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Recipients of an Iowa History Award

Excellence in Iowa History Awards

These awards recognize individuals, organizations, and communities who have made outstanding contributions to the study, practice, and preservation of Iowa history. Nine distinct awards with varying criteria are presented annually by the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees.

Excellence in History Awards

Benjamin F. Shambaugh Published Book Award

This annual award recognizes the author of the most significant book published on Iowa history during the previous calendar year. The board may give one award and up to two certificates of recognition annually. It is named in honor of Benjamin F. Shambaugh, for forty years the superintendent of the State Historical Society of Iowa, professor of political economy at the University of Iowa, and one of the founders of the "new social science" at the turn of the 20th century.

Dorothy Schwieder Excellence in Research Award

This biennial award recognizes the most significant research and contribution to the body of knowledge in Iowa history and is the top research and writing award given by the board during the two-year period. It is named in honor of Dorothy Schwieder, an American historian, biographer and academic. Schwieder spent nearly 50 years in academia and was an authority in the field of Iowa history. The award is made in even-numbered years.

Excellence in Archaeology and Historic Preservation Award

This annual award recognizes the best archaeology or historic preservation project at the local or state level. To be eligible, the archaeology or preservation work must have been completed during the previous calendar year. All types of preservation work are included and the award is not exclusive to building preservation.

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. The board may give one award and up to two certificates of recognition annually. It is named in honor of Iowa reporter and popular historian George Mills and historian of women’s history and philanthropist Louise Noun.

Loren Horton Community History Award

This 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. As the society’s field services coordinator, and later as senior historian, Horton’s work brought him in close contact with many local historical organizations. In keeping with that legacy, this award recognizes the best project that increases awareness and participation in Iowa history on a local level. The award recognizes an individual, group, or organization whose outstanding local history project was completed during the previous calendar year.

Mildred Throne & Charles Aldrich Iowa 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. The board may give one award and up to two certificates of recognition annually.  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.

William J. Petersen & Edgar R. Harlan Lifetime Achievement Award

The Petersen/Harlan Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization that has made significant long-term or continuing contributions to Iowa history. It is named in honor of two legends at the State Historical Society of Iowa, William J. Petersen and Edgar R. Harlan. William Petersen, long-time curator of the State Historical Society in Iowa City, was known for his book, Steamboating on the Mississippi, thus earning the nickname "Steamboat Bill." Edgar Harlan, who served as the second director and curator of the Historical Department of Iowa, played a key role in acquiring many of the museum’s most important collections.

Preservation Projects of Merit Awards

Adrian D. Anderson Award

This award recognizes outstanding preservation of a small historic preservation project using State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program incentives. For purposes of this award, small projects are defined as those having total qualified costs of $500,000 or less. The award is named in honor of Adrian Anderson, a highly regarded Iowa archaeologist who spearheaded the creation of the State Historic Preservation Office in Iowa and served as Iowa’s first Historic Preservation Officer.

Judith A. McClure Award

This award recognizes outstanding preservation of a residential property using State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program incentives. For purposes of this award, a residential property shall be defined as a building with two or fewer residential units. The award is named in honor of Judith McClure, a well-respected Iowa preservation architect and pioneer in the revitalization of the Sherman Hill Historic District in Des Moines.

Margaret Keyes Award

This award recognizes outstanding preservation of a large historic preservation project using State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program incentives. For purposes of this award, large projects are defined as those projects having total qualified costs of more than $500,000. The award is named in honor of Margaret Keyes, a University of Iowa professor and nationally recognized leader in historic preservation who led the restoration of Iowa’s original state capitol in Iowa City.

William J. Wagner Award

This award recognizes the historic preservation project which best exemplifies use of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation while using State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program incentives. The award is named in honor of William Wagner, an Iowa preservation architect and pioneer in architectural preservation. He worked on such projects as Terrace Hill, Salisbury House and the Dallas County Courthouse.

State Historic Tax Credit projects from the prior state fiscal year (July 1–June 30) will be invited to apply for consideration for these preservation awards. Contact us for more information about how to apply for a historic preservation award.