W. Jeffrey Bolster, professor of history, has been selected as the winner of the American Historical Association’s 2013 Albert J. Beveridge Prize and 2013 James Rawley Prize in Atlantic History for his book The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012). Earlier this year, Bolster and The Mortal Sea were recognized with a 2013 Bancroft Prize, considered one of the most distinguished academic awards in the field of history, and with the North American Society for Oceanic History’s John Lyman Book Award for the best book in U.S. Maritime History.
The annual Albert J. Beveridge Award honors a distinguished book in English on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1942 to the present. The James A. Rawley Prize is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding historical writing that explores aspects of integration of Atlantic worlds before the 20th century. Both prizes will be presented during a ceremony at the Association’s 128th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, January 2-5, 2014.
Sarah M.S. Pearsall, the 2013 Rawley Prize committee chair noted, “The Mortal Sea hits readers with the saline smack of the ocean, providing the most Atlantic of Atlantic histories, at once fascinating and deeply troubling. Lucid, penetrating, relentless, this book trawls deep historical research to expose the history of Atlantic fishing and its consequences.” Paula Alonso, the Beveridge Prize committee chair added, “this is a sweeping and original history that connects the consumption of North Atlantic fish during Lent in Early Modern Europe, to industrialization’s demand for Menhaden fish oil in the 1870s, to lobster consumption today.”
The Albert J. Beveridge Award was initially established on a biennial basis in 1939, in honor of US Senator Albert J. Beveridge (Indiana, 1899-1911), a longtime member of the Association and an active supporter of history as both a lawyer and a senator. The James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History was created in 1998 in accordance with the terms of a gift from James A. Rawley, Carl Adolph Happold Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
The American Historical Association is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA is comprised of over 14,000 members and serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area.