BlogWest continues to recognize the award-winning scholarship of western women’s and gender history. Every year the Coalition for Western Women’s History awards various prizes to recognize promising and outstanding work in this field. The Armitage-Jameson Prize is awarded to the most outstanding monograph or edited volume published in western women’s and gender history.
In October 2013 the CWWH Armitage-Jameson Prize Committee chose Anne M. Butler as the recipient of this prestigious award for her book Across God’s Frontiers: Catholic Sisters in the American West, 1850-1920. According to the committee, Butler notes how “the history of women in the American West has long overlooked the significant role of Catholic sisterhood.” In Across God’s Frontiers, Butler demonstrates the craft of history in combining deep archival research with “a nuanced and graceful narrative of the diverse and unexpected ways in which Catholic sisters contributed to making the American West.” Butler provides her readers with a new story by “making these women’s lives visible and part of a story about women’s choices.” The book also demonstrates how Catholic sisters had to participate in their western communities in creative ways, because they entered an environment where the traditional expectations of Catholic orders could not necessarily be sustained. Across God’s Frontiers received several positive reviews, including a recent review in the Winter 2013 issue of the Western Historical Quarterly.
Anne M. Butler is Trustee Professor Emerita at Utah State University. Butler received her B.S. from Towson State University (1973), and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Maryland, College Park (1975, 1979). She is the author of several books and articles, including Gendered Justice in the American West: Women Prisoners in Male Penitentiaries (1997), and Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West, 1865-1890 (1985), for which she received the 1986 Golden Spur Award for Non-Fiction from the Western Writers of America. Butler also co-edited many volumes: Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 (co-edited with Kenneth Holmes, 1983), The American West: A Concise History (with Michael J. Lansing), and Major Problems in the History of the American West (co-edited with Clyde A. Milner II and David Rich Lewis, 1997). In 2012 she wrote “Nuns on the Frontier” in the New York Times. Butler was the Editor of the Western Historical Quarterly from 1990-2003 and Professor of History at Utah State University from 1989-2002. She received many awards recognizing her outstanding teaching and service at USU, including the Women’s Lifelong Achievement Award and the Gallaudet University President’s Distinguished Faculty Award. Butler’s list of accolades also includes the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Western History Association. She began participating in the WHA in the 1970s and has remained incredibly active in the organization throughout her career as a member of the Council, various award committees, the program committee, and as a program participant.
Congratulations to Anne M. Butler for her award!
Across God’s Frontiers was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2012. The Armitage-Jameson Prize Committee members acknowledge UNC Press for their continued contributions to publishing scholarship about the history of women, gender, and sexuality in the North American West.
The Armitage-Jameson Prize committee also chose to name an honorable mention for the 2012 Award: Mary S. Melcher’s Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Choice in Twentieth-Century Arizona (University of Arizona Press, 2012) focuses on midwifery among diverse communities, the introduction of birth control, and political debates about reproductive healthcare in Arizona throughout the 1900s. Melcher is a public historian and consultant who has worked on public history projects all over Arizona, including the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail.
The Armitage-Jameson Prize is named in honor of Dr. Susan Armitage and Dr. Elizabeth Jameson for their pioneering work in the field of western women’s history. The prize committee received strong submissions for the competition this year. This indicates that the history of women and gender in the North American West is in good health. They also indicated a noticeable growth in the scholarly field of sexuality as it pertains to western history.
The 2012 Armitage-Jameson Prize winner was Sarah Carter and Patricia McCormick for the edited volume Recollecting: Lives of Aboriginal Women of the Canadian Northwest and Borderlands, and the 2011 winner was Marilyn S. Blackwell & Kristen Oertel for Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood (University Press of Kansas, 2010) For a complete list of winners, visit the Armitage-Jameson Prize list on the CWWH website.