Publication Date

February 1, 1996

Editor's Note: The following text provides details about those who received AHA honors and awards during the Association’s general meeting, which took place on January 5, 1996, during the AHA annual meeting in Atlanta.

1995 Award for Scholarly Distinction

In 1984 the Council of the AHA established an award entitled the American Historical Association Award for ScholarlyDistinction. Each year a nominating jury composed of three former presidents recommends to the Council up to three names for the award, and the Council then selects up to three names from the list presented. Nominees are senior historians of the highest distinction in the historical profession who have spent the bulk of their professional careers in the United States. Previous awards have gone to Nettie Lee Benson, Woodrow Borah, Angie Debo, Helen G. Edmonds, Felix Gilbert, John W. Hall, Margaret Atwood Judson, George F. Kennan, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Gerhart B. Ladner, Gerda Lerner, Edmund Morgan, H. Leon Prather, Sr., Benjamin Quarles, Edwin O. Reischauer, Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Caroline Robbins, Carl E. Schorske, Kenneth M. Setton, Kenneth M. Stampp, Chester E. Starr, Sylvia L. Thrupp Strayer, Merze Tate, Emma Lou Thornbrough, Brian Tierney, and George R. Woolfolk. Joining this distinguished list is Lawrence Stone of Princeton University. The following citation was read by AHA President-elect Caroline Walker Bynum at the general meeting of the Association on January 5:

"Lawrence Stone, professor emeritus at Princeton University, is a distinguished historian of Tudor Stuart England, a pioneer in social and comparative history, and the longtime head of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies and chair of the department of history at Princeton University. Professor Stone was born in England, where he received a strict classical education at a public school. After spending five years in the Royal Navy during World War II, he began his long and distinguished career. He joined the editorial board of the important journal Past andPresent, then newly launched, in 1963 As director of the Davis Center, he expanded his area of study to education and literacy; the causes of the English Revolution, with comparative and theoretical excursions; the family, sex, and marriage; and most recently, social mobility in England. His publications include Crisis of the Aristocracy: An Open Elite? In 1979 his article ‘The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on New Old History: published in Past and Present, opened a debate about the future of social history. His skills as a reviewer have been displayed time and again to scholarly readers in the professional journals and to a broader audience in the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement. As a researcher, as an exponent of social history, as an editor, and as a public intellectual, Lawrence Stone has been a sterling exemplar for the historical profession. We are honored to present him with the 1995 Award for Scholarly Distinction.”

Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award

While the AHA has traditionally recognizedoutstanding scholarship, for over a hundred years there was no prize honoring teaching. In 1986 the AHA’s Teaching Division recommended and the Council approved the establishment of an annual award to recognize both excellence in teaching and knowledge of the subject of history. The award is given jointly by the AHA and the Society for History Education (SHE) and is named for the late Eugene Asher, former executive secretary of SHE and for decades a central figure in efforts to improve the quality of history teaching. The Teaching Division oversees the selection of the recipient of the award. Individuals are invited to nominate one of their teachers, who by inspirational influence and excellence, encouraged them to study history. Eligible for consideration are school, undergraduate, and graduate instructors.

Ron Briley of Sandia Preparatory School and James P. Shenton of Columbia University were awarded the 1995 Asher Award at the AHA’s general meeting in Atlanta. Ron Briley was nominated by Thomas E. Baumgartel of Sandia Preparatory School. President-elect Bynum read portions of his nomination letter at the presentation ceremony.

"The true test of a teacher's mettle is the transmitted love of knowledge. Ron's students learn to love to learn. Whether it's because he makes an event come to life in a lecture, or because he includes them in the community of scholars as he works alongside them on research papers, or because he takes the time to work individually with them, Ron's students wake up to history. Many come away with the passion to study since they see so clearly in him the rewards of the life of the mind. And many go on to major colleges and universities where they have such a superb foundation in scholarship that they immediately feel at home doing advanced research in the humanities. I believe it is his bridging between the collegiate and secondary school worlds, the publications and professional activity in conjunction with the five-days-a-week, four-periods-a-day teaching that Ron has so wholeheartedly dedicated his life to, that has made him the teacher nonpareil that he is."

