Judy Peiser

Women of Achievement

for a woman who seized the
opportunity to use her talents and created her own future:

Judy Peiser

Judy Peiser is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Southern Folklore, a nonprofit multimedia corporation that produces films, records and books documenting the rapidly disappearing folk traditions in the Southern United States. The Center has produced 15 films, two slide shows, two record albums, four travelling exhibits and two books (to date).

Judy has secure grants from approximately 50 local, regional and national organizations, has presented the Center’s work to more than 100 interested groups across the country and has been the recipient of more than 50 national and international film awards. Her most recent project has been the development of a cultural plan for the renaissance of Memphis’ historic Beale Street.

In addition, she and the Center have opened the restored Old Daisy Theater on Beale “as a beginning of a folk life museum that will include everything from cooking demonstrations to multimedia exhibits.”

In its 1984 Register, Esquire magazine named Judy as one of the young people who is “changing America.”


The Center moved in August, 1993 to the former Lansky’s Clothing Store building at Beale and Second, where visitation tripled. An expanding catalog and gift shop are major revenue sources. Judy hosts both television and radio shows on Southern heritage and produces the annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival downtown.