2024 Award Citations


Senior Scholar

The 2024 Publication Award Committee is pleased to announce the Senior Scholar winner of the Ohio Academy of History Publication Award. This year’s winner, The Fifth Star: Ohio’s Fight for Women’s Right to Vote, by Jamie C. Capuzza, is beautifully written and eloquently argued history of Ohio women’s role in the long struggle for women’s suffrage between Reconstruction and 1920. The “fifth star” refers to Ohio’s place on the ratification flag in 1919, but Capuzzo’s history demonstrates that Ohio women had long been active, even at times national leaders, in the suffrage battle. As impressive as Capuzza’s command of extensive historical records and primary sources related to a plethora of leading Ohio women, is her sustained attention to the intersections between women’s suffrage, African American suffrage, and temperance. Capuzza’s novel-like prose makes a clear and sophisticated argument, and presents a fresh and compelling look at Ohio, at political organizing, and at the ebb and flow of Ohio’s influence as a leading suffragist state.

Junior Scholar

The 2024 Publication Award Committee is pleased to announce the Junior Scholar winner of the Ohio Academy of History Publication Award. This year’s winner, Entangled Encounters at the National Zoo: Stories from the Animal Archives, by Daniel Vandersommers, is a moving and eye-opening history of the National Zoo through the lens of animal studies. By taking this approach, Vandersommers has uncovered a series of unusual and unexpected stories about science and citizen science, about activism and conservation, and about animals and the fascinating ways that zoos curate and challenge our animal encounters. His anecdotes are quite moving and for those of us who have been to the National Zoo, these stories add a richness (and perhaps a sorrow) to that place that a mere visit would never uncover. Vandersommers weaves a keen eye for detail with a sharp understanding of the history of ideas into a paradoxical story of Americans and their animals.


The Ohio Academy is delighted to award this year’s Teaching Prize to Professor Heather Tanner of the Ohio State University campus at Mansfield. She is highly qualified for this prize. Her doctorate is from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and she has taught at Mansfield since 2001. Her specialization is the field of Medieval History, but since 2001 she has taught nineteen different classes on different time periods, with high enrollments and enthusiastic student evaluations. She has served on the Curriculum Committee and the Undergraduate Teaching Committee; she has also served as the faculty advisor for the History Club and the History Program Coordinator. In her courses, students are challenged to explore primary documents online and in paper sources; to create historical websites; to learn how to evaluate historical arguments; to understand developments in the historiography; and to have dialogues with other students about the world of ideas. The intellectual rigor of her classes is matched by her deep concern for her students, who consistently praise her as an inspiring, caring, engaged instructor. Many congratulations to Professor Tanner.


Youngstown State

“Hearing Our Voices: Discovering Black Youngstown” is an outstanding contribution to public history in Ohio. This exhibit now at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor documents the stories of people of color from the 1840s through the present day, using oral histories, photographs, and material objects. Meticulously researched in collaboration with Youngstown’s Black community, the result is a multivocal multilayered exhibit that demonstrates how community partnerships create richer, deeper, more meaningful histories. A product of a team helmed by Dr. Donna DeBlasio, a pre-eminent practitioner in the field, in conjunction with the work of her students Becky Jasinski, Sabrina Krause, Lukas McCoy, Viktoria Paliokovich, Emily Treharn, and Gabriella Vass-Gal, and support from others, “Hearing Our Voices” is a model for historians engaging with and for the public.

Kent State University

Matthew Crawford’s work on the Liquid Crystal Oral History Project at Kent State University illuminates the history of recent science and innovation as well as emphasizes Northeast Ohio’s identity as a region of scientific advancements and technological innovation. The Liquid Crystal Oral History Project has conducted twenty-three oral history interviews with current and former faculty, staff, alumni, and associates of the LCI. Interviews are typically two to three hours in length and provide a biographical portrait of the interviewee’s life in science from their early interest in science through to undergraduate and graduate education to their careers in academic, industry, and government. Together, these interviews shed light on a technology used daily by millions of Americans. Liquid crystals can be found in everything from televisions, computer monitors and laptop screens, quick-read thermometers, digital watches and fitness trackers, and myriad other everyday items.


Dr. Jason Tingler (PhD, Clark University) is a History Instructor and Course Coordinator at Marion Technical College. His project, Mosaic of Destruction: The Holocaust and Interethnic Relations in Chelm, Poland, 1939-1947, examines the roles of German Nazi occupiers, Jewish inhabitants, and the people among whom the Jewish population lived. Tingler investigates the experiences of Nazi occupation and daily life among a multiethnic population of Jewish people, Poles, Ukrainians, and ethnic Germans in the community. Dr. Tingler uses a wide array of records and documents, including Nazi police and administrative records, contemporary diaries, and postwar trials. His conclusions are chilling: the formerly amiable relations between an array of ethnic groups eroded under Nazi occupation, devolving into a campaign of ethnic cleansing targeting the Jewish residents. By the end of the war, Chlem was no longer multiethnic: the Jewish population had been largely murdered, the ethnic Germans fled the city upon the Soviet military, and the Ukrainian population was deported after the war. This award will fund research in the Washington, D.C. area, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. National Archives in College Park, MD.


Last fall, the Dissertation Award Committee received several strong nominations of excellent dissertations completed in the previous academic year. After a careful evaluation of these nominated dissertations, the Award Committee has unanimously concluded that Dr. Katherine Ranum’s “Hearing the Gospel in a Silent World: Faith, Disability, and Anomalous Bodies in the British Atlantic, 1680-1860” is truly extraordinary and worthy of the OAH Annual Outstanding Dissertation Award. The Committee has noted in particular that Dr. Ranum’s dissertation stands out with its groundbreaking conceptualizations, methodical research, clear and provocative arguments, sharp analysis, innovative application of various theories, and skillful writing. In the University of Cincinnati’s nomination letter for Dr. Ranum’s dissertation, Dr. Erica Gasser has provided a compelling explanation for why Dr. Ranum’s dissertation is so exceptional. Dr. Gasser writes that Dr. Ranum’s “dissertation uses disability as an angle of approach to a range of Christian and Jewish traditions from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. This expansive scope allowed her to examine comparative meanings of bodily manifestations of faith among Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans across a vast early America.” Significantly, Dr. Gasser continues, “While disability’s history has gained considerable attention in recent years, particularly in the medieval and modern periods, fewer scholars have explored the theories and methods of disability history in the early modern contexts that Katherine investigates.” Because of this, Dr. Gasser believes that Dr. Ranum’s dissertation “contains significant insights about the material and discursive meanings of bodies for devotional languages, rituals, and identities. Most excitingly, by focusing on how various faiths struggled to assign spiritual meaning to non-normative bodies, Katherine’s work models ways for scholars to access the interior lives of diverse subjects . . .”. While completely concurring with Dr. Gasser’s observation and assessment, the Award Committee expects that Dr. Ranum’s study will make a significant contribution to her field, and looks forward to its further development and publication as a monograph.

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