News and Announcements

The WHA Office often receives notifications about awards, scholarships, fellowships, and events that might be of interest to our members. Please send details to us about your programs and we will post this information to our news blog below.

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  • Wednesday, June 08, 2022 12:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Shared from Melody Webb:

    “Robert Utley was a founder and past president of the Western History Association. He died June 7th, from complications of a simple surgery, at the age of 92. Several years ago, I asked him to write his own obituary because I would undoubtedly forget important aspects of his distinguished career. I’m sending it as he wrote it in his own inimitable style.”

    The following includes excerpts from Robert Utley’s obituary, written in July 2013 (with updates from 2015, 2016, 2022). You can also learn more about his work at www.robertutley.net

    --------------

    Hi Friends and Colleagues:

    Melody insists that I write my own obituary, which makes sense. By the time you read this, I will have checked out and perhaps had my ashes scattered over the big rock in Logan Canyon, Utah, where Melody and I first connected in 1973. When and how I died will have to be filled in after I die.

    Within a fairly narrow context, I think I have lived a pretty successful professional life. Personally, from my first marriage I have two sons, Donald Warner and Philip Lee. Don is a lawyer and corporate executive, Phil an astrophysicist.

    My second marriage, from 1980 to my demise, was highly successful from beginning to end. Melody Webb has been a wonderful wife, a wonderful care-giver to one who lost almost all his hearing, a wonderful friend, and a wonderful professional colleague.

    I was born in Arkansas on October 31, 1929, reared in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and obtained my higher education at Purdue (1951) and Indiana (1952) Universities. What launched my career, actually in two worlds, was a fascination with George Armstrong Custer, launched by Errol Flynn in the movie “They Died with Their Boots On.” This at the age of twelve. The Custer addiction, which lasted until my death, led to six summers (1947-52) as a “historical aide” for the National Park Service at Custer Battlefield National Monument. Those were my college years, and they pointed me toward one of the two worlds–a career in the National Park Service.

    The other world grew out of my intense desire to write history–about Custer, of course. A self-published brochure at the age of nineteen launched me toward that world. As I begin drafting this obituary…I have published eighteen books; [at the time of this update, June 2015, the number stands at 21] more will have been added to the list by the time you read this. Although I began with Custer (and in 1988 published a biography of him), I expanded my interests to include a variety of aspects of the history of the American West.

    At the same time, as one of the organizers of the Western History Association in 1961, I drifted into association with academics. I did not aim my books at the academics but at the general reader, but the academics approved enough to establish my scholarly credibility. A number of my books have won prestigious prizes, and as a sign of academic approval I hold honorary doctoral degrees from Purdue (1972), Indiana (1983), and the University of New Mexico (1976).

    In my early years, I cherished an ambition to make a career in the US Army. Narrowly escaping World War II, I hoped for a commission as an ROTC officer after graduating from Purdue University. High blood pressure kept me out of Senior ROTC. With the Korean War in progress, I finished schooling with an exemption from the draft. Then in 1952 I waived the exemption and was drafted. Basic training and Leadership School at Camp Roberts, California, led to assignment to Officers’ Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Six months of brutal training led to a commission of second lieutenant infantry in May 1954. I was a distinguished graduate, second in my class, and as such eligible for a commission in the Regular Army. By that time, my military ambitions had weakened. I spent three months as a tactical officer at OCS and then manipulated the system, through friends, to get assigned as a historian in the historical section of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. There I spent four years, the first three in uniform, the last as a civilian. I relate this long story to make two points: the field-grade officers I worked with in the Pentagon taught me what I should have been taught in graduate school and were responsible for the quality of my historical writing; second, that experience imbued me with a life-long interest in the military, especially the army.

    After army service, I made my career in the National Park Service. I served as Regional Historian of the Southwest Region in Santa Fe from 1957 to 1964, when I was summoned to Washington to serve as Chief Historian, 1964-80. I played a major role in the development of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and then in its implementation.

    I took early retirement at age fifty in 1980 and returned to Santa Fe to marry Melody. While continuing to write books, I followed her career [in the National Park Service] as a house-husband. After nine years in Santa Fe, Melody switched from history to management and became superintendent of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in the Texas hill country. In 1992, she was chosen as assistant superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Those years were very enjoyable for me, although they stressed Melody. In 1996 she took early retirement at age fifty, and we moved back to the Texas Hill Country, settling in Georgetown, 30 miles north of Austin.

    In Georgetown, I continued to write, concentrating on the Texas Rangers. Two books resulted: Lone Star Justice: the First Century of the Texas Rangers (Oxford 2002) and Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers (Oxford 2007). Earlier, with my first introduction to a literary agent, Carl Brandt, I published a biography of Sitting Bull, which was enormously successful. The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull (Holt 1993).

    From 1977 until 1997, I served on the board of directors of Eastern National Park and Monument Association, twice as chairman. Melody had accompanied me to all the meetings, so knew all about this nonprofit association that supported the national parks. She was a logical chair of the board and served until 2006.

