The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) have announced that Bruce W. Dearstyne is the recipient of an Award of Merit for the book The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State’s History, published by SUNY Press. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
In his book, Dearstyne presents New York State history explores sixteen dramatic events. From the launch of the state government in April 1777 to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, these events altered the course of state and US history. Chapters describe great political changes, historical turning points, and struggles for social, racial, and environmental reform. The book includes daring acts of courage and against-the- odds stories of struggle and triumph. Dearstyne puts the fascinating people who made history at the center of the story, including John Jay, the lead writer of the first state constitution; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the irrepressible crusader for women’s rights; Glenn Curtiss, New York’s aviation pioneer; and Robert Moses, controversial president of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The momentous events illustrate the “spirit” of New York—the elusive traits that make New York State unique and a leader among the fifty states—and the complexity of its history.
Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne is the author of several other books, including Leading the Historical Enterprise (2015) and often writes about New York history in the “Perspective” section of the Sunday Albany Times Union. Dearstyne taught New York history at SUNY Albany, SUNY Potsdam, and Russell Sage College. He has a B.A in History from Hartwick College and a Ph.D. in History from Syracuse University. He served on the staff of the New York State Office of State History and for many years was a program director at the New York State Archives. He was also a professor at the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, where he continues to teach as an adjunct professor. He resides in Guilderland, New York and is a regular contributor to The New York History Blog.
This year, AASLH will present sixty-three national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2016 AASLH/MMA Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, September 16. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.
The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at (615) 320- 3203, or go click here.
The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for- profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.