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State Historical Society of Iowa

State Historical Society of Iowa accepting awards and board nominations

Dec 7, 2020

The State Historical Society of Iowa is accepting nominations for its Excellence in Iowa History Awards and for members to serve on its 12-person board of trustees.

The Excellence in Iowa History Awards recognize individuals, organizations and communities that made outstanding contributions to the study and practice of Iowa history during 2020, as well as outstanding publications, local history initiatives and significant, long-term achievements in Iowa history. Nominations for the Shambaugh Award (for books) are due Jan. 2, 2021, and all other nominations are due Feb. 1, 2021. More information about eligibility, criteria and submission directions can be found at

The list of award categories follows:

William J. Petersen & Edgar R. Harlan Award
The Petersen/Harlan Award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has made significant long-term or continuing contributions to Iowa history. It is named in honor of two legends at the State Historical Society of Iowa, William J. Petersen and Edgar R. Harlan. Petersen, long-time curator of the State Historical Society in Iowa City, was known for his book, "Steamboating on the Mississippi." Harlan served as the second director and curator of the Historical Department of Iowa and played a key role in acquiring many of the museum’s most important collections.

Loren Horton Community History Award
The Loren Horton Award goes to the best project that increases awareness and participation in Iowa history on a local level. The award recognizes an individual, group or organization whose outstanding local history project was completed during the previous calendar year. The award honors Loren Horton, who represented the State Historical Society of Iowa in many capacities from 1973 until his retirement in 1996. As field services coordinator and senior historian, Horton’s work brought him in close contact with many local historical organizations.

George Mills & Louise Noun Award
The Mills/Noun Award recognizes the author of “the most significant article on an Iowa history topic published in a popular history periodical during the previous calendar year.” To be eligible, the article must be an original essay (not less than 1,000 words) about an Iowa history topic published in 2020. The award is named in honor of Iowa reporter and popular historian George Mills and historian of women’s history and philanthropist Louise Noun.

Mildred Throne & Charles Aldrich Award
The Throne/Aldrich Award is given to the author of the most significant article on Iowa history in a professional history journal during the previous calendar year. To be eligible, the article must be written about an Iowa history topic or a subject concerning the nation and the Midwest with an Iowa focus. Some examples include regional and local studies of political, economic, social, cultural, ethnic, institutional, archaeological and architectural history. The award 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.

Benjamin F. Shambaugh Award
The Shambaugh 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, the superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa for 40 years and professor of political economy at the University of Iowa. Shambaugh is known as one of the founders of the "new social science" at the turn of the 20th century.

Board Nominations are due March 1, 2021

The State Historical Society of Iowa is accepting nominations for members to serve on its board of trustees. Nominations can be submitted by any person, but nominees must be members of the State Historical Society of Iowa, willing to attend five meetings per year and serve on various committees.

To submit a nomination or receive more information, contact Jessica Rundlett at State Historical Society of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50319, 515-281-7471 or Nominations should be accompanied by a brief biography of the nominee – 250 words maximum, written in narrative form. Nominations must be received in the State Historical Society of Iowa office or postmarked by March 1, 2021. Nominees will be slated on a ballot, and the State Historical Society membership will elect one trustee member in spring 2021 to serve a three-year term that begins July 1, 2021.

Iowans and others interested in becoming a member can join at or download a membership form and send it to: State Historical Society of Iowa, Memberships, 600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. For more information about membership, email

Members not only have an opportunity to vote on board of trustee nominations, they also help the State Historical Society of Iowa preserve and provide access to Iowa history through its museum, libraries, archives, publications, historic sites and numerous programs and activities.

The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit or call 515-281-5111.

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.