James Shenton was nominated by Roy Rosenzweig of George Mason University. Bynum read: "Dr. Shenton is far more than a colorful and lively lecturer. 'If a single quality defines his success,' comments one former student, 'it is his ability to communicate his immense enthusiasm about the past in a way that genuinely inspires and awakens his students.' Dr. Shenton's passionate commitment not just to history but even more to teaching and to his students first made me want to become a college teacher. When I wrote my personal statement on my graduate history applications a few years later, it was Shenton’s powerful example to which I pointed in explaining my desire to become a historian. I suspect that Shenton himself does not know how many Columbia students he similarly sparked to take up the study of history. Many of them are people who first set out to do something quite different. One former student recalled, ‘Having thrown open the doors of the past, and shown me the joys of exploring it, he proceeded to suggest that I, a miserable premed, had the talent to actually do this fun stuff for a living, for which I am endlessly grateful.’ James Shenton had, and continues to have, a literally boundless dedication to his students.”

William Gilbert Award

Named in memory of William Gilbert, a longtime AHA member and distinguished scholar-teacher at the University of Kansas, this biennial award recognizes outstanding contributions to the teaching of history through the publication of journal and serial articles. Eligible for consideration are articles written by members of the AHA and published in the United States during the previoustwo years. Journals, magazines, and other serials that publish works on the teaching of history, including methodology and theory of pedagogy, are also eligible to submit nominations. The AHA’s Teaching Division serves as the selection committee. President-elect Bynum announced the recipients of the first Gilbert Award, Nora Faires of the University of Michigan at Flint and John Bukowczyk of Wayne State University for “The American Family and the Little Red Schoolhouse: Historians, Class, and the Problem of Cultural Diversity,” published in volume 19 of Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies.

"Nora Faires and John Bukowczyk skillfully blend contemporary theoretical discussions of the public roles of scholars, teachers, and historians with particularized pedagogical applications in two Michigan projects: 'The Families of the City' and 'Urban Interiors' based in the city of Detroit. By creatively synthesizing the topics of family, diversity, and community within the context of class and exploring personal realities in the public, political, and educational arenas, the article provides a model for the role of theory in transformational educational practice and public policy."

John O'Connor Film Award

In recognition of his exceptional role as a pioneer in both teaching and research regarding film and history, the American Historical Association established this award in honor of John E. O'Connor of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The award seeks to recognize outstanding interpretations of history through the medium of film or video. Essential elements are stimulation of thought, imaginative use of the media, effective presentation of information and ideas, sensitivity to modern scholarship, and accuracy. The production should encourage viewers to ask questions about historical interpretations as well as make a contribution to the understanding of history.

The O'Connor Award was presented to the documentary FDR, written and produced by David Grubin of David Grubin Productions, Inc., for The American Experience, 1995. President-elect Bynum read the committee’s citation:

"This documentary-for-broadcast make: subtle use of a wide range of visual rhetoric combining often cleverly enhanced archival images with evocative present-day foot age to capture a sense of time and place. At the same time, major Roosevelt scholars are marshaled to offer new answers to both old and new questions. Particularly, this is so in placing the public and private lives of Eleanor Roosevelt in the presidential setting, thereby giving her a major place in American politics. Figures in FDR's ‘supporting cast,’ such as Harry Hopkins, are given an uncommonly insightful depth. The result is a work rich in complexity and nuance, yet accessible to a wide audience.”

Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award

In recognition of Nancy Lyman Roelker's role as a teacher,scholar, and committee member of the historical profession, and on the occasion of her 75th birthday, friends, colleagues, and former students established the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. The annual award recognizes and encourages a special quality exemplified by Professor Roelker through the human component in her teaching of history.

Mentoring should encompass not only a belief in the value of the study of history but also a commitment to and a love of teaching it to students regardless of age or career goals. Advising is an essential component, but mentoring also combines a consistent personal commitment by the mentor to the student as a person. Offering a human alternative, frequently in quiet and unacknowledged ways, mentors like Professor Roelker believe that the essence of history lies in its human scope. With this award, the American Historical Association attests to the special role of mentors to the future of the historical profession.

The award is offered on a three-year cycle to avoid competition among different levels of faculty mentorship. Nominations for the 1995 prize were for the graduate level. President-elect Bynum read the following citations:

"The fourth Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award honors two outstanding graduate mentors, Joan Wallach Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study and Reginald E. Zelnik of the University of California at Berkeley. The outpouring of support for these two individuals was breathtaking and inspiring. No less extraordinary were the letters written on behalf of the 43 other nominees who have left indelible marks on individuals and their work. Dr. Scott and Dr. Zelnik represent the contributions of many in the profession whose powerful, elusive, and infinite gift to their students has been the act of mentorship. These citations incorporate the words of individuals writing on their behalf.

