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The Western History Association benefits from the generosity of donors who have honored the legacy of scholars, members, and individuals from the western history community. Each year the WHA presents over 30 awards, fellowships, and scholarships to scholars, public historians, graduate students, and members of the historical profession. The organization has a long history of recognizing the research and teaching that strengthens the field of the North American West. Submission deadlines are in the spring and summer and award notifications are submitted in the fall. Please visit each award page for deadlines, committees, and past recipients. 

Each award committee consists of at least three individuals who serve a three-year term at the request of the WHA President. An active WHA membership is required of each committee member and committee chair. Contact award committee chairs or the WHA office with questions and inquiries about specific awards. 


Bert M. Fireman and Janet Fireman Award

This $1000 award recognizes the best student article published in the WHQ

Arrell M. Gibson Award

This $500 prize honors the best essay of the year on the history of Native Americans. 

Arrington-Prucha Prize

This $500 prize recognizes the best essay of the year on religious history in the American West. 

Michael P. Malone Award

This $500 award honors the best article, essay, or commentary on state, provincial, or territorial history in North America appearing in a periodical publication.

Vicki Ruiz Award

This $500 prize recognizes the best article on race in the North American West. Any WHA member, publisher, or author of a peer-reviewed article may nominate work that was published in a previous year. 

Bolton-Cutter Award

The $500 award recognizes the best journal article on any phase of the history of the Borderlands.

Jensen-Miller Award

This is a $500 award for the best article in the field of women and gender in the North American West. 

Ray Allen Billington Prize

This $500 award honors the best journal article in Western history not published in the WHQ. 

Oscar O. Winther Award

The $500 award recognizes the best article published in the WHQ.


Autry Public History Prize

A $1000 award for the best model of professional public history practice in the history of the American West.

Caughey Western History Prize

This $2500 award honors the best book in Western History.

Sally and Ken Owens Award

This is a $500 award for best book on the history of the Pacific West (including Alaska, Hawaii, Western Canada, and the U.S. Pacific Territories).

David J. Weber Prize

This $2500 award is given to the author of the best non-fiction book on Southwestern America. 

Joan Paterson Kerr Award

The $500 award recognizes the best illustrated book on the American West.

Donald L. Fixico Award

This $1000 award recognizes innovative work in the field of American Indian and Canadian First Nations History.

W. Turrentine Jackson Award

This $1000 prize is awarded to the best first published book on the American West.

Dwight L. Smith (ABC-CLIO) Award

This is a $500 award for a bibliographic or research work in Western History.

Robert M. Utley Prize

The $500 award honors the best book on military history of the frontier and western North America.

Hal K. Rothman Award

The $500 award honors the best book in western environmental history.

Robert G. Athearn Award

A $500 award for best book on the Twentieth-Century West.

John C. Ewers Award

The $500 award is for the best book on the topic of North American Indian Ethnohistory.


Walter Rundell Graduate Student Award

This $1500 award supports dissertation research for doctoral candidates who have completed comprehensive examinations.

Sara Jackson Graduate Student Award 

The $500 award supports graduate student research. Preference will be given to African American or other students of color.

Indian Student Conference Scholarship

Each $500 award supports Native American student attendees at the WHA conference.

Louise Pubols Public History Prize

This $500 award offsets the travel expenses for a public historian to attend the WHA conference.

Beverly Purrington/Richard White Western History Dissertation Prize

This $500 award is given to the best dissertation on the history of the North American West, in its varied aspects and broadest sense, defended and filed in the preceding calendar year. Authors must be WHA members.

WHA Graduate Student Prize

The prize covers substantial travel support to foster graduate student professional development and enhance citizenship within the organization.

WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship

The $3500 award supports a month-long research fellowship in residence at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Western History Disability Studies and Disabled Scholar Award

This $1,000 prize supports two graduate students who are either working in the fields of disability studies and western history OR identify as disabled and wish to attend the WHA conference with financial assistance.

Trennert-Iverson Conference Scholarship

Each $500 scholarship supports graduate student attendees at the WHA conference.


Gordon Bakken Award of Merit

The Award of Merit is given annually to recognize the work and dedication of our incredible WHA members.

Charles Redd Center Teaching Western History Award

This $1,000 award is given to four K-12 Teachers to attend the WHA conference.

Presidential Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

Presidential Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards are selected annually by the WHA President.


WHA members have access to the WHA's award archives where they can see recipient lists and award programs up to the present. 



The WHA also recognizes the recipients of honors from affiliated groups and organizations including the Indian Scholar's Lunch "American Indian Lifetime Achievement Award" and the Coalition for Western Women's History annual prizes.  


Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!