The Benefits of Western History Association Membership

western history association membership

Membership brings you into a network of writers, scholars, collectors, curators, educators, students, and others interested in the North American West, in its broadest sense. The Association encourages study of the complexities and diversity of this fascinating part of American history, and fosters research in the field.

The Society publishes the scholarly journal Western Historical Quarterly, to which all members receive a one-year subscription as part of their initiation fee. The WHQ presents original scholarly work dealing with the history of the West — the westward movement from the Atlantic to the Pacific, twentieth-century regional studies, the history of Western Canada and northern Mexico, and Native American History – as well as reviews of important books in the field.

Founded in 1961, the Society is dedicated to encouraging the pursuit of history as a discipline and promoting interest in all aspects of the American West. The Society also sponsors a number of scholarly awards and fellowships. The Purrington/White Dissertation Prize, a $500 award, is given annually for the best dissertation on any aspect of the history of the West, broadly defined. The Fellowship Program provides support for graduate students to pursue their full academic potential in the study of history.

Each summer, the Society holds its annual conference in a historically significant town or city. During the four day event, authors, historians, researchers, and collectors present their work to their peers, vendors sell new and old-out-of-print Western books & pamphlets, and Old West art and ephemera; breakout sessions and organized and guided tours of local museums and historic sites provide opportunities for interaction with fellow scholars; and the prestigious Roundup Awards Banquet celebrates outstanding scholarship and achievement in the field of Western history.

Conference registration includes access to all the presentations and panel discussions at the conference, as well as the keynote address by the keynote speaker and the award ceremony. In addition, a limited number of Teaching Awards (presented jointly by the Charles Redd Center and the WHA) allow K-12 teachers to attend the conference and share their lesson plans and teaching strategies with their colleagues.

The Society offers a range of special awards, including the John O’Hara Lecture and Essay Prize for young historians; the George Ellsworth Scholarship; and the Robert M. Utley Fellowship. Membership in the Society is required to be nominated for these awards. Members can nominate themselves or be nominated by another member through the Nominating Committee. The membership elects the primary governing body of the organization, the Council, which oversees the association’s business and creates policies that promote a congenial home for those studying the North American West. The Association is non-profit and supports itself primarily through membership dues, conference registration fees, and sales of its publications. The membership also supports the association’s activities through contributions to the Endowment Fund, gifts, and other fundraising initiatives. For more information, see the About Us page. Memberships automatically renew each year unless you opt-out. Contact the WHA office for more information or to change your preference.

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