    In 2007 Melody and I decided in explore the possibility of moving to a retirement community–a continuum care facility that would support us for life. I insisted that it be in the Phoenix area because that was where all her family lived. We chose what is now (October 2016) called Ví at Grayhawk. We have now lived here since 2009 and have never regretted the choice.

    As of this update (October 2016), I have published my 22nd book, comparing Billy the Kid and Ned Kelly, with Yale University Press. Before that UNM Press published my edited and annotated excerpts from the journals of a frontier army surgeon. I am now working on a book for the University of Oklahoma Press on Civil War generals who went west after the war. For my publications, in April 2015 I was inducted into the Western Writers of America Hall of Fame.

    I turned 87 in October 2015, still handicapped by severe hearing loss and severe lack of balance. But not so handicapped that I can’t enjoy Regent cruises. We have taken five since 2011.

    In this January 2022 update, I insert the results of a four-day visit to the hospital. It appears that my mortality is definite, but we don’t know when. Melody and I agree two to three years. The explanation involves confusing terminology, so I simply insert what Melody wrote Paul Hutton:

    Four days ago, I took Bob to the hospital with shortness of breath. Since the hospital is overflowing with Covid, it was not an easy decision. I’m glad that I did because it was not simply shortness of breath. While he has had an echo-cardiogram every year for years, nothing serious had been found. This time the technician took special care to get just the right picture. It showed that the right side of his heart has stretched to the right. He has heart failure in the right side of the heart only. Apparently, in 2017 when he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, it caused a serious and quite rare fatal disease that has taken nearly four years to fully materialize. The simple name is Pulmonary Hypertension. The longer name is Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH).

    Bob died on June 7, 2022, in Scottsdale, Arizona, following complications from a simple surgery.


  • Monday, June 06, 2022 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Arizona History Convention, Inc., invites proposals for papers and presentations for the 2023 Arizona History Convention to be held in Tempe, Arizona on April 13-15, 2023.

    The Program Committee welcomes proposals on any topic related to Arizona or southwestern borderlands history. The three-day conference will be a hybrid event, with sessions held both in person and online, allowing presenters and attendees to choose how they wish to participate. 

    The deadline for all submissions is September 30, 2022.

    For the full CFP and submission instructions, click here: https://bit.ly/3PVwzxn

  • Friday, May 27, 2022 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2023 NCPH Annual Meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 12-15, 2023. The theme is “To Be Determined,” which “holds space for unknown futures…[while] signaling resolve, commitment, and intention.” Learn more about the theme by reading the full CFP, and submit your final proposal by July 15.

    You can submit a topic proposal by June 15 if you’d like feedback or to find co-presenters in advance of the final deadline. 

    For the full CFP: https://ncph.org/conference/2023-annual-meeting/calls-for-proposals/

  • Monday, May 16, 2022 12:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Montana The Magazine of Western History’s editor Diana DiStefano and author Dr. Tracey Hanshew were on hand to receive a Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in April. The ceremony honored individuals who have made significant contributions to Western heritage through creative works in literature, music, television, and film.

    The “Outstanding Magazine Article” winning the award was “`Here she comes wearin’ them britches!’ Saddles, Riding Skirts, and Social Reform in the Turn-of-the-Century Rural West,” published in the Winter 2020 issue of “Montana.” This was the eleventh Wrangler Award for the Montana Historical Society’s magazine.

    “This is an extremely prestigious award,” Montana editor Diana DiStefano said. “Tracey’s article tells how rugged terrain, and the rough work of ranching, fomented a change in women’s riding styles from sidesaddles to riding astride and contributed to the women’s reform movements in the American West and nationally.” DiStefano goes on to say, “Hanshew examines these changes in saddlery and dress, women’s labor and recreation, and the larger effects on women’s suffrage and civil rights around the turn of the twentieth century.”

    Hanshew is an assistant professor of history at Washington State University Tri-Cities. She is the author of Oklahoma Rodeo Women and recipient of the Muriel H. Wright Award from the Oklahoma Historical Society for her article “Rodeo in Oklahoma is Women’s Business: How Lucille Mulhall’s Fame Created Opportunity in Rodeo,” published in the Chronicles of Oklahoma in April 2015.  

    To read the Winter 2020 article, check your local library or order a copy from the Montana Historical Society by calling (406) 444-4708.


  • Monday, May 02, 2022 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Southern Historical Association is now accepting nominations for the John Hope Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award and the John W. Blassingame Award. Nominations for both awards are due by June 1, 2022. Descriptions of each of the awards can be found below.

    John Hope Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award

    The John Hope Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded every four years to recognize an individual who has had a distinguished career in southern history, has contributed significantly to scholarship in the field, and who has exhibited outstanding qualities of citizenship. In order to nominate a candidate for the award, a letter describing the person's accomplishments should be sent to the committee chair, Charles Bolton, at ccbolton@uncg.edu by June 1, 2022.

