Brief History of Montgomery,” consisting of a “narrative” and a series of events arranged by the months. Compiled by Matthew Powers Blue, this was the earliest history of a place that already served as the center of Deep South cotton culture and as the first capital of the Confederacy. Contemporary historian Mary Ann Neeley has annotated Blue’s history to correct errors and clear up inconsistencies, and added other material on early churches, a genealogy of the colorful Blue family, and a Civil War diary by Blue’s sister, Ellen. The book also includes many 19th century photographs.
This compendium is a brilliantly enhanced reproduction of a nineteenth-century historian’s chronicles of Montgomery, Alabama, during the city’s formative era. The writings of that journalist, Matthew Powers Blue, have been edited and annotated by Montgomery’s current keeper of the flame, Mary Ann Neeley. With enthusiastic participation and encouragement of publishers Suzanne La Rosa and Randall Williams, Neeley has refreshed and enhanced the source material with lucid analysis and additional information. Anyone who loves to read and has a deep connection with Montgomery, Alabama, should own this book.
—Julia Oliver, First Draft Reviews Online
This volume, edited by a 20th-century Montgomery historian (who is a bit of a legend herself), includes four important works. Each section contains a plethora of information about the city and the denizens thereof.
—Dave “Doc” Kirby, Book Bit, WTBF-AM/FM
An excellent presentation of important primary sources for the early history of Alabama's capital city. Neeley has made yet another valuable contribution to Montgomery's history.
—Michael Thomason, The Journal of Southern History
Anyone researching a nineteenth-century Alabama topic that touches Montgomery must consult Matthew Blue. Neeley’s book places this history in easy reach with an index and copious annotations and notes. One strength of the book is the copious illustrations and photographs, which are fully explained in captions. The large number of names and the easy index will be an asset for genealogical and family researchers. Neeley’s edited and annotated volume of Blue’s works should be in major research libraries in the nation and included in most of Alabama’s public and academic collections. Collectors of Alabamiana will welcome this volume.
—Leah Rawls Atkins, The Alabama Review
This is what happens when two passionate Montgomery historians—though separated by more than a century—join forces.
—Teri Greene, Montgomery Advertiser