"As an intellectual mentor, she [Joan Wallach Scott] has had (and continues to have) a tremendous impact on my teaching and scholarship, and indeed has been an inspiring example of how those two activities enrich and inform each other. Joan Scott is a brilliant classroom teacher. For me, her lectures and discussion sections were characterized not only by intellectual rigor and clarity, but also by her ability to draw students into the subject, to show us why we should care about the past. Perhaps her greatest strength was in helping me and other students to find our own intellectual paths. She never drew a blueprint but always asked the hard questions and helped me to find my own answers. Because of her example, I am constantly challenged as a teacher to help students sharpen their own insights rather than impose my own.

"Joan Scott's mentoring comes from both her willingness to write the necessary recommendations, comment on research, and discuss and evaluate options and strategies and from showing all of us who have become academics after her, explicitly and implicitly, how to promote our individual and collective goals …. Dr. Scott has played a central role in the intellectual and structural changes of the past two decades within the academy.

"Professor Scott … demonstrated to me a rare ability of combining the drive for professional excellence with a more human and caring approach. While always encouraging me to get on with the work on my manuscript, she never undermined my confidence nor ignored the pressures that I was under … She has, for example, never hesitated to acknowledge in print the work of junior and less established scholars in fact, she has often made a special point of encouraging and giving exposure to such work … For, more than most, she has truly used her position to help the work of junior scholars. I can say this as one who has greatly benefited from such generosity.

"When I do my own work (now on the politics of kinship in late 18th-century novels by British women), I continue to remind myself of her perspective. Joan taught me how to make my mind move-how to ask questions that complicated ideas and inspired a sophisticated analysis. When I sit down with my book before my computer, I still listen to her voice.

"For your devotion to history, to your students, and to your corporate enterprise, the Association is honored to confer on you this fourth Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award.

"Perhaps his [Reginald E. Zelnik's] greatest gift is to allow his students and adoptees to reciprocate in the intellectual and professional exchange. He manages, in a magical fashion that avoids both familiarity and undue reserve, to make the transition from teacher to colleague, on his side, and from student to colleague on yours. Without relinquishing the responsibilities of seniority, he makes you understand what you both share. Having learned from him, we became his friends but never his disciples.

"Reggie is an inspiring teacher and scholar … I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have worked with him; I feel as if my life has been graced because of Reggie's presence in it. I am a much better scholar, teacher, and person because of what I have learned from him about teaching and history as a discipline. The incidents that for me best capture Reggie's gifts as a teacher and mentor are, characteristically, understated. What is most remarkable about him is his respect for the small human details, in work and in life.

"Reggie never tried to persuade me to stay in graduate school when I was a demoralized and utterly bewildered first-year student, he just taught me how to read documents, hunt for evidence, and frame arguments …. Reggie's regard for his students as individuals made it possible for each of us to figure out what we were each uniquely able to say.

'Reggie taught me how to be a professional in the best sense of the term, how to carry myself in public, how to put my knowledge and talents to constructive use, how to keep in mind the contributions of colleagues, and to treat other people's ideas with respect even when I disagreed with them. He taught me through his own example that no degree of individual achievement could or should ever alter the fact that we form a part of a collective enterprise. The roster of his former graduate students includes some of the most accomplished and respected young scholars in our field. Reggie's interest in and support of his students does not end with the diploma. I dare say that the pilgrimages made to Reggie's house by Berkeley expatriates number into the hundreds.'

"For the changes you have made in so many individuals' lives and work, the American Historical Association is honored to confer on you the fourth Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award."

Honorary Foreign Member

At its second annual meeting in Saratoga in 1885, the AHA's newly appointed Committee on Nominations for Honorary Membership introduced a resolution, which was adopted, that appointed Leopold von Ranke as the first honorary foreign member. In the intervening 110 years, only 79 individuals have been so honored. Previously awarded biennially, honorary membership is now given annually to a foreign scholar who is distinguished in his or her field and who has "notably aided the work of American historians." President-elect Bynum announced the addition of Halil Inalick, professor of history at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, to the list of21livinghonorary members.

"In the estimation of almost all of those who work in Ottoman and Turkish history, Halil Inalcik is without peer among historians in the field, and possibly is the most distinguished ever among Turkish historians. He has developed a facility for research in the rich Ottoman archives in Istanbul, and in some provincial archives also, that grounds his works in documents of the time. In addition to the quantity and quality of his work, Inalcik is remarkable among historians for his coverage of a wide range of centuries, beyond the capacity of any other historian in the area.