    For more information about the award, please see: https://www.thesha.org/franklin

    John W. Blassingame Award

    The John W. Blassingame Award, established in 2004, honors distinguished scholarship and mentorship in African American history. Recipients of the prize will be based on nominations from the SHA membership. In order to nominate a candidate for the award, a letter describing the person's accomplishments should be sent by e-mail to Steve Berry at berrys@thesha.org by June 1, 2022, when it will be forwarded to committee members. Alternatively, submissions may be mailed by June 1, 2022, to: Southern Historical Association, 111 LeConte Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-1602.

    At least two supporting letters should accompany each nomination (though more than two are welcome). For nominations involving a primary role of mentoring African American students, the committee particularly welcomes letters from students, either graduate or undergraduate. Nominees from all areas of the academic community, including those from community/junior colleges, historically black colleges and universities, as well as from large research universities, are welcome. Nominees will be considered based either on distinguished careers as mentors of African American students, personal scholarly accomplishments, or some combination of both. The award consists of a $1,000 stipend and will be awarded every third year. The next award will be given at the annual meeting in 2022 in Baltimore, MD.

    For more information about the award, please see: https://www.thesha.org/blassingame


  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The first report of the survey conducted by the National Council on Public History (NCPH) and the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) on gender discrimination and sexual harassment in history organizations will be available on both the NCPH and AASLH websites (www.NCPH.org and www.AASLH.org) on Thursday, April 14. 

    The findings of the survey will also be shared and discussed in a webinar on Tuesday, April 19 at 3pm Eastern Time. Those interested in attending the webinar can register at the NCPH website at NCPH.org/news/gdsh-in-public-history/

    For more information on the background of the survey, click here: https://ncph.org/history-at-work/survey-on-sexual-harassment-and-gender-discrimination-in-public-history/

  • Monday, April 11, 2022 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is now welcoming applications for their NHPRC-Mellon Planning Grants for Collaborative Digital Editions in African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American History and Ethnic Studies Program. The NHPRC will fund up to six grants of up to $60K per year for up to two years each. The program has three goals: to stimulate and support historical and scholarly digital editions that center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in archival collections; broaden the participation of scholars of color and Indigenous scholars in documentary editing; and support underserved and underrepresented institutions and communities in this work.

    Planning grants are designed explicitly to:

    • Provide opportunities that augment the preparation and training of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) new to the work of editing and publishing historical documents; 

    • Encourage and support the innovative and collaborative re-thinking of the historical and scholarly digital edition itself--how it is conceived, whose voices it centers, and for what purposes; 

    • Encourage and support the early planning and development of significant, innovative, and well-conceived digital edition projects rooted in African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American history and ethnic studies; and 

    • Stimulate meaningful, mutually beneficial, and respectful collaborations that help to bridge longstanding institutional inequalities by promoting resource sharing and capacity building at all levels, and that build into their plans a variety of means for achieving meaningful community and user input and engagement. 

    The National Archives works with scholars, archivists, and other practitioners at institutions nationwide to provide access to historical records that document the voices, experiences, and actions of the full diversity of people who make up our democracy, and that serve as foundational and generative sources for understanding our complex humanity.

    The final submission deadline for these NHPRC grants is June 8, 2022.

    For more information about the grants and how to apply, please click here: https://www.archives.gov/nhprc/announcement/digitaleditions


  • Monday, April 11, 2022 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The application window for the National Archives Foundation's Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women's History is now open! The Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women’s History supports one to three annual fellowships for graduate students, journalists, historians or authors who perform new research to elevate women’s history using the records held by the National Archives.

    Recipients of the fellowship will perform original document research from the National Archives on women’s history for a published article or essay appearing in a newspaper, magazine, website, book, or academic publication.

    The application deadline is April 30, 2022.

    For more information about the fund and how to apply, please click here: https://archivesfoundation.org/cokiefund/

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2022 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration now open for the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association annual conference in Portland, OR on Sat., April 23, 2022.    

    PNLHA is a non-profit association dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of workers in the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Oregon and Washington). Their members are trade unionists, students, academics, and others who share an interest in the history and heritage of workers in this region. They believe the labor movement must know where it’s been to know where it’s going.   

    The PNLHA 2022 theme is “Using Labor’s Past to Mobilize for Labor’s Future.”  The conference will feature examples, strategies, and time to workshop ideas for using labor history to inspire, organize and mobilize today’s workers. Attendees will be able to tour a labor history exhibit co-sponsored by PNLHA at the Oregon Historical Society, and join a public plenary at the Oregon Historical Society inspired by the exhibit. 

    Program information and Registration at PNLHA.  More information: pnlhaconf2022@gmail.com   


  • Monday, March 14, 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians are now hiring a Tribal Historic Preservation Coordinator. This is a full-time position in Valley Center, CA.

    Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

    For the full job posting: https://bit.ly/3Jp808t

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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!


Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860

wha@westernhistory.org