The State Historical Society of Missouri will award Center for Missouri Studies fellowships in 2022 to scholars working on projects examining post–World War II immigration in southwest Missouri and the role of police matrons, predecessors to policewomen, who served in cities and towns across the state.
Craig R. Amason, special projects coordinator for the Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University in Springfield, will receive a fellowship for his proposed study, “The Impact of Immigration in McDonald County in the Twenty-First Century.” McDonald, in Missouri’s southwest corner, has become home to immigrant and refugee populations from Central and South America, Somalia, Sudan, Micronesia, and Myanmar. Many of these newcomers work at poultry processing facilities in the multi-state Ozarks region.
Amason’s study will examine the impact of immigrant groups on the economy, politics, and social and religious fabric of McDonald County and southwest Missouri. He plans to conduct oral history interviews with local leaders, business owners, social workers, immigrants, and refugees while also making use of census data and other government sources.
Connie Yen, director of the Greene County Archives and Records Center in Springfield, has received a fellowship to study the history of police matrons in Missouri. Several Missouri cities, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin, St. Joseph, and others, added police matrons to their police departments beginning in the late nineteenth century, often as a result of pressure applied by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Police matrons typically supervised women prisoners and also worked with juveniles, in an era when police departments did not yet employ policewomen.
Amason and Yen will hold their appointments for the 2022 calendar year. Each will write a scholarly essay for possible publication in the Missouri Historical Review, the quarterly journal of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and may also make a public presentation of their work. Each fellowship award includes a stipend of $5,000. New topics for the fellowships are introduced each year.
Launched in 2015, the Center for Missouri Studies Fellowships underwrite valuable scholarship about Missouri’s past, including the interdisciplinary study of Missouri history and culture. “I am looking forward to the new insights these scholars will bring to our understanding of Missouri and its history,” said Gary Kremer, SHSMO executive director. “We offer the fellowships each year to encourage study of facets of our history that deserve more exploration and promise to open new windows onto our past.”