Lewis E. Atherton Prizes

The Lewis E. Atherton Prizes are awarded to an outstanding doctoral dissertation and master's thesis on Missouri history or biography. Criteria for selection include originality of subject matter or methodology, effective use of sources, clarity of style, and contribution to the understanding of Missouri history.

The Lewis E. Atherton Prizes honor an outstanding scholar of the history of Missouri, the South, and the West who taught at the University of Missouri and served as a trustee and president of the State Historical Society of Missouri.

The winner of the dissertation award will receive a $1,000 check and a certificate, and the winner of the thesis award will receive a $500 check and a certificate. The checks and certificates will be presented at SHSMO's annual meeting .


Nominations must be made by the department that granted the degree, and no more than two nominations for each prize are accepted annually from a department. For the 2024 prizes, nominees must have completed a doctoral degree or the master's degree between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.

The awards are given at the discretion of the Lewis E. Atherton Prize Committee, whose members are selected by the executive director of SHSMO.

Four copies of the thesis or dissertation and a letter of nomination that includes full contact information for the department and the nominee should be personally delivered or postmarked by June 30, 2024, to:

Lewis E. Atherton Prizes
The State Historical Society of Missouri
605 Elm Street
Columbia, MO 65201

For further information, contact SHSMO at (573) 882-7083 or contact@shsmo.org.

Lewis E. Atherton Prize Recipients

  • 2023
    • Patrick Ayres, "The Conservative Heart of the Nation: Political Conservatism in the Civil War Era West" (PhD Dissertation, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale)
  • 2022
    • Elizabeth Eikmann, "In Her Image: Photography, Whiteness, and Womanhood in St. Louis, 1877-1920" (PhD dissertation, St. Louis University)
  • 2021
    • Jeff Stilley, "Solidarity Infrastructure: Gender and Race Solidarity and Cross-Class Coalitions in the Kansas City General Strike of 1918" (PhD dissertation, University of Missouri–Columbia)
  • 2020
    • Elisabeth Frances George, "Lesbian and Gay Life in the Queen City and Beyond: Resistance, Space, and Community Mobilization in the Southwest Missouri Ozarks" (PhD dissertation, University at Buffalo)
  • 2019
    • Patrick Ayres, "Embattled Conservatism: Hamilton Gamble and Conservatism in Civil War Missouri" (MA thesis, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville)
  • 2017
    • Anna K. Roberts, "Finding Their Place in an American City: Perspectives on African Americans and French Creoles in Antebellum St. Louis" (MA thesis, College of William and Mary)
  • 2016
    • Heidi Dodson, "'We Cleared the Land with Our Own Hands': Space and Place in African American Community Building and Freedom Struggles in the Missouri Bootheel, 1890-1968" (PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • 2015
    • Matthew C. Hulbert, "Guerrilla Memory: Irregular Recollections from the Civil War Borderlands" (PhD dissertation, University of Georgia)
    • Stanley Maxson, "'Up to Freedom': Slavery, Emancipation and the Making of Freedom in Howard County, Missouri, 1860 to 1865" (MA thesis, University of Missouri–Columbia)
  • 2014
    • William M. Snodgrass, "Order in the Marketplace: Commercial Organizations in Antebellum St. Louis" (PhD dissertation, University of Missouri–Columbia)
    • Doug Genens, "Family Matters: Casework, Manhood, and the Bureau for Homeless Men, St. Louis, 1925-40" (MA thesis, University of Missouri–Columbia)
  • 2013
    • Michael Dudley Robinson, "Fulcrum of the Union: The Border South and the Secession Crisis, 1859-1861" (PhD dissertation, Louisiana State University)
  • 2012
    • Megan Boccardi, "Remembering in Black and White: Missouri Women's Memorial Work, 1860-1910" (PhD dissertation, University of Missouri)
    • Sarah McCune, "With the Intention of Destroying Her Life: Women, Suicide and the Limits of Respectability in St. Louis, Missouri, 1875-1900" (MA thesis, University of Missouri)
  • 2011
    • April E. Holm, "A Kingdom Divided: Border Evangelicals in the Civil War Era, 1837-1894" (PhD dissertation, Columbia University)
    • Steven P. Stuckey, "Fighting for Family: French Kin Networks and the American Revolution in the Illinois Country, 1780-1781” (MA thesis, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
  • 2010
    • Keona Ervin, "'A Decent Living Out of Our Work': Black Women's Labor Activism in St. Louis, 1929-45" (PhD dissertation, Washington University)
  • 2009
    • Adam Arenson, "City of Manifest Destiny: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War, 1848-1877" (PhD dissertation, Yale University)
    • Peter K. Johnson, "The Origins and Nature of Indian Slavery in Colonial St. Louis" (MA thesis, University of Central Missouri)
  • 2008
    • Ken Mueller, "Benton and the People: White Nationalism on the Jacksonian Frontier, 1782-1848" (PhD dissertation, St. Louis University
    • Benjamin Israel, "Putting Black in Blue: The Struggle to Put Uniformed African American Police Officers on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department" (MA thesis, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
  • 2007
    • Amahia K. Mallea, "Rivers Running Through: An Urban Environmental History of the Kansas Cities and the Missouri River" (PhD dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia)
    • Joseph M. Beilein Jr., "'The Presence of These Families is the Cause of the Presence There of the Guerrillas': The Influence of Little Dixie Households on the Civil War in Missouri" (MA thesis, University of Missouri-Columbia)
  • 2006
    • Michele Lansdown, "The Defeat of the 1914 Missouri Woman Suffrage Initiative" (MA thesis, Missouri State University, Springfield)
  • 2005
    • Diane Mutti Burke, "On Slavery's Borders: Slavery and Slaveholding on Missouri's Farms, 1821-1865" (PhD dissertation, Emory University)
  • 2004
    • No nominations received
  • 2003
    • Lisa Guinn, "'Building Useful Women' from the Depths of Poverty: A Social History of the Girls' Industrial Home and School in St. Louis, Missouri, 1853-1935" (PhD diss., Oklahoma State University)
  • 2002
    • Amahia Mallea, "Progressive Kansas City and the Missouri River" (MA thesis, University of Missouri-Columbia)
  • 2001
    • Jay H. Buckley, "William Clark: Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, 1813-1838" (PhD diss., University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • 2000
    • Petra DeWitt, "Fighting The Kaiser at Home: Anti-German Sentiment In Missouri During World War I" (MA thesis, Truman State University)