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In recognition of Martin Ridge's long service to both the Western History Association and The Huntington Library, this $3500, one-month research fellowship at The Huntington Library has been established in his honor. Funds are allotted as follows: $500 from the WHA and $3000 from The Huntington Library. Recipients of the fellowship are expected to be in continuous residence at The Huntington Library for one month. Eligible applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent or be a doctoral student at the dissertation stage. The fellowship will be in residence during the next academic year (the 2024 fellowship recipient will schedule their residence with The Huntington Library Director of Research during the 2025-2026 academic calendar). 

The committee will accept a variety of topics in western history, but applicants are encouraged to submit projects that consider how they will use specific materials and collections from The Huntington Library's holdings.

Applicants should send each member of the award committee *one* file attachment. The file name must include the applicant's last name and must include a CV and a 2-3 page proposal with the following:

  1. A description of their project
  2. A discussion on the specific materials they plan to consult at The Huntington Library
  3. Progress to date on the project. 

-2024 Awards Cycle opens January 15, 2024

-2024 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: June 15, 2024

The WHA office sends notifications to selected award recipients at the end of August. 


Michelle Nickerson, Chair

Loyola University Chicago

Li Wei Yang

The Huntington Library

Daniel Lynch

Marlborough School



2023 | Kai Werner, “A Thousand Approaches to the Kingdom of New Mexico: Contesting Geographies in the Greater Southwest”

2022 | Brian Wright, Princeton University, "Conquest on Paper: Archives and the American West"

2021 | Nicole Rae Batten, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "Beyond Monuments: The Built Environment of Las Vegas and Los Angeles in the Twentieth Century"

2020 | Naomi Sussman, Yale University, "Between the River and the Sea: Cahuilla and CupeƱo History in California's Long Nineteenth Century"

2019 Yvette Saavedra, University of Oregon, "Living La Mala Vida: Transgressive Femininities, Morality, and Nationalism in Mexican California, 1810-1850"

2018 | William J. Cowan, University of Southern California, "The Pacific Slope Superstorms of 1861-1862"

2017 | Mette Flynt, University of Oklahoma, "Reborn on Skis: Winter Recreation and the Transformation of the Wasatch Front, 1915-2002"

2016 | Justin Gage, University of Arkansas

2015 | Jeannette Alden Estruth, New York University

2014 | Lawrence H. Kessler, Temple University

2013 | Daniel Lynch, University of California, Los Angeles

2012 | Sarah Seekatz, University of California, Riverside, "Blind Date: The Cultivation of an Arabian Fantasy in the Deserts of Southern California"

2011 | Amy Jin Johnson, Brown University

2010 | Juliette Maiorana, University of California, San Diego, "Mixed American Families: Mining Monopolies, U.S. Engineers, y Mexicanas en la Frontera, 1890-1965"

2009 | Elaine Marie Nelson, University of New Mexico

2008 | Brian Frehner, Oklahoma State University

2007 | Benjamin L. Madley, Yale University, "American Genocide: The Northern California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873"

2006 | Kevin Leonard, Western Washington University, "African Americans and the Transformation of the Urban Environment in Los Angeles, 1946-1965"

2005 | Lissa Wadewitz, Stanford University, "The Nature of Borders: Salmon and Boundaries in the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin"

2004 | Lawrence Culver, Utah State University, "The Island, the Oasis, and the City: Santa Catalina, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Southern California's Shaping of American Life and Leisure"

2003 | Stacy Smith, University of Wisconsin, Madison

2002 | Robin S. Conner, Emory University

2001 | Omar Valerio-Jimenez, University of California, Los Angeles

2000 | Cathleen D. Cahill, University of Chicago

1999 | Richard Stillson, Johns Hopkins University



Martin Ridge (1923-2003) was born in Chicago on May 7, 1923. He served two years in the U.S. Merchant Marines after he received his bachelor’s degree at the Chicago Teachers College in 1943. Dr. Ridge pursued his Ph.D. at Northwestern University where he studied immigration and frontier history with Franklin D. Scott and Ray Allen Billington. Choosing to focus on western history, he graduated with his doctorate in 1951. The University of Chicago Press published Dr. Ridge’s first book, Ignatius Donnelly: Portrait of a Politician, in 1962. He received best book awards from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association (PCB-AHA) and Phi Alpha Theta for his meticulous work on Donnelly.

Dr. Ridge’s teaching career included positions at Westminster College, San Diego State College, Indiana University, and California Institute of Technology. In addition to eleven years of teaching in Indiana, Dr. Ridge served as the editor of the Journal of American History. In 1977 he moved to California to become the director of research at  The Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino.  Dr. Ridge retired from the director’s position in 1993 but continued to serve the library as a senior research associate. In 1995 he retired from his teaching position at Cal Tech.

Dr. Ridge wrote or edited eighteen books and several essays. He received Guggenheim, Huntington Library, Newberry Library, and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships in addition to article awards. Dr. Ridge was active in many academic organizations including the Organization of American Historians and the Western Association of Women’s Historians. He was the president of the Historical Society of Southern California (1994-1999) and president of the PCB-AHA 1995).

Dr. Ridge was a founder of the Western History Association and remained an active member for over forty years. He was on the council, nominating committee, award committees, and served the WHA as the 26th President in 1986-1987.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Ridge was deeply committed to the historical profession, especially in his work with students and younger historians who researched the frontier and western history. In addition to directing numerous doctoral dissertations, Dr. Ridge emphasized the importance of being involved in a community of scholars. Martin Ridge died on September 22, 2003, in Pasadena, California.

Authored by Elaine Marie Nelson, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sources: Susan Wladaver-Morgan, “In Memoriam: Martin Ridge,” Perspectives, published by the American Historical Association, March 2004; Walter Nugent and Suellen Hoye, “Martin Ridge, 1923-2003: In Memoriam,” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 73, No. 1, February 2004; Annette Atkins, “A Curious Westerner: Martin Ridge, 1923-2003," Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No., Spring 2004.

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!