OAH Honors Historians with Awards and Prizes at the 2020 Annual Conference

April 8, 2020

2020 OAH Award and Prize Recipients

Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award
for an individual or individuals whose contributions have significantly enriched our understanding and appreciation of American history

The OAH is pleased to award the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award to Eric Foner, Columbia University. This award recognizes Professor Foner for enriching our understanding and appreciation of American history, for deepening our sensitivity to the past as a researcher, writer, teacher, leader, and public historian.

Professor Foner is a prolific scholar, the author and editor of twenty books, many of which have received the highest honors. This body of work embodies an influential mix of ambitious research retold through insight and accessible prose, that has long set a high bar for U.S. historians. His 1988 Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 remains the defining of study of this pivotal moment in U.S. history, and was awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Parkman Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, published in 2010, won the Bancroft Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Lincoln Prize. His most recent book is The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, was just published in 2019.

Friend of History Award
recognizes an institution or organization, or an individual working primarily outside college or university settings, for outstanding support of historical research, the public presentation of American history, or the work of the OAH

The OAH is pleased to present the 2020 Friend of History Award to the Ulysses S. Grant Association. The USGA was founded in 1962 as part of the Civil War centennial commemorations. Its founding historians included luminaries in the field—Bruce Catton, John Hope Franklin, and Allan Nevins, among others. Initially located at the Ohio Historical Society and then at Southern Illinois University, the USGA moved to its current home at Mississippi State University in 2008, where it established the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Retired Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Frank J. Williams has served as the second president of the USGA since 1990, replacing Ralph G. Newman. For more than five decades, the USGA has fulfilled its mission “to conduct research into the life of Ulysses S. Grant and preserve the knowledge of his importance in American history.”

In 2015 the U.S. Senate proclaimed 2022 as the bicentennial celebration year of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant and designated the USGA as the institution to lead the national commemoration. As we approach the bicentennial year, we applaud the USGA for its long and ongoing commitment to preserving Grant’s legacy and promoting historical research. As the Civil War historian James McPherson writes, the USGA is “most worthy” of this award.

Frederick Jackson Turner Award
for a first scholarly book dealing with some aspect of American history

Vincent DiGirolamo, Baruch College, Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys (Oxford University Press).

Merle Curti Intellectual History Award
for the best book in American intellectual history

Katrina Forrester, Harvard University, In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy (PrincetonUniversity Press)

Merle Curti Social History Award
for the best book in American social history

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, University of California, Berkeley. They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South (Yale University Press).

Honorable Mention:

  • Sarah M. S. Pearsall, University of Cambridge. Polygamy: An Early American History (Yale University Press).
  • Sophie White, Notre Dame University, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press).

Richard W. Leopold Prize
for the best book on foreign policy, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government, documentary histories, or biography written by a U.S. government historian or federal contract historian

Anand Toprani, U.S. Naval War College, Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914–1945 (Oxford University Press).

Avery O. Craven Award
for the most original book on the coming of the Civil War, the Civil War years, or the Era of Reconstruction, with the exception of works of purely military history

W. Caleb McDaniel, Rice University, Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America (Oxford University Press).

James A. Rawley Prize
for the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the United States

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (The University of North Carolina Press)

Ellis W. Hawley Prize
for the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (The University of North Carolina Press)

Liberty Legacy Foundation Award
for the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (The University of North Carolina Press)

Lawrence W. Levine Award
for the best book in American cultural history

Erik R. Seeman, University at Buffalo. Speaking with the Dead in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Darlene Clark Hine Award
for the best book in African American women’s and gender history

Shennette Garrett-Scott, University of Mississippi. Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal (Columbia University Press).

David Montgomery Award
for the best book on a topic in American labor and working-class history, with co-sponsorship by the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)

Eduardo Contreras, Hunter College, City University of New York. Latinos and the Liberal City: Politics and Protest in San Francisco (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Honorable Mention

  • William Sturkey, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White (Harvard University Press).

Mary Nickliss Prize in U.S. Women’s and/or Gender History
for the most original book in U.S. Women’s and/or Gender History (including North America and the Caribbean prior to 1776)

Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (W. W. Norton & Company).

Honorable Mention

  • Katherine M. Marino, University of California, Los Angeles. Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Human Rights Movement (The University of North Carolina Press).

Lerner-Scott Prize
for the best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women’s history

Aimee Loiselle, Smith College (dissertation completed at the University of Connecticut under the direction of Micki McElya with Christopher Clark and Peter Baldwin). “Creating Norma Rae: The Erasure of Puerto Rican Needleworkers and Southern Labor Activists in a Neoliberal Icon.”

Louis Pelzer Memorial Award
for the best essay in American history by a graduate student

Bench Ansfield, Yale University (dissertation in progress with the direction of advisors Joanne Meyerowitz and Michael Denning), “The Crisis of Insurance and the Insuring of the Crisis: Riot Reinsurance and Redlining in the Aftermath of the 1960s Uprisings.”

Binkley-Stephenson Award
for the best article that appeared in the Journal of American History during the preceding calendar year

Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, Cornell University. “For Labor and Democracy: The Farm Security Administration’s Competing Visions for Farm Workers’ Socioeconomic Reform and Civil Rights in the 1940s.”

Huggins-Quarles Award
for graduate students of color to assist with expenses related to travel to research collections for the completion of the Ph.D. dissertation

Ana C. Rosado, Northwestern University, “Ties that Bind Us to the Earth: Neighborhoods and Interpersonal Relationships of Black Southern Marylanders.”

