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Annual Awards

The following awards are given annually.  Award recipients will be announced at the annual meeting in October.

Jump directly to award:
Article Award
Elizabeth B. Mason Project Award
Book Award
Oral History in Nonprint Format

Article Award

In 1993, the Oral History Association established an honorific award to recognize a published article or essay that uses oral history to make a significant contribution to contemporary scholarship; and/or significantly advances understanding of important theoretical issues in oral history; and/or is an outstanding example of sound oral history methodology.

The next award will be made at the OHA’s 2018 annual meeting. The winning author(s) will receive an award plaque, a one-year membership in the OHA, and complimentary registration for the annual meeting.

Articles published between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, are eligible for consideration. The OHA welcomes entries that represent the work of academic scholars, public historians, professionals in history-related disciplines, and community-based individuals and groups. Entries are welcome from around the world but must be in English.

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Contribution to socio/historical inquiry
  • Contribution to the practice of oral history
  • Adherence to sound methodology in the conduct of interviews, including the deposit of completed interviews in a public repository for subsequent use and reinterpretation, where appropriate
  • Skillfulness and originality of presentation.

The award may be granted to a publication the significance of which, at least in part, derives from germinal work done previously by the author(s).

To Submit:

Send one electronic copy of the article or essay to the members of the awards committee listed below. Each submission must include a nomination letter that assesses the work’s significance, current impact, and contributions to knowledge and/or the practice of oral history.

Chair – Kate Brenner, katherinebrenner@gmail.com
Steve Estes, Steve.estes@sonoma.edu
Jocelyn Gomez, gomezsalas.j@gmail.com

The submission deadline is April 15, 2018.

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Elizabeth B. Mason Project Award

The Oral History Association has established an honorific award to recognize an outstanding oral history project.  There will be two awards given: one for small projects and one for major projects. The next Project Awards will be made at the OHA’s 2018 annual meeting. The winning entrants will receive an award plaque and one-year memberships in the OHA; the persons accepting the awards will receive complimentary registrations to the annual meeting.

Projects completed between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, are eligible for consideration. The OHA welcomes nominations for projects with an institutional affiliation, including those undertaken by libraries, archives, colleges and universities, museum and historical organizations, community-based institutions, and others; as well as those undertaken by academic scholars, independent researchers, and ad hoc groups. The awards will not be given to an ongoing project or oral history program, although it may be given to a distinct project or interview series within such a program. Entries are welcome from around the world but must be in English.

Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The project entails a research design that addresses significance, objectives, manner of selecting interviewees and interviewers, outline of major topics of inquiry, schedule of questions, plan of work, quality controls, staff, budget, user access, and use.
  • The project possesses noteworthy scholarly and social value.
  • The project advances both the understanding of an important historical subject, issue, or theme, and also the disciplined practice of oral history.

To Submit:

Nominations must include samples of the project interviews (e.g. audio- and/or videotapes, transcripts); examples of products associated with the project (e.g. anthologies, photo essays, media presentations, finding aids); and a nomination letter that outlines the project’s research design/methodology and addresses its scholarly and social significance. Nominations should include a minimum of two and a maximum of five letters of support for the award. One copy of all material submitted is to be sent to the members of the awards committee listed below with an indication of the dollar size of the project.

Nominations may come from the individual(s)/institution responsible for the project or from some other source.

Chair – Christa Whitney cwhitney@bikher.org, Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Christian Lopez, clopez@uga.edu, Russell Special Collections Building, 300 S. Hull Street, Athens, GA, 30602
Forrest Larson, twiggy@mit.edu, MIT Lewis Music Library, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Bldg. 14E-109, Cambridge, MA, 02139

The submission deadline is April 15, 2018.

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Book Award

The Oral History Association invites nominations for its 2018 Book Award, established in 1993 to recognize a published book that uses oral history to make a significant contribution to contemporary scholarship; and/or significantly advances understanding of important theoretical issues in oral history; and/or is an outstanding example of sound oral history methodology.

The award, which is honorific, is presented annually and will be awarded at the OHA’s 2018 annual meeting. Winners receive an award plaque, one-year memberships in the OHA, and complimentary registration to the annual meeting.

