Archive for the 'Aileen Henderson' Category

Aileen Kilgore Henderson awarded Druid Arts Award from the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 by Matthew Byrne

Aileen Kilgore Henderson is much beloved in artistic and historical circles in Alabama. So we are pleased to see her work celebrated last month by the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, which awarded her the Druid Arts 56890335_10157286392877009_4602948311190601728_o Award in the Literary Arts. The award recognizes the demonstrated quality of her body of work, her contributions to the literary community, and the overall visibility she has helped bring to the arts. Pictured here with her daughter and son-in-law, Henderson is the award-winning author of several children’s books, but it’s her Eugene Allen Smith’s Alabama we are obviously most proud of. This book published by NewSouth Books is the definitive work on Alabama’s first state geologist, who spent the better part of a lifetime traversing the state with notebook and Brownie camera in hand, documenting Alabama’s abundant natural and geological resources. Smith’s work directly contributed to the commercial and industrial development of Alabama of the late nineteenth century. Lewis Dean in his foreword to the book says, “Smith was short in stature, but a giant of1588382435 a man. He believed in progress. His life and work testify to the conviction that society and individuals can build a better world.” Like Smith, Ms. Henderson has done her state a service. Eugene Allen Smith’s Alabama reintroduces a preeminent Alabamian, who in his own time had a positive influence in shaping his native state and left an enduring legacy of science and service. We celebrate Ms. Henderson’s outstanding achievement in returning that story to us.

Aileen Henderson starts Eugene Allen Smith book tour at UA’s Hoole Library

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 by Lisa Harrison

Eugene Allen Smith's Alabama:  How a Geologist Shaped a State by Aileen HendersonAileen Kilgore Henderson will return to her alma mater, the University of Alabama, on September 20 for a book-signing celebrating publication by NewSouth Books of Eugene Allen Smith’s Alabama: How a Geologist Shaped a State. This book has been a labor of love for Henderson, who spent 10 years researching and writing it, with much of her work being done at the Hoole Special Collections Library where she will speak.

Eugene Allen Smith was for fifty years Alabama’s state geologist. Until his death in 1927 this gifted man devoted his abundant energy and stout heart to the welfare of Alabama. What he accomplished, against monumental odds, became the catalyst that transformed the state from a poverty-stricken agricultural land to an industrial giant. Aileen Henderson’s book — based on Smith’s letters and field notes and gorgeously illustrated with the photos he took — is the first to that chronicle his significant contributions.

In a Tuscaloosa News interview, Henderson revealed that her interest in Smith began during her childhood, when her father worked with Smith’s diaries:

“Back during the Depression, Daddy lost his job as a time-keeper when the mines closed and had to go to work for the WPA,” Henderson said. “Daddy worked at Smith Hall on a crew that was typing Dr. Smith’s journal from yellow sheets or second sheets, and they would discard the second sheets. And those that Daddy thought were amusing or interesting, he would bring home for the family to read.”

After pursuing a career as a teacher and author of children’s fiction, Henderson returned to the subject of Eugene Allen Smith, discovering that his journal was rich in history not only about Smith as a man, but about the state he worked tirelessly to promote.

Aileen Henderson will speak and sign copies of Eugene Allen Smith’s Alabama at the Hoole Library on September 20 at 5:00 pm and at the Tuscaloosa Library on September 29 at noon. She is scheduled to speak at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, the Birmingham Public Library, the LaFayette Public Library, and at other libraries around the state in the next few months.

Eugene Allen Smith’s Alabama is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite retail or online bookseller.