Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Congratulations, Bill and Jared and Tom, et al.

Congratulations, Bill and Jared and Tom, et al.

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 17, 2009

The Utah State History conference tonight made its annual awards, with two of the most prestigious going to William P. MacKinnon, a good friend and sometime Keepa participant and guest author. His awards:

Dale L. Morgan Award for his article “‘Sex, Subalterns, and Steptoe’: Army Behavior, Mormon Rage, and Utah War Anxieties,” published in Utah Historical Quarterly, Summer 2008.

Smith-Pettit Foundation Best Documentary Book in Utah History Award for his book At Sword’s Point, Part 1: A Documentary History of the Utah War to 1858, published by the Arthur H. Clark Company/University of Oklahoma Press.

Other worthy awards with some element of Mormon content are:

Best Utah History Article Award, to Thomas G. Alexander, for “‘Carpetbaggers, Reprobates, and Liars’: Federal Judges and the Utah War (1857-1858), published in The Historian, Summer 2008.

Francis Armstrong Madsen Best Utah History Book Award, to Jared Farmer, for On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape, published by Harvard University Press.

Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Award, to Robert S. McPherson and John Fahey, for “‘Seeing Is Believing’: The Odyssey of the Pectol Shields,” published in Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 2008.



  1. Congrats to all winners. Thanks for posting this, Ardis.

    Comment by Christopher — September 17, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  2. Amen to Christopher’s comments.

    Comment by Maurine — September 18, 2009 @ 12:21 am

  3. Very cool. Thanks for the heads up!

    Comment by Randy B. — September 18, 2009 @ 6:58 am

  4. Congratulations to Bill and all the others!

    Comment by Researcher — September 18, 2009 @ 7:52 am

  5. As an amateur, I was feeling pretty good about understanding just the titles of the articles …until I got to the last one. What is a Pectol Shield?

    Comment by Clark — September 18, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  6. Ah! Ephraim Pectol, a local church leader in southern Utah, excavated three buffalo hide shields (just what the word implies — defensive battle gear) in 1926 in what is now Capitol Reef National Park. He interpreted them as ancient Nephite gear, of course, and displayed them in his home museum. (To be fair to him, he wasn’t your average pot hunter looting artifacts as we understand that today; he did his best according to the poor standards of that day, and he is usually credited with moving the nation to create a national park designation for Capitol Reef).

    In more recent years, the Navajo Nation claimed them as sacred, ancient artifacts. The winning article explores the 20th century history of the shields and goes through the Navajo (and other tribal) claims.

    My prejudices go very strongly against the credibility of claims based on oral tradition when there is something of scientific or monetary value at stake. This article was the first thing I’ve ever read that convinced me that, after applying certain scholarly standards, Native oral traditions may very well be credible. The Navajoes provided a detailed chain of ownership of those shields from the 17th century onward — they knew what they were, and how they were used, and even how they came to be buried where they were found. In 2005 the shields were turned over to Navajo custody.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 18, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  7. I am told I am churlish for omitting mention of a prize awarded to one more author for an article promoting his personal view of Mormonism:

    Nick Yengich Memorial Editors’ Choice Award, to David L. Bigler for “‘A Lion in the Path’: Genesis of the Utah War, 1857-1858,” published in Utah Historical Quarterly, Winter 2008.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 18, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  8. Massacre at Mountain Meadows didn’t win any thing?

    Comment by Marcello Jun de Oliveira — September 18, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  9. There are only two book awards — Best Book and Best Documentary — so, no.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 18, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  10. I don’t mean to understate the importance of Massacre at Mountain Meadows at all, but in my opinion, Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount is indeed the better book on a number of levels.

    Comment by Christopher — September 18, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

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