The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced the state's highest awards for history today, including a lifetime achievement award for Michael Gibson, director of the Loras College Center of Dubuque History.
The Excellence in History Awards are overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees and recognize individuals, organizations and communities who have made outstanding contributions to the study and practice of Iowa history. The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
"This year's award recipients have devoted endless hours of their time and resources to ensure our state's history continues to be preserved and shared with Iowans today and for generations to come," said Tova Brandt of Elk Horn, chair of the State Historical Society of Iowa's Board of Trustees. "I encourage all Iowans to join me in congratulating them on this remarkable recognition."
Gibson received the William J. Petersen and Edgar R. Harlan Lifetime Achievement Award. He has served as the director of the Loras College Center of Dubuque History from 1983 through 2020. During his 37 year career, he built the center into a vital repository of Dubuque and Loras College history. In presenting the award, the trustees cited Gibson for his "determination, strong measure of persistence and commitment to developing personal contacts that earned him well-deserved trust and made him the 'go-to guy' for local history questions."
The lifetime achievement award is presented in honor of Petersen, a long-time curator of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and Harlan, who served as the second director and curator of the Historical Department of Iowa. Both played key roles in acquiring many of the historical society's most important collections of artifacts.
A list of other award recipients recognized today follows:
Dorothy Schwieder Excellence in Research Award
New this year, the award honors Dorothy Schwieder (1933-2014) as a groundbreaking historian, biographer and academic who became the first woman appointed as a professor in Iowa State University's Department of History, in 1966. During her influential career, she authored or edited dozens of books, scholarly articles and encyclopedia entries. She retired in 2001 and was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2012.
Award Recipient: Joe L. Anderson of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Project: "Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America"
Excellence in Archaeology and Historic Preservation Award
New this year, the award recognizes the best archaeology or historic preservation project at the local or state level. To be eligible, the archaeology or preservation work must have been completed during the previous calendar year. All types of preservation work are eligible, including but not limited to historic buildings.
Award Recipient/Owner: Iowa City Community School District
Award Recipient/Architect: Rohrbach Associates of Iowa City, Iowa, and BCDM Architects of Omaha, Nebraska
Project: Horace Mann Elementary School
Certificate of Merit/Owner: State of Iowa Capitol Complex
Certificate of Merit/Architect: OPN Architects of Des Moines, Iowa
Project: State Capitol Dome Restoration
Loren Horton Community History Award
This award recognizes an individual, group, or organization whose outstanding local history project was completed during the previous calendar year. The award is named in honor of Loren Horton, who represented the State Historical Society of Iowa in many capacities from 1973 until his retirement in 1996.
Award Recipient: Mary Beth Costello and Beverly Dashner both of Malvern, Iowa
Project: Malvern, Iowa, at One Fifty
Certificate of Recognition: Steven Collins of Fort Myers, Florida, and Iris Hemmingson, Wayne Marty, Linda Mayrose, Mary Reynolds and Richard Ziettlow, all of Le Mars, Iowa.
Project: "Le Mars, Iowa – A Pictorial History, 1869-2019"
George Mills & Louise Noun Popular History Award
This award recognizes the author of the most significant popular history article on an Iowa history topic published during the previous calendar year. It is named in honor of Iowa reporter and popular historian George Mills and historian of women’s history and philanthropist Louise Noun.
Award Recipient: Jerry Harrington of Iowa City, Iowa
Article: "Carrie Chapman Catt: Special Series Examines Groundbreaking Work of Women’s Suffrage Leader"
Publication: Iowa History Journal – March-August 2019
Honorable Mention: Michael Swanger of West Des Moines, Iowa
Article: "Not Fade Away: Legends of the 1959 Winter Dance Party Rave On"
Publication: Iowa History Journal – January/February 2019
Honorable Mention: Shelbi Thomas of Iowa City, Iowa
Article: "The Real Nancy Drew"
Publication: Iowa Magazine – Fall 2019
Mildred Throne & Charles Aldrich Academic History Award
This annual award recognizes the author of the most significant article on Iowa history in a professional history journal during the previous calendar year. It is named in honor of Mildred Throne, longtime editor of the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, and Charles Aldrich, who founded the third series of the Annals of Iowa.
Award Recipient: Anna Thompson Hajdik of Madison, Wisconsin
Article: "The Surf Ballroom: Rock & Roll, 1950s Nostalgia, and Cultural Memory in Clear Lake"
Publication: Annals of Iowa – Spring 2019
Honorable Mention: Pamela Riney-Kehrberg of Ames, Iowa
Article: "A Special and Terrible Irony: Hunger on Iowa's Farms during the Agricultural Crisis of the 1980s"
Publication: Annals of Iowa – Fall 2019
Benjamin F. Shambaugh Published Book Award
This annual award recognizes the author of the most significant book published about Iowa history during the previous calendar year. It is named in honor of Benjamin F. Shambaugh, who for 40 years was the superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa and a professor of political economy at the University of Iowa.
Award Recipient: Linda M. Clemmons of Bloomington, Illinois
Book: "Dakota in Exile: The Untold Stories of Captives in the Aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War"
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Certificate of Recognition: Brian W. Beltman of Rock Hill, South Carolina
Book: "Dutch Transplanters on the Grasslands and the Fruits of Chain Migration"
Publisher: Independently published
Certificate of Recognition: Willard L. “Sandy” Boyd of Iowa City
Book: "A Life on the Middle West’s Never-Ending Frontier"
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
More information about the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is available at iowaculture.gov.
The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations. iowaculture.gov.