Graduate student receives top American historians award

Alice Baumgartner, a Yale College alumna now studying history at the Graduate School, was awarded the 2014 Louis Pelzer Memorial Award for best essay in American history by a graduate student.

Alice Baumgartner

The award was presented to Baumgartner at the Organization of American Historians (OAH) annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month. 

Baumgartner’s winning essay, titled “The Line of Positive Safety: Borders, Boundaries, and Nations in the Rio Grande Valley, 1848-1880,” which explores American-Mexican relations at the border, will be published in the Journal of American History in conjunction with the award. The winning essay was judged anonymously based on significance of the subject matter, literary craftsmanship, and competence in the handling of evidence.   

Baumgartner earned her B.A. in history from Yale College in 2010. She went on to work in a free medical clinic in Bolivia and to read for a Master of Philosophy in Latin American studies at Oxford University before returning to Yale.

Founded in 1907, the OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. The OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions, and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history.