School teachers and owner/operators of
Birmingham's Smith and Hardwick Bookstore, Anna Linton Praytor and her sister,
Virginia Praytor, were dedicated to teaching and learning.
Both women were born in Birmingham and received
undergraduate degrees from Birmingham-Southern College. Virginia taught Latin
and English primarily at Phillips High School in Birmingham. Anna taught Latin
and English at West End, Phillips, and Ramsay High Schools in
In the early 1950's, the two sisters bought Smith
and Hardwick. Virginia served as president with Anna as secretary-treasurer.
Eventually, the bookstore became synonymous with the Praytor sisters.
Friends said that Anna's life's work was to help
get books to people. She traveled as far as London to purchase books for her
store. She and her sister founded the Books and Authors Luncheon which took
place during the Birmingham Festival of Arts for many years. In 1982, the
Birmingham Altrusa Club named her "Altrusan of the Year" and established a
vocational scholarship at Jefferson State Junior College to be awarded each
year by the Altrusa Club. She died March 11, 1989.
While a graduate student at Vanderbilt
University, where she earned a master's degree, Virginia Praytor received many
honors in the fields of classical languages and mathematics. At Vanderbilt, she
won acclaim for her translation from the original Latin of the Theodosian Code,
Book Eleven, "A Study in Roman Taxation," which was published by Princeton
University in 1952. According to Dr. James A. Pittman, Jr., Dean of the
University School of Medicine at UAB, "Through the many groups of high school
students (Ambassadors of Goodwill) whom she took to Washington, D.C., and
introduced first hand to the operations of government and to New York to see
the United Nations at work, her influence spread far beyond the local area
where she taught and worked." She died July 24, 1974.