2012 Joel Palmer Award

Winner:

“A Lovely but Unpredictable River: Frances Fuller Victor's Early Life and Writing”
Spring 2011

by Sheri Bartlett Browne

Frances Fuller Victor (1826–1902) was a significant historian of Oregon and the Far West in the late nineteenth century. She already was a successful author before making her home in Oregon in 1864. Examining Victor’s poetry, essays, and travel accounts written as a young woman, historian Sheri Bartlett Browne makes two compelling claims: Victor’s life and writing must be placed within a larger cultural and historical context of American women’s literary contributions; and Victor’s early works form an important intellectual bridge to her later perceptive analyses of Oregon and the West.

Sheri Bartlett Browne is an associate professor of history and women’s studies at Tennessee State University in Nashville. Originally from Reno, Nevada, she earned a B.A. from Lewis & Clark College and a Ph.D. in History form the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Eva Emery Dye: Romance with the West and is presently writing an intellectual biography of Frances Fuller Victor.

 

Honorable Mentions

"‘Hardly a Family is Free From the Disease’: Tuberculosis, Health Care, and Assimilation Policy on the Nez Perce Reservation, 1908–1942”
Summer 2011

by Elizabeth James

Tuberculosis emerged as an epidemic disease on American Indian reservations during the late nineteenth century, when government agents and officials often understood the disease in terms of race or societal evolution. Constrained by such cultural assumptions, several individuals nonetheless devoted themselves to fighting tuberculosis within Indians populations. On the Nez Perce Reservation, Agent Oscar Lipps and John N. Alley, M.D., equated assimilation with good health and opened an experimental sanitarium boarding school to combat tuberculosis. Historian Elizabeth James examines how the assimilation policies they concurrently sought to enforce may have contributed to tuberculosis rates through social disorder and instability. Tuberculosis remained a serious problem until the development of drug therapy in the middle of the twentieth century, which coincided with the displacement of assimilation as official federal policy.

Elizabeth James is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her specialty is American Indian history, and she also teaches courses in U.S. women’s history, Gilded Age and Progressive Era America, and the U.S. between the two world wars. She is currently investigating the role of the Native newspaper, Tundra Times, in the state of Alaska.

"‘Hop Fever’ in the Willamette Valley: The Local and Global Roots of a Regional Specialty Crop“
Winter 2011

by Peter A. Kopp

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hops — a central ingredient in beer-making — were the most important specialty crop in the Willamette Valley. Farmers began planting the crop just after the Civil War, and success resulted from ideal environmental conditions, an established agricultural infrastructure that dated to the 1820s, new technologies including railroads, and unending cultural desires for beer. Oregon hops offered small farmers cash income and brewers near and far the spice of their beer. Historian Peter A. Kopp examines the environmental and cultural origins of the Willamette Valley hop industry, arguing that the specialty crop offered economic diversity and a strong sense of community for the region’s residents while at the same time connecting local agriculture to urban beer production as well as people and materials across the world.

Peter A. Kopp has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor and the Director of Public History at New Mexico State University. He is a scholar of environmental history and the history of the American West, with a particular focus on agriculture. In the past few years the topics of his publications and presentations have ranged from early Nevada tourism to the rise of the Grateful Dead as a voice of political activism in the 1980s. Kopp is currently working on various related public history projects and a book manuscript based on his dissertation, called Hoptopia: Agriculture, Beer, and Place in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.