From Her Hand: Sally Wait’s Mission South

Mary Tribble

In June of 1993, a stamp dealer from Locust, N.C., contacted Wake Forest University with a sheath of letters, documents and journals to sell. The documents were in the possession of a caretaker who had received them upon the death of the youngest daughter of the youngest grandson of Sally and Samuel Wait. How these 19th-century documents survived at all — and then found their way to ZSR Library’s Special Collections — is just one in a series of unlikely incidents that led to the unfolding of Sally Wait’s story.

On Monday, April 4, at 4 p.m., Mary Tribble (’82, MA ’19) will present “From Her Hand: Sally Merriam Wait’s Mission South” at the ZSR Auditorium. Register for the event or watch the livestream.

Focusing on the abundance of archival support at ZSR, Tribble will share many of the threads that she had to pull on in order to reconstruct this important women’s influence on the founding of Wake Forest. By weaving together primary sources, period publications, family histories, onsite research and academic inquiry, Tribble will demonstrate how archival preservation, unquenchable curiosity, and serendipity blended to bring an otherwise unknown woman’s story to life in Tribble’s recently published book, “Pious Ambitions: Sally Merriam Wait’s Mission South 1813-1831.”

In what Dean Michelle Gillespie describes as an “elegantly written and engaging cultural biography,” Tribble traces Wait’s conversion, courtship and calling as she makes her way from New England to a place called Wake Forest to help found a college.

Tribble is the Senior Advisor for Engagement Strategies at Wake Forest. Author proceeds from this event will be donated to Wake Forest Birthplace Society and Wake Forest University.

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