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Minnesota Woman Awarded Iowa History Center Prize for Thesis


The Iowa History Center at Simpson College has awarded its 2018 prize for the outstanding master’s thesis in Iowa history to Abigail Hoy Nissen, a student at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Nissen was given the honor for her thesis, “The Female Voice of Enfranchisement: A Reassessment of Woman Suffrage in America,” completed as part of her M.A. degree.

She presented her research to Simpson students and faculty in early November.  The annual prize carries a plaque and $1,000.  

Nissen’s thesis reexamines the nineteenth century women’s movement in Iowa.  She argues that historians have wrongly inflated the role of Amelia Bloomer in the struggle for enfranchisement, while overlooking the importance of Annie Savery and Mary Jane Coggeshall.

These errors, Hoy Nissen believes, have painted an inaccurate picture of the woman suffrage movement in Iowa.

“We are delighted to recognize Abigail’s scholarship,” said Bill Friedricks, director of the Iowa History Center, “which pushes the narrative of Iowa woman suffrage forward.”  He added, “We were also happy to see her make extensive use of Sara Egge’s work.”  Egge was the 2009 recipient of the Iowa History Center’s master’s award and is now an assistant professor of history at Centre College in Kentucky.