Awards / Current and Recent Graduate Students Awards

Lerner-Scott Prize

Recognizing the best PhD dissertation in US women's history.



The Lerner-Scott Prize is given annually by the Organization of American Historians for the best doctoral dissertation in US women’s history. The prize is named for Gerda Lerner and Anne Firor Scott, both pioneers in women’s history and past presidents of the OAH.


Submitted dissertations must be completed during the period July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 to be eligible for the 2024 Lerner-Scott Prize.

Submission Process

Please email a PDF of your complete dissertation (including abstract and table of contents) to the Lerner-Scott committee chair, with “2024 OAH Lerner-Scott Prize Entry” in the subject line. Applicants must also provide a cover letter describing the contribution of the dissertation to the field of US women’s history and any funding or project or travel grants that supported the completion of the dissertation. Applications must be received by the committee chair by 11:59 p.m. (PST) on October 1, 2023.

By the October 1 deadline, each application must also include a letter of support from a faculty member at the degree-granting institution. Faculty members should email their letters separately to the committee chair, with “Recommendation for [applicant’s name]” in the subject line.

Tiffany Gonzalez, Chair
[email protected]

Past Winners


Elizabeth Hearne, Tulane University. “Reframing Care: Sexual Violence, Mental Health, and Feminist Activism, 1971–1997” 


Tiffany Jasmin González, James Madison University (dissertation completed at Texas A&M University under the direction of Sonia Hernández), “Representation for a Change: Women in Government and the Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement in Texas”

Honorable Mention: Charlene J. Fletcher, Conner Prairie Museum (dissertation completed at Indiana University, Bloomington; advisers Amrita Myers, Chair, Alex Lichtenstein, Cara Caddoo, Karen Inoyue), “Confined Femininity: Race, Gender, and Incarceration in Kentucky, 1865–1920”


Michaela Kleber, Northwestern University (dissertation completed at the College of William & Mary under the direction of Dr. Joshua Piker with Dr. Brett Rushforth, Dr. Leisa Meyer, Dr. Hannah Rosen, and Dr. Guillaume Aubert), “Gendered Societies, Sexual Empires: French Colonization among the Illinois”


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”


Julia Bowes, The University of Hong Kong, “Invading the Home: Children, State Power, and the Gendered Origins of Modern Conservatism, 1865–1933” [dissertation completed at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, under the direction of Jennifer Mittelstadt and Ann Fabian]


Alexandra J. Finley, Mississippi State University, “Blood Money: Sex, Family, and Finance in the Antebellum Slave Trade” [College of William & Mary dissertation, with advisers Scott Nelson (chair), Cindy Hahamovitch, Hannah Rosen, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.]


Ava Purkiss, University of Michigan, “‘Mind, Soul, Body, and Race’: Black Women’s Purposeful Exercise in the Age of Physical Culture, 1900–1939” [dissertation completed at the University of Texas, Austin (History) under the direction of Professors Tiffany Gill and Daina Ramey Berry]

Honorable Mention: Jenna Healey, Yale University, “Sooner or Later: Age, Pregnancy, and the Reproductive Revolution in Late Twentieth-Century America” [dissertation completed at Yale
University, directed by Professor Naomi Rogers]


Susan Hanket Brandt, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, “Gifted Women and Skilled Practitioners: Gender and Healing Authority in the Delaware Valley, 1740–1830” (Temple University)


Jessica Wilkerson, University of Mississippi, “Where Movements Meet: From the War on Poverty to Grassroots Feminism in the Appalachian South” (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Honorable Mention: Keisha N. Blain, Pennsylvania State University, ”’For the Freedom of the Race’: Black Women and the Practices of Nationalism, 1929–1945″ (Princeton University)


Katherine M. Marino, Ohio State University. “La Vanguardia Feminista: Pan-American Feminism and the Rise of International Women’s Rights, 1915-1946” (Stanford University dissertation)


Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, University of Iowa, “‘Nobody Couldn’t Sell’em but Her’: Slaveowning Women, Mastery, and the Gendered Politics of the Antebellum Slave Market”


Katherine Turk, Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Spring 2012)/University of Texas at Dallas (Fall 2012), “Equality on Trial: Women and Work in the Age of Title VII”


Sarah Haley, Princeton University (Spring 2011) / University of California, Los Angeles (Fall 2011), “Engendering Captivity: Black Women and Convict Labor in Georgia, 1865–1938”


Jessie B. Ramey, University of Pittsburgh, “A Childcare Crisis: Poor Black and White Families in Orphanages in Pittsburgh, 1878–1929”


Jane Alexandra Berger, Cornell University, “When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay: Gender and the Urban Crisis in Baltimore, 1945–1985”


Danielle L. McGuire, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/Wayne State University (fall 2008), “At the Dark End of the Street: Sexualized Violence, Community Mobilization, and the African-American Freedom Struggle”


Serena Mayeri, University of Pennsylvania Law School, “Reasoning from Race: The Civil Rights Paradigm and American Legal Feminism, 1960–1979”


Margot Canaday, Princeton University, “The Straight State: Sexuality and American Citizenship, 1900–1969” (University of Minnesota)


Vasantha Lynn Kennedy, University of Lethbridge, “Partus Sequitur Ventrem: Narratives of Childbirth and Motherhood in the Antebellum South,” (University of Western Ontario)


Jennifer Guglielmo, Smith College, “Negotiating Gender, Race, and Coalition: Italian Women and Working-Class Politics in New York City, 1880–1945”


Rebecca Jo Plant, University of California, San Diego, “The Repeal of Mother Love” (Johns Hopkins University)


Lisa G. Materson, Yale University, “Respectable Partisans: African American Women in Electoral Politics, 1877–1936”


Amy G. Richter, Clark University, “Tracking Public Culture: Women, the Railroad, and the End of the Victorian Public”


Karen J. Leong, Arizona State University, “The China Mystique: Mayling Soong Chiang, Pearl S. Buck and Anna May Wong in the American Imagination”

Carol Williams, Rutgers University, “Framing the West: Race, Gender and the Photographic Frontier’ on the Northwest Coast, 1858–1912”


Catherine Allgor, “Political Parties: Society and Politics in Washington City, 1800–1832”


Marla R. Miller, “My Daily Bread Depends Upon My Labor: Craftswomen, Community, and the Marketplace in Rural Massachusetts, 1740–1820”


Karen Ward Mahar, Texas A & M University—Corpus Christi, “Women, Filmmaking, and the Gendering of the American Film Industry, 1896–1928”

Victoria W. Wolcott, University of Rochester, “Remaking Respectability: African American Women and the Politics of Identity in Inter-sar Detroit”


Barbara Young Welke, University of Oregon, “Gendered Journeys: A History of Injury, Public Transport, and American Law, 1865–1920”


Elizabeth R. Varon, Wellesley College, “‘We Mean to be Counted’: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia”


No award given.


Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, “Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896–1920”


Rickie Solinger, CUNY Graduate Center, “Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race in the Pre-Roe v. Wade Era, 1945–1965”