"One measure of Dr. Inalcik's value to the profession is the frequency with which scholars in other countries seek him out, and find him helpful. Balkan universities have given him honorary degrees. Western European and American scholars have a similar regard for him, in part because in the later part of his life he has done so much in English. In the last 20 years or so a large part of his writing has been in English, making it more accessible to Americans and others who know Turkish imperfectly, or not at all. Dr. Inalcik’s helpfulness to American historians in his country has taken many forms. He has always been welcoming to those seeking advice. During the 30 years when he was a member of the faculty at Ankara University, he was often sought out by Americans. Sometimes he also sought them out, to pass on some information, or even to escort them to cultural events with running historical commentary along the way. Halil Inalcik's contributions to historical knowledge have set the standard to which others aspire,"

1995 Book Awards

The following prizes were announced at the AHA annual meeting in Allan ta for the year 1995. The committee's citations are recorded below.

Herbert Baxter Adams Prize

James H. Johnson, Boston University, for Listening in Paris: A Cultural History, University of California Press (1995). Listening in Paris is a carefully constructed, well-written narrative of how and why the collective habits and behavior of French concert audiences changed between 1750 and 1850. The story of the triumph of Beethoven, who demanded and got rapt attention and even reverence in place of noise and social flutter, is broadly documented, and Johnson’s social, cultural, and historical concerns extend well beyond the concert hall.

George Louis Beer Prize

Mary Nolan, New York University, for Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany, Oxford University Press (1994). This well-written and cogently argued monograph provides a brilliant analysis of Weimar Germany’s debate on America and Americanism, how much of the latter to import, and how this affected Germany’s adaptation to modernity. Based upon thorough exploitation of German archival materials, Visions of Modernity expands the conception of traditional international history, While maintaining its focus on the penetration of American ideas into Germany, the book also engages with important themes of modern social history, while simultaneously operating at the interface of economic and cultural history. It is a substantial reconsideration of Weimar history from a fresh perspective.

Albert J. Beveridge Award

Ann Douglas, Columbia University, for Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan inthe 1920s, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, Inc. (1995). Terrible Honesty assembles a vivid cast of creative figures in order to shake up our understanding of the emergence of modem, mass culture. As she brings the polyglot society of 1920s New York City to life, Ann Douglas boldly declares American exceptionalism, incisively depicts African American cultural emancipation, and imaginatively recasts the modernist rejection of Victorianism.

Stephen Innes, University of Virginia, for Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture ef Puritan New England, W.W. Norton & Co. (1995). This study of Puritan economic culture offers a powerful rereading of Max Weber’s ideas in the context of the “civic ecology” of Massachusetts Bay. Lucidly examining New Englanders’ creation of a distinctive “moral capitalism,” Stephen Innes explores the Puritan dilemma: how to draw the line between industrious enterprise and unchecked acquisitiveness.

James Henry Breasted Prize

Bruce D. Smith, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, for Rivers of Change: Essays on Early Agriculture in Eastern North America, Smithsonian Institution Press (1992). Bruce Smith has firmly established eastern North America as a fourth independent, localized center of plant domestication alongside the Near East, north China, and Mesoamerica. Domestication of squash, sunflowers, chenopods, and sumpweed began as early as the second millennium B.C. Food production economies emerged between seven and twelve centuries later, predating the ultimate shift to a single nonindigenous species (maize), which was not complete until between A.D. 800 and 1100. This valuable contribution significantly alters the contours of world history and the place of North America within it.

John H. Dunning Prize

Daniel Vickers, Memorial University of Newfoundland, for Farmers and Fishermen: Two Centuries of Work in Essex County, Massachusetts, 1630-1850, published by the University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, burg, Virginia (1994). This gracefully written book effectively engages some of the most significant interpretive issues in early American history. By carefully and imaginatively reconstructing the working lives of farmers and fishermen over two centuries in a Massachusetts county, Daniel Vickers reveals the distinctive labor strategies required to develop New England’s economy.

John K. Fairbank Prize

Karen Wigen, Duke University, for The Making of Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920, University of California Press (1995). Karen Wigen’s book is a meticulously researched work that combines the analytical tools of geography, political economy, and local history to produce an imaginative and compelling study that provides new insights on the transformation of Japan. With great clarity the author maps the geography of Japan’s early industrialization, demonstrating how changes in the world economy interacted with the dynamics of central and local politics to restructure relations among Japan’s regions, thereby creating new economic centers and turning other areas into peripheries.

