April 20, 2021
The Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era is pleased to announce our book and essay prize winners for 2021. Congratulations to all our winners!
The Vincent P. DeSantis Book Prize
This year’s recipient of the Vincent P. DeSantis prize for best first book published on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era is Vincent DiGirolamo for Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys (Oxford University Press, 2019). Crying the News has many virtues: it manages to be a labor history and a history of capitalism, a history of childhood, an urban history, and a cultural history of the news industry all in one. It sensitively brings to light the experiences, struggles, and influence of a massive group of child laborers who walked the streets of our cities and towns, often unseen if rarely unheard, for more than a century. While its chronological range is substantial– from the 1830s to the 1940s– the Gilded Age and Progressive Era figures centrally in the book’s analysis. It is clearly and beautifully written, based in very impressive research, and manages to tell a coherent and powerful story while always maintaining awareness of broader culture context.
Honorable Mention goes to Joshua Specht for Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America (Princeton University Press, 2019). The ambitious scope of this book, from West to East, range to city, and, as the subtitle proclaims, hoof to table, powerfully shows how the story of beef is woven through our national narrative. It is lucidly written, and always empathetic to its human and bovine subjects alike.
The H. Wayne Morgan Book Prize
The inaugural winner of the H. Wayne Morgan prize for best book on the political history of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era is Charlie Laderman for Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention, and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order (Oxford University Press, 2019). Focusing on the international politics of humanitarian intervention in the Ottoman Empire, Laderman covers British and American attempts to help the Armenians from the late nineteenth century through the first two decades of the twentieth. He devotes considerable attention to the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. He provides new insights into the promise and failure of the League of Nations and its mandate system to create a new world order after World War I. He includes missionaries and merchants as well as political leaders in the story. In sum, this is an important book about the politics and foreign relations of the United States during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
Honorable Mention goes to Charles Postel for Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019). This outstanding book on the Gilded Age covers a range of subjects from farmers and workers to race and gender, which involved the struggle for equality in an era of inequality.
The Graduate Student Essay Prize
This year’s winner of the Graduate Student Essay Prize is Nathan K. Finney (Duke University) for “The Associational State and Woman’s War Work in North Carolina, 1917-1919.” Finney’s look at North Carolina women’s work during World War I, primarily through the North Carolina Woman’s Committee, captured the dynamic roles women played not merely in wartime mobilization but, more broadly, as historical agents and political actors operating in the space between government and civil society. Finney’s submission was expertly conceived, artfully written, and extensively researched.
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