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Master’s Thesis Award

Master’s Thesis Award

Abigail E. Hoy Nissen


The Iowa History Center at Simpson College is pleased to congratulate Abigail E. Hoy Nissen as the 2018 recipient of our prize for the outstanding master’s thesis in Iowa history.  Her award-winning thesis, “The Female Voice of Enfranchisement: A Reassessment of Woman Suffrage in Iowa,” was completed at Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can read Abigail's thesis here: Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

The Center now seeks nominations for the outstanding master’s thesis in Iowa history for 2020.  Selection will be based on contribution to the knowledge of Iowa history; originality of the subject matter or methodology; use of sources; and written expression.  Nominees must have completed their master’s degree between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020.

The winner will be announced in the fall of 2020 and will receive a $1,000 cash prize and an award plaque.  Three copies of the thesis and a brief letter of nomination from the thesis advisor, which must include contact information for the nominee, should be submitted to Bill Friedricks, Director, Iowa History Center, Simpson College, 701 North C Street, Indianola, IA 50125.  Application deadline is June 30, 2020.

For further information, please contact Linda Sinclair, (515) 961-1528 or linda.sinclair@simpson.edu.

Past Recipients:

Dwain Coleman2017: Dwain Coleman, Iowa State University

The IHC 2017 Master’s Award winner was Dwain Coleman for his thesis "Still in the Fight: The Struggle for Community in the Upper Midwest for African American Civil War Veterans". The thesis was completed at Iowa State University and examines African American Civil War veterans who settled in Newton, Iowa. “Dwain’s work sheds light on an understudied and underappreciated aspect of Iowa’s history. We are pleased to give this research some of the attention it deserves,” said Daryl Sasser, assistant director of the Center. Coleman is currently a Ph.D. student in the history department at the University of Iowa. His research explores the creation of post-emancipation African American communities in the Midwest. You can read Dwain's thesis here.


2016: Seth Hedquist, Iowa State University

Seth Hedquist was the 2016 recipient of the Iowa History Center’s annual award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Iowa History. Hedquist received his MA in history from Iowa State University in the winter of 2015 and was recognized for his thesis, “The chronicles of agrimusic.” You can read Hedquist's thesis here.

Hope Mitchell with Bill Friedricks

2014: Hope Mitchell, Iowa State University

Ankeny native Hope Mitchell was the 2014 recipient of the Iowa History Center’s annual award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Iowa History. Mitchell received her MA in history from Iowa State University in the spring of 2014 and was recognized for her thesis, “Sacrificing our Daughters: Changing Perceptions of Prostitution in Iowa, 1880-1915.” You can read Hope's thesis here.

Eric Zimmer and Bill Friedricks

2013: Eric Zimmer, University of Iowa

The IHC 2013 Master’s Award winner was Eric Zimmer for his thesis "Settlement Sovereignty: Land and Meskwaki Self-Governance 1856-1937". Eric's focus is on 20th century America, especially relating to Native Americans, politics, and federal/state Indian policy. He is also deeply interested in public history and connecting academic historians' work with a broader audience. You can read Eric's thesis here.

Garret Wilson and Bill Friedricks

2012: Garret Wilson, Iowa State University

Garret Wilson received the 2012 IHC prize for his thesis, “The Collapse of the Iowa Democratic Party: Iowa and the Lecompton Constitution.” Wilson reexamines the collapse of the Iowa Democratic Party, and challenges the view that its general demise was connected to the effects of Kansas-Nebraska Act. Instead, Wilson focuses specifically on the Lecompton Constitution, which he argues led to divisions within the party. This allowed Republicans to take political control of the state by the end of the 1850s.

Pam Stek and Bill Friedricks

2010: Pam Stek, University of Iowa

Sara Egge and Bill Friedricks

2009: Sara Egge, Iowa State University


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