Obituary: Judith Kelleher Schafer, former associate director of Murphy Institute, dies at age 72

Brandi Doyal, Print News Editor

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Judith Kelleher Schafer died Dec. 16 at the Touro Infirmary at age 72. Schafer was born Dec. 12, 1942. She earned a B.A. from H. Sophie Newcomb College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Tulane University. 

Schafer was a highly regarded scholar and worked at Tulane University and Tulane University Law School as a historian for over 30 years. She specialized in American history and legal history, including the studies of slavery and prostitution. 

Schafer enjoyed a successful career where she published various articles and essays including law reviews, historical journals and three well-received books, one of which won the Gulf Coast Historical Association’s book prize for 2011. 

Schafer was a very influential figure in both the Tulane and New Orleans communities. She served as the president of the Louisiana Historical Association and associate director of the Murphy Institute for Political Economy. She was a member of several organizations focusing on the historical significance of Louisiana and the South. 

John Howard, the current associate director of the Murphy Institute, said Schafer will be deeply missed by her colleagues.

“Dr. Schafer was the heart and soul of the Murphy Instutite for many years and touched the lives of hundreds of our students,” Howard said. “We will miss her dearly.”