The OHA welcomes entries that represent the work of academic scholars, public historians, independent professionals, and community-based groups and individuals. Entries are welcome from around the world but must be in English.

Submissions are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Contribution to socio/historical inquiry
  • Contribution to the practice of oral history
  • Adherence to sound methodology in the conduct of interviews, including the deposit of completed interviews in a public repository for subsequent use and reinterpretation, where appropriate
  • Skillfulness and originality of presentation.

The award may be granted to a publication the significance of which, at least in part, derives from germinal work done previously by the author(s). Works published between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 will be eligible for consideration.

To Submit:

Send one copy of the book to the each committee member listed below. All submissions must include a nomination letter that assesses the work’s adherence to the above criteria.

Submissions may come from the book’s author, publisher, or from another individual. Publishers may submit a maximum of three books. If the cost of submitting application materials places undue financial burden on the applicant, please contact the committee chair, above. Additional questions may be directed to the committee chair.

Chair – Ryan Morini, ryan.s.morini@gmail.com, 241 Pugh Hall, P.O. Box 115215, The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611
Yolanda Leyva, yleyva@utep.edu, The University of Texas at El Paso, Dept of History, 500 W. University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968
Adrienne Petty, ampetty@wm.edu, Department of History, College of William & Mary James Blair, Room 330,  250 James Blair Dr. Williamsburg, VA 23185

The submission deadline is April 15, 2018.

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Oral History in a Nonprint Format

In 1993, the Oral History Association established an honorific award to recognize a film, video, performance pieces, radio program or series, exhibition, or drama that makes significant and outstanding use of oral history to interpret an historical event, person, place, or way of life. In recent years, this category has expanded to recognize digital projects including podcasts, mobile applications, and other products. The Nonprint Format Award is presented annually. The next award will be made at the OHA’s 2018 annual meeting.  The winning entrant will receive an award plaque, a one-year membership in the OHA and complimentary registration to the annual meeting.

Work produced between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 is eligible for consideration. Entries may represent the work of an individual, group, or institution. The OHA welcomes submissions from public historians, independent professionals, community-based groups and individuals, and academic scholars. Entries are welcome from around the world but must be in English.

The following questions will be used to evaluate submissions:

  • Is oral history essential to an understanding of the historical subject presented?
  • Is oral history a significant component of the product as well as the research informing it?
  • Is the subject of historical significance? Is it treated accurately? Is the work informed by current scholarship?
  • Have professional standards been employed in the conduct, use, and disposition of oral history interviews developed in conjunction with the work?
  • Is oral history used imaginatively, taking advantage of its strengths? Is it used appropriately for the medium in which it is presented?
  • Does the product communicate its message effectively? How important is oral history to its success?

To submit:

Nominations for a film, video, or radio production are to include:

  • A copy of the production itself or, preferably, a link to access the media digitally.
  • A nominating letter that discusses why oral history was used, how it was used in the development of the work, and the methodology informing the oral history process.

Nominations for an exhibition are to include:

  • A copy of the audiovisual productions(s) that use oral history
  • An exhibit walk-through, including slides and the text of major labels
  • A nominating letter that discusses why oral history was used, how it was used in the development of the work, and the methodology informing the oral history process.

Nominations for a dramatic production or performance are to include:

  • A video of the production or performance and when applicable, a copy of the script
  • A nominating letter that discusses why oral history was used, how it was used in the development of the work, and the methodology informing the oral history process.

One copy of all material submitted is to be sent to each member of the awards committee below. Anyone wishing return of the material should include return postage.

Chair – Cristina Kim, Cristinakim30@gmail.com, 41 Sullivan Dr, Moraga, CA 94556
Ross Walton, arthur.walton@usm.edu, Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, 118 College Drive #5175, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Shanna Farrell, sfarrell@library.berkeley.edu, 828 Anza Street, #1, San Francisco, CA 94118

Examples of previous awardees:

2015    “Goin’ North: Stories of the First Great Migration to Philadelphia,” a classroom-based project developed by Charles Hardy III, Janneken Smucker and Doug Boyd

2014    “May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970,” Kenneth Bindas and David Hassler

2013    Frankford, KY Public Art Tour, Joanna Hay

The submission deadline is April 15, 2018.

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