2014-2015 Historical Administration Class Awarded at Illinois Association of Museums Conference

From the desk of M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska

On Friday, September 25th, at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held this year in Springfield, Illinois, the 2014-2015 Historical Administration class received an Award of Merit for their permanent exhibit: Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at EIU, which was created during my two-semester course, History Exhibits I and II. Students worked with Dean Diane Jackman and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower from the College of Education and Professional Studies to create an exhibit about the history of the Laboratory School at Eastern.

This exhibition is the inaugural exhibit of the Lab School Museum and is located in Buzzard Hall, home to the Buzzard Lab School. Mission, Method, Memory explores the long and vibrant history of teacher training at Eastern. Between 1899 and 1957, Eastern student-teachers participated in an on-campus “Model School,” where local students attended first grade through high school. In 1958, Eastern President Robert Guy Buzzard inaugurated the Buzzard Laboratory School, which remained open until 1974.

Historical Administration students researched the history of the Lab School, collected artifacts and memories from Lab School alumni living in the Charleston area and beyond, and designed, built, and programmed the exhibit, which opened in April of 2015.

H.A. students on opening night.

H.A. students on opening night.

Dean Jackman and Ms. Bower traveled to the awards dinner, and were on hand as H.A. student Brian Failing accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

The exhibit is located at Buzzard Hall and is open daily. You can also check out the website here.

Eastern Undergraduate Awarded National Prize For Honors Thesis


It is nice to start the new academic year with an announcement that highlights the research efforts of an EIU History major. Last week the David Library of the American Revolution (“DLAR”) in Washington, PA, the pre-eminent academic research center on the American Revolution in the United States, announced that Michael Bradley was the second place winner of the DRLAR’s Omar Vázquez Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.  The Vázquez Prize recognizes academic excellence and the use of primary sources in undergraduate research on an Early American topic.  Michael’s honors thesis, “Incarcerated, Transported and Bound: Continued Resistance Among the Community of Transported Convicts from London to the Chesapeake, 1763-1775,” was completed under the supervision of Dr. Charles R. Foy. It connects criminal life and poverty in London, Britain’s criminal justice system, transatlantic migration of convicts and convicts’ lives in the Chesapeake, describes and analyzes how a community of convicts evolved and sustained itself across the Atlantic in face of a series of challenging and changing circumstances. In doing so, Michael has demonstrated the centrality of the experience being coercively transported to the development of community ties among London’s thieves and the Atlantic nature of that community. In recognition of the excellence of Michael’s scholarship DLAR will award Michael $250, have an abstract of his thesis read at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies seminar on September 11th and will catalogue Michael’s thesis in its world renowned collection. Kudos to Michael!

Professor Receives High Honor, Completes Agricultural History Society Triple Crown

Debra A. Reid received a high honor from the Agricultural History Society at that organization’s awards banquet on Saturday evening, June 6, 2015. AHS president Sally McMurry announced Reid as a Fellow of the Society, an honor that recognizes high standards of scholarship in agricultural history, broadly defined, and in service to the society and to the study of agricultural history. For information on the Agricultural History Society, see: http://www.aghistorysociety.org/

Melissa Walker and Debra A. Reid, named as Fellows of the Agricultural History Society, June 7, 2015, Lexington, Kentucky. Photograph by Chuck Reback.

Melissa Walker and Debra A. Reid, named as Fellows of the Agricultural History Society, June 7, 2015, Lexington, Kentucky. Photograph by Chuck Reback.

The context for receiving this award became even more memorable given the location – Lexington, Kentucky – and the timing – the running of the Belmont Stakes. David Hamilton, chair of the AHS local arrangements committee, and faculty at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, timed the reception preceding the banquet perfectly, to coincide with American Pharaoh’s bid to be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Deb took her post at a table a distance from but with a perfect view of the large-screen TV in the Hyatt in Lexington, Kentucky. Deb grew up watching horse racing, and reveled in the wins of Secretariat in 1973. But the break-down of Ruffian in a match race in 1975 destroyed the aura of the sport. Thus, the ascendance of Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978 to Triple Crown status did not have the same romance as Secretariat’s win for her.


But Deb got to relish her own AHS Triple Crown of sorts, at the 2015 AHS on the same day as American Pharaoh’s win. . . Deb received 1) the John T. Schlebecker Award for Excellence from the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) in 2000, an award named for AHS president, former curator at the Smithsonian Institution, and ALHFAM founder, John T. Schlebecker; 2) the Gilbert C. Fite Dissertation Award from the AHS in 2001 (named in honor of a prominent historian of southern agriculture and EIU president from 1971-1976); and now 3) recognition as a Fellow of the Agricultural History Society. And the circle, it goes round and round. It’s been a long run, but Deb looks forward to many more years of racing!


