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Aid and Awards

Research Paper Awards

The Department of History awards several prizes each spring to students who have submitted exceptional writing for a Vanderbilt history course throughout the academic year.

This year the deadline for submissions for the essay prize competition is April 26th. All essays must be submitted by a faculty member.

Henry Lee Swint Award

To the author of the best research paper or essay in any field of history. This competition is open only to undergraduate history majors and excludes history honors theses.

Samuel T. McSeveney Award

To the author of the best research paper or essay in Law, History, and Society. This award was established in 2001 by Professor Samuel T. McSeveney.

Dewey Grantham Award

To the author of the best honors thesis in the history department. Named for the late Professor Dewey Grantham, this award has been presented each year since Spring 1997.

2020 Winner: Mary E. Tezak, “The Hatay belongs to us”: Defining Community in the Sanjak of Alexandretta, 1915-1940,”  (Julia Cohen (advisor), Emily Greble, Joel Harrington.) Highest Honors and Winner of the Grantham Prize for 2020. 

2019 Winner:   Halee Robinson, "For My Children's Sake: Enslaved Women and the Idea of Home in Nineteenth-Century Tennessee," (Byrd, Williams, Taylor, Tuchman). Awarded: Highest Honors. 

2018 Cameron Rohall, “‘In Short, I am a West Indian’: Planters, Performance, Anxiety, and Abolition in Georgian Britain,” (Molineux, Epstein, Wright-Rios). 

2017 Robert Yee, “Commerce and Corporate Governance: Financial Attempts to Restructure the British East India Company, 1765-1773,” (Caferro, Sheikh, Wcislo). 

Cecily Larison
, “A Look Rather than a Reality: Feminism, Bras, and the Politics of Commodification,” Adviser: Paul Kramer
Talley, Mark Christian, “Forgotten Vanguard: The Origins and Mission of the National Council for United States-China Trade, 1972-1980,” Adviser: Thomas A. Schwartz

2015 Danielle Jessup Beaujon, “Coming ‘Home’: Repatriation in the Bouches-du-Rhône, 1962-1970,” Adviser: Lauren Clay.


2013 Helen Li, “Culture Card: The Beijing Olympics and the Politics of Mega-Events,” Advisor: Gerald Figal.

2012 Sandra Michelle Jensen, “Curiosities on the Cumberland: Early Nineteenth-Century Museums in Nashville, Tennessee,” Advisor: Catherine Molineux.

2011 Kathryn Manza, “‘For the Poor, the Sick and the Needy’: How Socially Conscious Catholic Priests Navigated the Birth Control Debate in the U.S. in the Early Twentieth Century,” Advisor: Arleen M. Tuchman.

2010 Stephanie Lynn Freeman, “‘The Highest Stakes Poker Game Ever Played’: Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Reykjavik Summit of 1986,” Advisor: Thomas A. Schwartz.

2009 Melanie Carol Erb, “The Rhetoric of Reform: Metaphors of Disease in John Howard’s The State of the Prisons,” Advisor: Professor James Epstein.

2008 Conrey Callahan; "The Impact of the Spanish Civil War on Argentine Nationalist Intellectual Thought," Advisor: Professor Marshall Eakin.

2007 Gregory Roberts; "From Other Worldly to Worldly: Materialism, Anomie, and the Decline of Catharism's Charismatic Appeal," Advisor: Professor Bill Caferro.

2006 Ty Johannes; “The Other Side of the Prism: Explaining and Refuting the Image of a Weak and Indecisive Jimmy Carter,” Advisor: Instructor Breck Walker.

2005 Vreni Schoenenberger; “Staring at the Ground: Examining the Wider History of International Health Cooperation through the Indian Plague of 1896 and Trypanosomiasis in, 1900-1908,” Advisor: Professor Ruth Rogaski.

2004 Jonathan Michael Davis; “The Great Flood of 1937 In Louisville : a reconsideration of New Deal politics in a Southern City,” Advisor: Professor David Carlton.

2003 Two Awards: Megan Hektner; “’We Wanted to Sew Our History’: The Arpillera Movement, Motherhood, and Political Mobilization in Chile,” Advisor Professor Marshall Eakin, and, Ryan Crosswell; “In the Shade of Palmetto: Reconstruction, South Carolina , and David T. Corbin,” Advisor: Professor David Carlton.

2002 Two Awards: Sarah Fried; “Constructing the Self: Female Identity Development in the Turn-of-the-Century South,” Advisor: Professor Rebecca Plant, and, Justin Memmott; “Selective Silences: The Story of the American Press and Mein Kampf, 1933-1939,” Advisor: Professor Tom Schwartz.

2001 Two Awards: Lauren O’Neill; “Homemade: Domestic Bids and the Craft of Jimmy Carter’s Israeli-Egyptian Diplomacy,” Advisor: Professor Tom Schwartz, and, Lauren Ellis; “Preserving the Social Myth?: The United Steelworkers Strike at the Nashville Corporation in 1947,” Advisor: Professor Hugh Graham.

2000 No award given this year.

1999 Matthew Hanna; “The American Embassy: Catalyst for the 1965 Dominican Intervention,” Advisor: Professor Tom Schwartz.

1998 Andrew Hawken Hall; “The Last Days of Pirates,” Advisor: Professor Jane Landers.

1997 Two Awards: Clara J. Holloway; “’Hasten the Inevitable Day of Freedom’: The Carter Administration and Namibian Independence, 1977-1981,” Advisor: Professor Thomas Schwartz, and, Hilary D’Lacy Fey; “A Study of Heritage in Britain: From the Falklands War to Windsor Castle, ” Advisor: Professor James Epstein.

Economic History Award

To the author of the best research paper or essay written by an economics and history major. Excludes history honors theses.

Paul K. Conkin Award

To the author of the best paper in U.S. history. This competition is open to all undergraduate students but excludes history honors theses.

Award Requirements

  • All papers must be double-spaced without instructor comments.
  • Attach a coversheet indicating the class for which the paper was written (course number, course title, term, and instructor) and the award for which it should be considered.
  • The paper cannot be revised from the version that was graded for class.
  • An entry may be considered for more than one award if it meets the eligibility criteria, but each student can submit only one essay per award.
  • Email submissions