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In recognition of the role played by Leonard Arrington and Father Francis Paul Prucha in Western American religious history, the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University funds this $500 cash prize for the best essay of the year on religious history in the West. No time period, geographic restrictions, or questions of religious persuasion apply. 

Any WHA member, publisher, or author of an essay/article may nominate work that appeared in a journal, magazine, or edited volume in 2023. Journal editors and authors may submit nominations electronically through the email addresses provided below. Submissions must be one pdf file and include the:

    1. Brief cover page (author contact information and title of submission) 
    2. Cover page of journal and copyright page
    3. Table of contents of journal/anthology 
    4. Journal article or essay

    -2024 Awards Cycle opens January 15, 2024

    -2024 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2024

    The WHA office sends notifications to selected award recipients at the end of August. 


    Mark Goldberg, Chair
    University of Houston

    Amanda Hendrix-Komoto
    Montana State University

    Martin Rizzo-Martinez

    University of California, Santa Cruz



    2023 | Gili Kliger, “Translating God on the Borders of Sovereignty," American Historical Review (September 2022)

    2022 | Eileen Luhr, "Pilgrims' Progress: 'Efficient America,' 'Spiritual India,' and America's Transnational Religious Imagination," Pacific Historical Review (Winter 2021)

    2021 | Martin Rizzo-Martinez, "'If They Do Not Fulfill What They Have Promised, I Will Accuse Them': Locating Indigenous Women and their Influence in the California Missions," Western Historical Quarterly (Fall 2020)

    2020 | Angela Pulley Hudson, “There is no Mormon Trail of Tears: Roots, Removals, and Reconstructions,” in Brian Q. Cannon and Clyde A. Milner II, eds., Reconstruction and Mormon America (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019) 

    2019 | Jay M. Price, “Assembling a Buckle of the Bible Belt: From Enclave to Powerhouse,” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Spring 2018) 

    2018 | Sarah Barringer Gordon and Jan Ships for "Fatal Convergence in the Kingdom of God: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American History," Journal of the Early Republic (Summer 2017)

    2017 | Marie Christine Duggan for "With and Without an Empire: Financing for California Missions Before and After 1810," Pacific Historical Review Vol. 85 No.1

    2016 | Louis S. Warren for "Wage Work in the Sacred Circle: The Ghost Dance as Modern Religion," The Western Historical Quarterly (Summer 2015).

    2015 | Brent Rogers for "A 'Distinction Between Mormons and Americans': Mormon Indian Missionaries, Federal Indian Policy, and the Utah War," Utah Historical Quarterly ( Fall 2014) .

    2014 | Kristine Ashton Gunnell for "The Daughters of Charity as Cultural Intermediaries: Women, Religion, and Race in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles," U.S. Catholic Historian 31, No. 2 (Spring 2013).

    2012 | Becky Mathews for “Changing Lives: Baptist Women, Benevolence, and Community on the Crow Reservation, 1904-1980,” Montana the Magazine of Western History (Summer 2011).

    2011 | Dave Hall for “A Crossroads for Mormon Women: Amy Brown Lyman, J. Reuben Clark, and the Decline of Organized Women‘s Activism in the Relief Society,” Journal of Mormon History (2010).

    2010 | Joshua Paddison for "Anti-Catholicism and Race in Post-Civil-War San Francisco,” Pacific Historical Review (Fall 2009).

    2009 | Michael Masatsugu for "'Beyond This World of Transiency and Impermanence': Japanese Americans, Dharma Bums, and the Making of American Buddhism during the Early Cold War Years,” Pacific Historical Review (August 2008).

    2008 | Anne M. Butler for “The Invisible Flock: Catholicism and the American West,” in Catholicism in the American West: A Rosary of Hidden Voices, ed. Roberto R. Treviño and Richard V. Francaviglia, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007).

    2007 | Raymond A. Bucko, S.J. for “St. Peter the Aleut: Sacred Iconography and the Iconography of Violence,” Boletín: The Journal of the California Mission Studies Association (2006).

    2006 | Anthony Mora for “Resistance and Accommodation in a Border Parish,” Western Historical Quarterly (Autumn 2005).

    2005 | Matthew J. Grow for “The Whores of Babylon and the Abomination of Abominations: Nineteenth-Century Catholic and Mormon Mutual Perceptions and Religious Identity,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture (March 2004).

    2004 | Rolf Swensen for “Pilgrims at the Golden Gate: Christian Scientists on the Pacific Coast, 1880-1915,” Pacific Historical Review (May 2003).

    2003 | Douglas Firth Anderson for “Protestantism, Progress, and Prosperity: John P. Clum and Civilizin’ the U.S. Southwest, 1871-1886,” Western Historical Quarterly (Autumn 2002).

    2002 | Gary R. Entz for "Zion Valley: The Mormon Origins of St. John, Kansas,” Kansas History (Summer 2001).

    2001 | Anne M. Butler for "Western Spaces, Catholic Places,” U.S. Catholic Historian (Fall 2000).

    2000 | Steven M. Avella for "The Catholic Church as Urban Booster in Sacramento, California, 1886–1928,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia (Spring and Summer 1999).

    1999 | Howard A. Christy for “Weather, Disaster, and Responsibility: An Essay on the Willie and Martin Handcart Story,” BYU Studies 1997-1998.



    Leonard James Arrington (b. July 2, 1917, Twin Falls, ID and d. Feb. 11, 1999, Salt Lake City, UT)) was an American author, academic and the founder of the Mormon History Association. Educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earlier at the University of Idaho, he is known as the "Dean of Mormon History" and "the Father of Mormon History" because of his many influential contributions to the field.

    Francis Paul Prucha (1921-2015) U.S. Indian Policy historian Francis Paul Prucha was the twenty-second historian to serve as President of the Western History Association . He served from 1982 to 1983. The author of numerous articles and reviews and over twenty books on Indian policy including American Indian Policy In The Form ative Years: The Indian Trade and Intercourse Acts, 1780-1834 (1962), Indian Policy in the United States : Historical Essays (1981), and Atlas of American Indian Affairs (1990), Father Prucha is perhaps best known for  his comprehensive work The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (1984). In 1985 The Great Father was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history and received the Organization of American Historians (OAH) Ray Allen Billington Prize for best book in American frontier history.

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