Herbert Feis Award

Mark V. Wetherington, The Filson Club Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky, for The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860-1910, University of Tennessee Press (1994). Mark Wetherington’s book is a wonderfully textured history of the Wiregrass country’s socioeconomic and cultural transformation as it was incorporated into circuits of world trade in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The book is based on a variety of primary sources, but the author makes especially good use of newspapers to illuminate the often unsettling ways in which the people of a formerly ignored area of south-central Georgia experienced the New South. Wetherington writes lucidly and develops his arguments carefully and cogently. His book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of southern history, and it illustrates the value of regional studies of larger national phenomena.

Morris D. Forkosch Prize

P.J. Cain, University of Birmingham, and A.G. Hopkins, University of Geneva, for British Imperialism, 2 vols., Longman (1993). This is an exceptionally ambitious and important book. Its argument for the centrality of finance capitalism to the projection of British power harkens back to classical theories of imperialism, and yet it exercises an analytical rigor and attention to the empirical record that greatly enlarges our understanding of the dynamics of British expansion. Among the many noteworthy features of this study are its panoramic sweep through three centuries and across various continents, its skillful integration of methods and insights from economic and social historiography, and its determination to restore the connection between imperial and domestic British history.

Leo Gershoy Award

J Russell Major, Emory University, for From Renaissance Monarchy to AbsoluteMonarchy: French Kings, Nobles, and Estates, Johns Hopkins University Press (1994). For over four decades the leading American historian of the political institutions of early modem France, J. Russell Major has had a satisfaction few of us will experience, that of seeing his research transform the way his fellow historians conceptualize his field. It is thanks to Russell Major’s work that we now realize that the absolute monarchy arose in France not in conflict, but in collaboration with the nobility. From Renaissance Monarchy to Absolute Monarchy expertly synthesizes not only his own findings, but also the most recent work in the field. Sweeping in scope, measured in tone, and generous in praise of others, it is a fitting capstone to an exemplary historical career.

J. Franklin Jameson Prize

Richard A. Ryerson, Joanna M. Revelas, Celeste Walker, Gregg L. Lint, andHumphrey Costello,Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, for Adams Family Correspondence, vols. 5 and 6, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1993). Volumes 5 and 6 of the Adams Family Correspondence stand out among many excellent documentary editions published in the past five years for impeccable textual editing, importance of selected documents, intelligent annotation, and elegant design. The Adams Papers exemplify the best in historical editing by presenting documents of wide interest in a format that scholars and general readers can depend upon for accuracy and enjoyment

Joan Kelly Memorial Prize

Mary Lowenthal Felstiner, San Francisco State University, for To Paint Her Life: Charlotte Salomon in the Nazi Era, Harper Collins (1994). Mary Felstiner’s To Paint Her Life is a rare and memorable book. Felstiner did research on three continents, and spent countless hours talking with aging Holocaust survivors. Her narrative voice is humble, compelling, inimitable. This is a work of deep scholarship and high literary merit, powered by an embracing humanity.

Littleton-Griswold Prize

Morton Keller, Brandeis University, for Regulating a New Society: Public Policy and Social Change in America, 1900- 1933, Harvard University Press (1994). Morton Keller has long been one of the most distinguished and versatile historians of the Progressive era. He has ranged widely across politics, law, and the economy in his study of how Americans and their government responded to the emergence of modern society. His most recent book, Regulating a New Society, is a masterly account of the Progressive struggle to restore social cohesion amid the complexity of economy and society. With characteristic originality and insight, Keller traces how social policies of order and organization foundered on the individualism of the past and the pluralism of the present, leaving a legacy of social issues that continue to command our attention.

Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize

Margaret L. King, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, for The Death of the Child Valerio Marcello, University of Chicago Press (1994). Margaret King’s micro-historical account of the death of an eight-year-old child in 1460 elegantly and poignantly tells the story of a father’s state of despair and, as such, reveals much about the emotional texture of life in a palace on the Grand Canal. Yet it also explores the Renaissance genre of consolation literature, the nature of patronage in 15th-century Venice, and shifts in attitudes toward death. King dramatically sets her novel examination of funerary rhetorics and humanist conventions against the backdrop of Venetian military activities during expansion into the Terraferma.

Wesley-Logan Prize

Aline Helg, University of Texas at Austin, for Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912, University North Carolina Press (1995). Aline Helg’s account of the participation of Afro-Cubans in the building of Cuba and their struggle for equality is an outstanding and original work. Based on thorough research, the author’s thesis is cogently argued and presented in a clear and lively written narrative.

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