SHGAPE President's Letter, Opportunities, Information

Christopher Nichols's picture
Dear SHGAPE current and former members:
It was great to see many of you at the annual SHGAPE luncheon and reception at the OAH conference.  
For those who missed these events, the luncheon featured Lloyd Ambrosius’ Presidential Address.   The address fittingly marked the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I (a year and a day earlier), by focusing on the paradox of Wilsonianism during the wartime era.  Thank you, Lloyd for the stimulating talk and your leadership as president.
The minutes from the council meeting will be posted to the website early this summer, but in the meantime I would like to relay the announcements made at the annual luncheon:
Due to the diligent efforts of the fundraising committee headed by Chuck Calhoun, past presidents and other SHGAPE members donated over $10,000 for a new book prize, to be designated the Presidents’ Book Prize.  This will be for a book treating any aspect of United States history in the period 1865 – 1920.  It must be the author’s second or subsequent scholarly book.  It will be offered in even numbered years for the best book published in the last two years, with the inaugural winner to be announced at the 2018 luncheon.   I will be appointing a prize committee shortly.
Cara Caddoo, outgoing chair of the Vincent P. DeSantis Prize committee, awarded our prize for the best first book on U.S. history between 1865 and 1920 to Megan Birk, for Fostering on the Farm:  Child Placement in the Rural Midwest.  The committee awarded Benjamin Allen Coates honorable mention for Legalist Empire:  International Law and American Foreign Relations in the Early Twentieth Century.  Bravo, Megan and Benjamin!
The Program Committee also announced its awards at the luncheon.  The graduate student conference travel award went to Evelyn Atkinson of the University of Chicago and the inaugural conference travel award for a post-Ph.D. presenter went to Noam Maggor, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell.
The council had a full agenda for its post-luncheon meeting.  After welcoming incoming vice president and president-elect Albert Broussard and incoming council members Alan Lessoff, Mary Lui, and Martin Summers, we spent a considerable amount of time discussing SHGAPE governance.  
The question:  should we run contested elections or continue the practice of having the nominating committee present a slate of candidates with one nominee per office?  Given the size of the membership and sense that our current election structure has encouraged nominees to stand for office, the council decided to stick with existing election practice for now, but to try out something new:  adding an option on the ballot to nominate oneself and others for future positions, whether on the council or in other capacities.  We have enough service opportunities to keep all members happy!  If you wish to become more involved in SHGAPE, please feel free to contact me ( or incoming nominating committee chair Jeanette E. Jones (
Other items on the agenda were more straightforward.  We are planning to roll out a graduate student essay prize later this year – stay posted!  We have also decided that we can fully fund luncheon fees for up to twelve graduate student members at our annual luncheon each year, so please keep that in mind if you are a student and please get the word out if you know students who are interested in our time period.
If you visit our webpage, you will soon see “featured publications” on the home page.  This provides a great shout-out to GAPE scholarship, so be sure to reap this member benefit by informing Web Editor Christopher McKnight Nichols ( of your book publications.
Finally:  if you neglected to renew your membership, now is the time to do so.  Just go to our home page ( and click the “join us” link at the top.  Ours is a cause worth supporting, and we offer reduced rates for graduate students and non-tenure track members so as to provide a welcoming academic home for everyone interested in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century U.S. history.  If you work with graduate students, you may wish to purchase memberships for them – at $20 a year for a graduate student membership, this is a deal not to be missed.
Yours truly,
Kristin Hoganson
SHGAPE President