The Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s prizes. We are only sorry that we could not honor them in person at the SHGAPE luncheon at the OAH this year. Congratulations to all our winners!
SHGAPE President’s Book Prize
For the best book published in the previous two years treating any aspect of United States history in the period 1865-1920s. It must be the author’s second or subsequent scholarly book. The prize is given in honor of the past presidents of SHGAPE.
The winner of the President’s Book Prize this year is Andrew Huebner for Love and Death in the Great War. Oxford University Press (2018).
Andrew Huebner’s book, Love and Death in the Great War, shines as exemplary social history. Weaving gender and history into a narrative of wartime, the author recasts World War I in a significant way. Huebner demonstrates that family, gender, and emotion were central to soldiers’ understanding of the war. He illuminates major themes of the Gilded Age Progressive Era, including equality and lack thereof, mobility, and the relationships between individuals and the state. The book is beautifully written and deeply researched, using myriad archives and looking carefully at epistolary sources as a foundation of exploring the past.
The Fishel-Calhoun Prize
For the best article written by an emerging scholar and published in the previous two years that deals with any aspect of United States history between 1865 and 1917.
The winner of the Fishel-Calhoun Prize this year is Caroline Grego for “Black Autonomy, Red Cross Recovery, and White Backlash after the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893,” Journal of Southern History 85:4 (November 2019): 803-40.
Grego retells the story of the response to the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 as a three-cornered struggle in which lowcountry African Americans, the Red Cross, and white planter-politicians aimed to use the storm to achieve disparate ends. She particularly captures the complex relationship between the struggle and the remaking of the region’s environment to disrupt a simple narrative of black dispossession and South Carolina white supremacy to insert ambiguity, possibilities for autonomy, and new ways of understanding the long-lasting struggles over space and rights. This article therefore not only brings together our social and political histories of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, but also contributes environmental and economic history.
JGAPE Best Article Prize
For the best article published in The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era during the previous two years.
The winner of this year’s JGAPE Best Article Prize is Alana Toulin for “‘Old Methods Not Up to New Ways’: The Strategic Use of Advertising in the Fight for Pure Food After 1906,” which appeared in October 2019.
Toulin’s article convincingly challenges the traditional interpretation of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act as a victory for consumer protection and a watershed moment for progressive reform by examining how large American food manufacturers used advertising and outreach to sway public opinion and co-opt reform efforts by depicting themselves as an integral part of the pure food movement. Revising the linear narratives of federal food policy traditionally focused on politics and institutions, Toulin traces a far more nuanced and complex history of the uncertainties regarding the Pure Food and Drug Act’s implementation as well as the persistent cultural uncertainties surrounding the categories of purity and adulteration (many of which endure today). In this deeply researched article, Toulin skillfully weaves together an impressive array of primary sources including food advertisements, cookbooks, and trade journals alongside the archival records of the N. W. Ayer & Son Advertising Agency and the National Consumers’ League, as well as the papers of Harvey Wiley. The article also engages with a broad range of scholarly works on progressive political reform, corporate liberalism, dietary reform, home economics, gender and domesticity, advertising, and consumer culture. Toulin’s methodological range is also impressive: she moves easily between policy history, gender analysis of consumer culture, and close readings of food advertisements. The committee agreed that reading Toulin’s article has changed the way they will teach the Pure Food and Drug Act in their undergraduate lectures on the Progressive Era.
We have also awarded an Honorable Mention to Robert D. Bland for his article “A Grim Memorial of Its Thorough Work of Devastation and Desolation: Race and Memory in the Aftermath of the 1893 Sea Island Storm,” which appeared in April 2018. Bland’s article uses the 1893 Sea Islands Hurricane as a lens into local and state politics between Reconstruction and Jim Crow. This article integrates disaster history and political history in a new way by shifting attention from the federal level to the state and local level, weaving together histories of Black community formation, South Carolina Democratic Party politics, the ideology of white supremacy, and local Red Cross relief efforts into an analysis of how the hurricane relief effort became the site of political struggle over the legacy of Reconstruction and the meaning of Black citizenship. Thoroughly researched and elegantly written, Bland’s article engaged with a rich body of primary and secondary sources and offers a model for integrating the burgeoning subfield of disaster history into the history of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
Graduate Student Essay Prize
For the best essay of journal article length written by a graduate student on a Gilded Age and/or Progressive Era topic.
The winner of the Graduate Student Essay prize is Mark C. Boxell, PhD Candidate in History, University of Oklahoma for his paper “Carbon Allotment: Land, Race, and Oil in Indian Territory and Oklahoma.” Stitching together insights from scholars of racial formation with work on energy, environment, and state policy, the essay traces how “contests over cultural and legal belonging became wrapped up in both the economics and the spectacle of petroleum extraction” in Indian Territory during the early twentieth century. Boxell makes his case through solid research and oft-lively story telling. It was not simply that the oil boom distorted Progressive-Era calls for good government or furthered the project of racial capitalism; more fundamentally, Boxell argues, “oil commanded the power to reshape democracy by further complicating who was considered to be white, black, or indigenous in the Progressive Era.”
Receive a year's subscription to our quarterly SHGAPE journal.