Director of the Center for the Southwest

Dr. Virginia Scharff, 

Director of the Center for the Southwest, Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Provost for Faculty Development at the University of New Mexico

Dr. Scharff is author of Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age (Free Press, 1991); Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West (University of California Press, 2003); The Women Jefferson Loved (Harper Collins, 2010); and coauthor of Homelands:  How Women Made the West (University of California Press, 2010). She is also co-author of two textbooks, Present Tense: The United States Since 1945 (Houghton Mifflin, 1996); and Coming of Age: America in the Twentieth Century (Houghton Mifflin, 1998); and editor of Seeing Nature Through Gender (University Press of Kansas, 2003); and Empire and Liberty:  The Civil War and the West (University of California Press, 2015). 

Scharff’s scholarship has won praise in venues ranging from the New York Times, The Economist, The Manchester Guardian, and The Nation, to People and Seventeen magazines. Her honors and awards include being named Beinecke Research Fellow at Yale University, Women of the West Chair at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Mellon Fellow at the Huntington Library, and a Fellow and Board Member of the Society of American Historians. She served as President of the Western History Association for 2008-09.

Scharff enjoys bringing history to American viewers as well as readers.  She has served as consultant on television documentary projects for The History Channel, A & E, Turner Broadcasting, and numerous public television stations, and was a scholar advisor, writer, and lecturer for Biography of America, a television course in United States history produced by WGBH in Boston, and funded by Annenberg CPB.

Under the name of VIRGINIA SWIFT, Scharff has published suspense novels including Brown-Eyed Girl (2000),  Bad Company (2002), Bye, Bye, Love (2004), and  Hello Stranger, (2006). These novels, winning praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and U.S.A. Today, feature University of Wyoming history professor and amateur sleuth “Mustang” Sally Alder.


Email: vscharff@unm.edu
Phone: (505) 277-4344
Office: Mesa Vista 2059