John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award for the best Ph.D. dissertation in U.S. LGBTQ history

Caroline Radesky, University of Iowa (dissertation competed at the University of Iowa under the direction of Leslie Schwalm), “Feeling Historical: Same-Sex Desire and Historical Imaginaries, 1880–1920.”

John Higham Research Fellowship
for graduate students writing doctoral dissertations for a Ph.D. in American history

  • Mark Boxell, University of Oklahoma. “Red Soil, White Oil: Race, Environment, and the Birth of Petroleum Dependency, 1890–1940.”
  • Mia Alexandra Michael, Boston College. “Caring for the Commonwealth: Domestic Work and Workers’ Organizing in Boston, Massachusetts, 1960–2015.”

Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award
for contributions made by precollegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history

Brian Sheehy, North Andover High School. In his own words, Mr. Sheehy’s “first goal is to instill in my students a deeper understanding, appreciation, respect, and hopefully a love for history.” This he does through a hands-on, experiential, object-based approach to learning that appeals to the detective in all of us. Students of all ability levels and learning styles are drawn to Brian because of his passion for history and because of his passion for them. He cares deeply about their hopes and their dreams. He links the past to their futures in a very tangible way. Brian has the two qualities required of a great teacher — enthusiasm for the subject and the ability to convey one’s love of the subject to one’s students.

Erik Barnouw Award
for outstanding programming on television, or in documentary film, concerned with American history, the study of American history, and/or the promotion of American history

Chasing the Moon, A Robert Stone Production for American Experience: Robert Stone, Writer, Producer and Director; Susan Bellows, Senior Producer; Mark Samels, Executive Producer. Chasing the Moon is a three-part, six-hour documentary series about the United States’ race to land a man on the moon made by PBS to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the lunar landing. The series is built on an exhaustive collection of archival material, much of it never seen before, and includes a diverse cast of people who played key roles in the historic events. This film takes the viewer on a journey not only of the science and the scientists but also of the relevant sociopolitical, cultural, and economic factors of the times.

Stanton-Horton Award for Excellence in National Park Service History
recognizes excellence in historical projects for, by, and with the National Park Service and is intended to honor projects, parks, or programs that make the NPS a leader in promoting public understanding of and engagement with American history

National Parks of Boston, Social Justice Team, Rocking the Cradle and Ghosts of the Revolution. The newly formed Social Justice Team of the National Parks of Boston has significantly revamped the park’s programming by integrating new programs that explore the complexity of our national story through resonant issues and enduring questions associated with park sites. The team is responsible for programming at such iconic sites as Faneuil Hall, the African Meeting House, the Freedom Trail®, Black Heritage Trail® and historic Long Wharf.

Collectively, this team focuses on historic issues of social justice, social change, and social revolution within a human rights framework that links past with present, teases out tensions between civil rights and liberties, and situates park sites within a national civil rights narrative. Audience-centered programs leverage the power of shared authority and create safe space for people to wrestle with contested and evolving understandings of American civic heritage. Participants discover the relevance of history to their own lives and are invited to consider their roles with respect to shaping the way forward.


OAH/JAAS Japan Residencies Program*

The OAH and the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS), with the generous support of the Japan–United States Friendship Commission, select two U.S. historians to spend two weeks at Japanese universities giving lectures, seminars, advising students and researchers interested in the American past, and joining in the collegiality of the host institution. It is part of an exchange program that also brings Japanese graduate students who are studying in the United States to the OAH Annual Meeting.

  • Farina King, Northeastern State University
    Meiji Gakuin University: Native American history, comparative Indigenous/colonial studies, and the history of education; race, ethnicity, gender.
  • Erik Loomis, University of Rhode Island
    Hirosaki University: 20th century U.S. labor history with a focus on the American West, environmentalism, globalization, and the Pacific World.

Two Japanese students studying in the United States were selected to receive funding to attend this year’s OAH Annual Meeting:

  • Koji Ito, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Eriko Oga, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

*Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 OAH Residencies will take place at later dates, yet to be determined. For more information, please contact Kara Hamm, Award and Committee Coordinator.

Germany Residency Program*
Thanks to a generous grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the OAH is pleased to continue the Germany Residency Program in American history at the University of Tübingen. The resident scholar will offer a seminar on a U.S. history topic of his or her design.

  • Thomas G. Andrews, University of Colorado Boulder

*Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 OAH Residencies will take place at later dates, yet to be determined. For more information, please contact Kara Hamm, Award and Committee Coordinator.

Samuel and Marion Merrill Graduate Student Travel Grants
The grants, supported by a bequest from the Merrill trust, help sponsor the travel-related costs of graduate students who are confirmed as participants on the OAH conference program and who incur expenses traveling to the annual meeting

  • Molly Miller Brookfield is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint program in History and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.
  • Michaela Kleber is a doctoral candidate in history at William & Mary, where she expects to receive her Ph.D. in May 2020.
  • Juan Ignacio Mora is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he expects to receive his Ph.D. in 2020.
  • Carolina Ortega is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Sherri Sheu is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder and serves as the president of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) Graduate Student Caucus.

OAH Presidents’ Travel Fund for Emerging Historians
The fund provides travel stipends for up to five graduate students and recent Ph.D.’s in history (no more than four years from date of degree) whose papers or panels/sessions have been accepted by the OAH Program Committee for inclusion on the annual meeting program.

  • Sasha Coles is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Emma Day is a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford.
  • Jessica Derleth earned a Ph.D. in history from Binghamton University (SUNY) with specializations in United States history, race, and global gender and empire.
  • Hollie Pich is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, Australia, where she expects to receive her Ph.D. by June 2020.
  • Geneva Smith is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University.