Joan Paterson Kerr Award

The Western History Association announces a prize of $500 for the Joan Paterson Kerr Book Award. This award is presented annually for the best illustrated book on the history of the American West. There is a $500 prize awarded to the author/editor and a certificate goes to the press.

All submissions must have a 2020 publication date. While the formal process requires presses/journals to submit the work of their authors, the WHA strongly recommends that authors check with the award committee chair a week before the deadline to see if they received a copy of their work. Presses should submit nominations and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below. Please note that a physical copy of the book is required. 

-2021 Awards Cycle opens January 25, 2021

-2021 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2021

The WHA office sends award notifications in August. View a list of past recipients.


Carol Clark, Chair
Amherst College

1058 Walnut St.
Newton, MA 02461

Alison Fields
University of Oklahoma

1433 Greenbriar Dr.
Norman, OK 73072


James Swensen

Brigham Young University

3054 JFSB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Joan Paterson Kerr

Joan Paterson Kerr (1921- 1996): "Mrs. Kerr was a founding picture editor of American Heritage magazine. She was a co-editor of American Album, published by American Heritage, and The Romantic Egoists, a pictorial history of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. She also was a picture editor at Newsweek Books and for the Book-of-the-Month Club series "The American Past." Mrs. Kerr also compiled A Bully Father: Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children (1995), for which she wrote the biographical essay and notes." (Source: The New York Times, Nov. 22, 1996)

Past Recipients

2020 | Heather Ahtone, Faith Brower, and Seth Hopkins for Warhol and the West (University of California Press, 2019)

2019 James R. Swensen, In a Rugged Land: Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and the Three Mormon Towns Collaboration, 1953-1954 (University of Utah Press, 2018)

2018 | Steve Friesen for Lakota Performers in Europe: Their Culture and the Artifacts They Left Behind (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017)

2017 | Marian Wardle and Sarah E. Boehme for Branding the American West: Paintings and Films 1900-1950 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2016).

2015 | Sergei Kan for A Russian American photographer in Tlingit country : Vincent Soboleff in Alaska (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013)

2013 | Eric L. Muller for Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2012)

2011 | Carol Clark for Charles Deas and 1840s America (University of Oklahoma Press, 2009)

2009 | B. Byron Price for Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue RaisonnĂ© (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007)

2007 | Margot Liberty, ed. Commentary by John Woodenlegs for A Northern Cheyenne Album: Photographs by Thomas B. Marquis (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006)

2005 | Edited by Brandon K. Ruud, annotations by Marsha V. Gallagher, essays by Ron Tyler and Brandon K. Ruud, preface by J. Brooks Joyner for Karl Bodmer‘s North American Prints (Joslyn Art Museum and University of Nebraska Press, 2004)

2003 | Aron L. Crowell (Editor), Amy F. Steffian (Editor), Gordon L. Pullar (Editor) Looking Both Ways: Heritage and Identity of the Alutiiq People (University of Alaska Press, 2001)

2001 | Carlos Schwantes for Long Day‘s Journey: The Steamboat and Stagecoach Era in the Northern West (University of Washington Press, 1999). 

1999 | Mary Meagher and Douglas B. Houston for Yellowstone and the Biology of Time (University of Oklahoma Press, 1998)

1997 | Peter Hassrick and Melissa J. Webster for Frederic Remington: A Catalogue Raisonne of Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings (University of Washington Press, 1996)

1995 | Edited by David Harris with Eric Sandweiss for Eadweard Muybridge and the Photographic Panorama of San Francisco, 1850-1880 (MIT Press, 1993)

1993 | David W. Penny for Art of the American Indian Frontier: The Chandler-Pohrt Collection (University of Washington Press, 1992).

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The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

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Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860