Ellis Merton Coulter was an historian of the Southeast and Georgia. He taught at the University of Georgia from 1919 to 1958 (serving as chair of the history department from 1940 until retirement), writing numerous books, journal articles, and newspaper columns. A defender of the Confederacy, Coulter persistently supported the controversial racist interpretation of Reconstruction that was popular in the United States through the first half of the Twentieth Century. However, he also wrote numerous books and articles of more lasting value, for example studies of obscure figures in Georgia history and a book on local legends, The Toombs Oak, the Tree That Owned Itself, and Other Chapters of Georgia. He served as the editor of the Georgia Historical Quarterly for decades and was a founding member and first president of the Southern Historical Association.