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Francis Paul Prucha

Father Francis Paul Prucha, SJ, life member of the American Historical Association and long-time member of the history department at Marquette University, died on July 30, 2015, at the age of 94. A specialist in the relationship between Native Americans and the United States government, Prucha published or edited more than twenty-five books. His two-volume The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians won the Ray Allen Billington Award from the Organization of American Historians and was one of two finalists for the 1985 Pulitzer Prize in history. Prucha published books on nearly every aspect of Native Americans' relationships with white Americans, ranging from military campaigns to trade relations, from treaties to treaty medals, and from education to missionary work. He also published numerous volumes of documents, bibliographies, maps, and guides to researching Native American history.

A native of northern Wisconsin, Prucha served in the U. S. Army Air Force during the Second World War. He recieved his PhD from Harvard University in 1950, the same year in which he entered the Society of Jesus. He came to Marquette University in 1960 and remained there for the rest of his career, serving as department chair for several years and winning the Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1973. Among his many honors was being named a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences in 1986, and receiving honorary degrees from several institutions, including Creighton, Merrimack, Marquette, Loyola-Chicago, and the College of the Holy Cross.

Prucha had a long and distinguished relationship with the Western History Association, serving on the editorial board of the Western Historical Quarterly and as the organization's twenty-second president in 1982-1983. The WHA's Arrington-Prucha Prize recognizes the best journal article published each year in Western religious history.

Posted: August 26, 2015
Tagged: In Memoriam