FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2005
Contact: Maribeth Cowan, Public Relations Director
(804) 342-9665 email:
VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ANNUAL SERVICE AND SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Richmond, VA–During its annual meeting on April 23, 2005, the Virginia Historical Society presented its annual awards recognizing scholarship and service.
The Brenton S. Halsey Teaching Excellence Award was given to Sally Ryan Burgess, a history and government teacher at Virginia Randolph Community High School in Henrico County. The award is named in honor of Brenton S. Halsey, former president and long-time friend of the Society. Ms. Burgess, the ninth recipient of the award, holds a master's degree in history from the University of Richmond. She is especially noted for motivating non-traditional students to achieve beyond expectations and for her mentorship to those without positive role models.
Alice Gissinger, a student at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, received the Bobby Chandler Student Award. This award is given each year to a deserving secondary school history student who demonstrates knowledge, creativity, and research skill in using primary source material. Ms. Gissinger's Advanced Placement American history class paper, "Transatlantic Transcendentalism," challenged the uniquely American origins of New England Transcendentalism, tracing the movement instead to European Romanticism.
The William M. E. Rachal Award for overall best article in the Society's quarterly journal, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, was presented to University of South Florida history and anthropology professor, Philip Levy. In his article, "A New Look at an Old Wall: Indians, Englishmen, Landscape, and the 1634 Palisade at Middle Plantation," Levy makes a convincing argument for the undeniable interrelatedness of colonial expansion and Indian exclusion and offers a compelling model for combining archaeological, military, environmental, and Native American history.
Warren Billings received the Richard Slatten Prize for Excellence in Virginia Biography, for his recent book, Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia, the first biography ever written on the famous Virginia governor. Thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of Kathleen L. Slatten, the award was established in 1997 to recognize distinguished contributions to Virginia biography. In this book, Dr. Billings, professor of history at the University of New Orleans and a nationally renowned, leading scholar on early Virginia history, offers a thorough, engaging, and scholarly account of Berkeley.
The Patricia Rodman and Martin Kirwan King Volunteer of the Year Award is named in honor of long-time friend and trustee, Martin King, who, with his wife, co-founded the Historical Society's volunteer program. This prestigious recognition went to Bill Hamilton for his 15 years of service to the department of manuscripts and archives. Mr. Hamilton retired from the Virginia Department of Taxation in 1989 and is a graduate of Washington and Lee University.
The Lora Robins Award, established to honor Lora Robins for her inspiring vision and generosity to the Virginia Historical Society, recognizes an individual who demonstrates leadership, generosity, and foresight in collecting Virginia history for the benefit of future generations. This prestigious award was given to William W. Cole for his contribution of nearly a thousand pieces of sheet music about Virginia. Selections from the collection are displayed in the Historical Society's exhibition, The Story of Virginia, an American Experience, and includes titles such as "Who Played Poker with Pocahontas when John Smith Went Away?," "Newport News Blues," "VPI Cadet March," and "Southwest Virginia Home." In 2003, Cole also gave more than thirty prints of Virginia Indians in memory of his late father, Robert Wallace Cole, Sr., which became the basis for the exhibition, Early Images of Virginia Indians: The William W. Cole Collection.
University of Virginia doctoral graduate Sarah Hand Meacham earned the C. Coleman McGehee Award for the best article in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography written by a graduate student for her essay, "'They Will Be Adjudged by Their Drink, What Kinde of Housewives They Are': Gender, Technology, and Household Cidering in England and the Chesapeake, 1690–1760." Dr. Meacham, a Ph.D. student when she submitted the article, will be teaching history at Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall.
Valerie Padgett was awarded the Howson W. Cole award, named in honor of Mr. Cole, who served as senior archivist for nearly 40 years. Ms. Padgett was recognized for her vital assistance in converting the library catalog system to a new online catalog. After a decade of service, Padgett retired in 1996 but continued to work part-time maintaining the old card catalog and entering data for the new system. The Howson W. Cole award is only given when it is deserved.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience,
a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Mondays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit