WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship

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WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship

In recognition of Martin Ridge's long service to both the Western History Association and The Huntington Library, this $3500, one-month research fellowship at The Huntington Library has been established in his honor. Funds are allotted as follows: $500 from the WHA and $3000 from The Huntington Library. Recipients of the fellowship are expected to be in continuous residence at The Huntington Library for one month. Eligible applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent or be a doctoral student at the dissertation stage. The fellowship will be in residence during the next academic year (the 2019 fellowship recipient will schedule their residence with The Huntington Library Director of Research during the 2020-2021 academic calendar. View a list of past recipients.

The committee will accept a variety of topics in western history, but applicants are encouraged to submit projects that consider how they will use specific materials and collections from The Huntington Library's holdings.

Applicants should send each member of the award committee a cv and a 2-3 page proposal that includes the following: 1) a description of their project; 2) a discussion on the specific materials they plan to consult at The Huntington Library; 3) progress to date on the project. 

Award Submission Deadline: June 15, 2019

The award recipient will be notified by September 15.


2019 WHA-Huntington Martin Ridge Fellowship Committee

Megan Kate Nelson, Chair


300 South Great Road
Lincoln, MA 01773

Erika Pérez
University of Arizona

University of Arizona
Department of History
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Cesar E. Chavez Bldg, Rm 415
Tucson, AZ 85721

Tamara Venit-Shelton
Claremont McKenna College
850 Columbia Ave
Claremont, CA 9171


Martin Ridge (1923-2003) was born in Chicago on May 7, 1923. He served two years in the U.S. Merchant Marines after he received his bachelor’s degree at the Chicago Teachers College in 1943. Dr. Ridge pursued his Ph.D. at Northwestern University where he studied immigration and frontier history with Franklin D. Scott and Ray Allen Billington. Choosing to focus on western history, he graduated with his doctorate in 1951. The University of Chicago Press published Dr. Ridge’s first book, Ignatius Donnelly: Portrait of a Politician, in 1962. He received best book awards from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association (PCB-AHA) and Phi Alpha Theta for his meticulous work on Donnelly.

Dr. Ridge’s teaching career included positions at Westminster College, San Diego State College, Indiana University, and California Institute of Technology. In addition to eleven years of teaching in Indiana, Dr. Ridge served as the editor of the Journal of American History. In 1977 he moved to California to become the director of research at  The Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino.  Dr. Ridge retired from the director’s position in 1993 but continued to serve the library as a senior research associate. In 1995 he retired from his teaching position at Cal Tech.

Dr. Ridge wrote or edited eighteen books and several essays. He received Guggenheim, Huntington Library, Newberry Library, and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships in addition to article awards. Dr. Ridge was active in many academic organizations including the Organization of American Historians and the Western Association of Women’s Historians. He was the president of the Historical Society of Southern California (1994-1999) and president of the PCB-AHA 1995).

Dr. Ridge was a founder of the Western History Association and remained an active member for over forty years. He was on the council, nominating committee, award committees, and served the WHA as the 26th President in 1986-1987.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Ridge was deeply committed to the historical profession, especially in his work with students and younger historians who researched the frontier and western history. In addition to directing numerous doctoral dissertations, Dr. Ridge emphasized the importance of being involved in a community of scholars. Martin Ridge died on September 22, 2003, in Pasadena, California.

Authored by Elaine Marie Nelson, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sources: Susan Wladaver-Morgan, “In Memoriam: Martin Ridge,” Perspectives, published by the American Historical Association, March 2004; Walter Nugent and Suellen Hoye, “Martin Ridge, 1923-2003: In Memoriam,” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 73, No. 1, February 2004; Annette Atkins, “A Curious Westerner: Martin Ridge, 1923-2003," Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No., Spring 2004.