DES MOINES – Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg presented the state's highest awards for history this week at the State Capitol, including a lifetime achievement award to Robert Neymeyer of Waterloo.
Overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Excellence in History Awards recognize individuals, organizations and communities who have made outstanding contributions to the study and practice of Iowa history.
“Iowa's history is filled with exciting stories about the people, places and issues that have helped define our state for generations," Gregg said. "It’s an honor to partner with the State Historical Society of Iowa to present the Excellence in History Awards and congratulate this year's recipients for all they have done to share our state's incredible history."
"Today's award recipients have given their time and energy to make sure our state's history continues to be available to Iowans now and in the future," said Tova Brandt of Harlan, chair of the State Historical Society of Iowa's Board of Trustees. "We appreciate all their efforts in supporting our dual mission of education and preservation and we congratulate them for earning this wonderful recognition."
Neymeyer, who has taught Iowa history for more than 50 years, received the William J. Petersen and Edgar R. Harlan Lifetime Achievement Award during the presentation ceremony. In addition to teaching at the University of Northern Iowa, he has worked as a historian at Waterloo's Grout Museum District where he has completed more than 2,400 video interviews to capture and preserve the stories of Iowa veterans and farmers.
He has written books on a range of topics and has served on several boards related to Iowa history, including the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees, Iowa Historical Foundation, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, and the African-American Historical and Cultural Museum. He also is a past recipient of the Loren Horton Community History Award.
The lifetime achievement award is presented in honor of Petersen, a long-time curator of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and Harlan, who served as the second director and curator of the Historical Department of Iowa. Both played key roles in acquiring many of the historical society's most important collections of artifacts.
A list of award recipients recognized today follows:
Loren Horton Community History Award
This award recognizes an individual, group, or organization whose outstanding local history project was completed during the previous calendar year. The award is named in honor of Loren Horton, who represented the State Historical Society of Iowa in many capacities from 1973 until his retirement in 1996.
- Award Recipient: Lisbon Historic Preservation Commission and Lisbon Community Schools, Lisbon, Iowa
- Video project: Commemoration of the addition of the Lisbon United Methodist Church to the National Register of Historic Places
- Certificate of Recognition: Nashua-Plainfield High School History Club, Nashua, Iowa
- Video project: Who They Were: Dedicated to Nashuans Who Served in World War I
George Mills & Louise Noun Popular History Award
This award recognizes the author of the most significant popular history article on an Iowa history topic published during the previous calendar year. It is named in honor of Iowa reporter and popular historian George Mills and historian of women’s history and philanthropist Louise Noun.
- Award Recipient: Josh O’Leary, Iowa City, Iowa
- Article: "Kinnick at 100 and Kinnick’s Final Days" – Iowa Alumni Magazine, June 2018
- Honorable Mention: John Liepa, West Des Moines, Iowa
- Article: "Baseball's Early Years: Special Series Scores the Game, 1858-1875" – Iowa History Journal, May-October 2018
- Honorable Mention: Avery Gregurich, Des Moines, Iowa
- Article: "Frank Miller" – The Iowan, January/February 2018
Mildred Throne & Charles Aldrich Academic History Award
This award recognizes the author of the most significant article on Iowa history in a professional history journal during the previous calendar year. It 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.
- Award Recipient: Jeffrey T. Manuel, Edwardsville, Illinois
- Article: "Iowa's Original Ethanol Debate: The Power Alcohol Movement of 1933-1934" – The Annals of Iowa, Winter 2018
- Honorable Mention: Linda M. Clemmons, Normal, Illinois
- Article: "'The young folks [want] to go in and see the Indians': Davenport Citizens, Protestant Missionaries, and Dakota Prisoners of War, 1863-1866" – The Annals of Iowa, Spring 2018
- Honorable Mention: Sharon M. Lake, Iowa City, Iowa
- Article: "Nuclear Power on Trial: The Acquittal of the Palo 13" – The Annals of Iowa, Fall 2018
2018 Benjamin F. Shambaugh Published Book Award
This award recognizes the author of the most significant book published on Iowa history during the previous calendar year. Due to a numerical tie, two awards were made for 2019. It is named in honor of Benjamin F. Shambaugh, who for 40 years was the superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa and a professor of political economy at the University of Iowa.
- Award Recipient: Steven M. Avella, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Book: "The Catholic Church in Southwest Iowa: A History of the Diocese of Des Moines"
- Award Recipient: Sara Egge, Danville, Kentucky
- Book: "Woman Suffrage and Citizenship in the Midwest, 1870-1920"
- Certificate of Merit: Kenneth L. Lyftogt, Cedar Falls, Iowa
- Book: "Iowa and the Civil War, Volume I: Free Child of the Missouri Compromise, 1850-1862"
The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.
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.