History Majors Win Social Science Writing Awards

The History Department is proud to announce that two of its students recently won Social Science Writing Awards for their respective research projects. Ryan Lawler, senior history major, won first place in the competition for his paper,  “Sexual Uses of Myth as a Basis for a Male-Dominated Society” and junior history major Michael Olson won the runner-up prize for his paper, “Eisenhower and Lebanon, 1958.”

Ryan Lawler (left) & Michael Olson (right)

Social Science Writing Awards Winners: Ryan Lawler (left) & Michael Olson (right)

The Social Science Writing Awards competition is administered through the Dean’s Office of the College of Sciences, and each year the awards recognize the best papers written by undergraduates across the following departments: Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology-Anthropology.  Congratulations to Ryan and Michael on their fantastic achievement!

History Majors Win Distinguished Seniors Awards

The History Department is proud to announce that history majors Taylor Yangas and Emily McInerney have been selected to receive Distinguished Senior Awards by the Office of Alumni Services.

Congratulations to Taylor Yangas (left) and Emily McInerney (right)

Congratulations to Taylor Yangas (left) and Emily McInerney (right)

The Distinguished Senior Awards recognize students who have demonstrated outstanding character and leadership through academic achievement, campus and community involvement, and/or extra-curricular honors or awards. Taylor and Emily will be recognized for their achievements at an awards luncheon to be held on Saturday, April 25. Congrats to both of them on their awards!

EIU History Graduate Student Is Awarded Prestigious Mellon Foundation Internship

Graduate student Kimberly Jones has been chosen as a Mellon Scholar at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Kimberly is working on a thesis entitled “Colorism in the Eighteenth Century” under the supervision of Dr. Charles R. Foy. She will take part in a week long internship program this summer that will “include research talks, CV-building, an introduction to the African Americana holdings at the Library Company and at area repositories, training in the creation of competitive fellowship and graduate program applications, and mentoring and networking with African American history scholars.” This program is an important component in the Mellon Foundation and the Library Company’s efforts to increase minority participation in the field of Early American History.

Kimberly Jones

MA student Kimberly Jones

Departmental Scholarships & Awards Winners Announced

The History Department is proud to announce the winners of this year’s departmental scholarships and awards. The students will be recognized at the department’s annual awards banquet, which will take place on Saturday, May 2. Congratulations to the following students!

———Departmental Scholarships & Awards———

Errett and Mazie Warner Award
– Scott Harrell
– Megan Kessler

– Jessica Nunez

Rex Syndergaard Scholarship
– Jay Lawler
– Jessica Schluter

Robert and Julie Sterling History Education in Social Science Scholarship
– Jacob Meyeroff
– Joseph Nichols

William B. Reid History Education Scholarship
– Selma Smajlovic

Wolfgang and Barbara Schlauch European History Scholarship
– John Bays

Lawrence and Emily Nichols Memorial Scholarship
– Richard Borzi

Elisha and Estella Ziegler Baumgartner Scholarship
– Michael Spencer

Ardath Fogelsanger Scholarship
– Emily McInerney

Jeanne and Donald Tingley Memorial Scholarship
– Monica Burney

Leften Stavrianos World History Award
– John Sarvela (undergraduate)
– Kim Jones (graduate)

History Study Abroad Scholarship
– Monica Burney
– Kevin Lux
– Katie St. John
– Hunter Worthey

———Departmental Writing Awards———

The Lavern M. Hamand Graduate Writing Award
– Kara Batts Hoke, “’Along All Lines of Human Progress’: The International Council of Women and the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition” (Fall)
– Laura Russman, “The Proof is in the Teapot: Evoking the Colonial” (Spring)

History Faculty Writing Award in World History
– Taylor Yangas, “The Trojan War in Greek Art”

The Anne Frank Award
– Mary Larson, “The Unheard Members of the Bielski Otriad”

HA Graduate Students Awarded EGS Scholarships

Laura Russman and Brian Failing, graduate students in the Historical Administration Program, have each been awarded a Chester A. Bowser Scholarship from the Elgin Genealogical Society (EGS). EGS provides scholarship funds to deserving graduate students in studies related to genealogy and grants to local organizations for projects to benefit the genealogical community. Scholarships are awarded in honor of the Society’s late member and benefactor, Chester A. Bowser.

Faculty Monograph Honored as a Kansas Notable Book

Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz’s recent book, The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism, has been selected for inclusion on the 2014 Kansas Notable Books List. The Kansas Notable Book List recognizes the literary richness of Kansas and is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book (KCFB) at the State Library of Kansas. The annual selection of 15 books reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kansas features titles that are either written by Kansans or features a Kansas-related topic. A committee of KCFB Affiliates, Fellows, and authors of previous Notable Books identifies these titles from among those published the previous year, and the State Librarian makes the selection for the final list. Each year a reception and medal awards ceremony honor the books and their authors and illustrators.