Professor of history W. Jeffrey Bolster was awarded the History Award Medal from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) earlier this month in Laconia, NH. The award recognizes contributions that significantly advance the understanding of our nation’s past through the study and promotion of an aspect of American History. The D.A.R. cited contributions Bolster made through his publications The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail (2012) and Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail (1997).
Bolster was nominated for the award by Debra Collar and her colleagues of the Portsmouth Ranger Chapter of the D.A.R. who had heard about Bolster’s books and the scholarly recognition they had received.
“My sense is that the chapter wanted to put forward someone from New Hampshire and UNH—that they were proud of the local connection,” says Bolster. “It’s not just about me—far from it—but about the fact that my work could be presented to the national D.A.R. as emblematic of work coming out of UNH.”
The Mortal Sea is winner of the 2013 Bancroft Prize, the North American Society for Oceanic History’s John Lyman Book Award for the best book in U.S. Maritime History, the American Historical Association’s 2013 Albert J. Beveridge Prize, and the American Historical Association’s 2013 James Rawley Prize in Atlantic History. Black Jacks is co-winner of the Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association and was selected as the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division Best Book in History. Black Jacks also was named a New York Times Book Review notable book of the year.
The History Award Medal was presented to Bolster at the annual fall meeting of the New Hampshire D.A.R. where Bolster delivered a talk called “When Shipping Was King: The Piscataqua Region in Colonial America,” drawn from his co-authored book, with Alex Roland and Alexander Keyssar, The Way of the Ship: America’s Maritime History Reenvisioned, 1600-2000 (2008).