Mormon History Association

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MHA Awards

The Mormon History Association presents the following awards to encourage and foster the highest ideals in scholarly research and publication. For information on submitting candidates for the awards, visit our Nominations page.

Note: Prior to 2012, awards given by MHA bore the name of the award's donor/funder or one memorialized by the donor. With the exception of the Leonard J. Arrington Award, the awards are now simply named for the work they represent.

Leonard J. Arrington Award

In honor of Leonard J. Arrington

Awarded annually to a scholar whose contributions are truly outstanding for distinguished service to Mormon history. The selection committee will consider the influence of certain individual works by nominees for this award, as well as their cumulative records of meritorious scholarship in general. Awarded since 1999, this award is named and given in memory and recognition of a founding father of the Mormon History Association and premier mentor and promoter of Mormon history. This award replaces the Grace Fort Arrington Award for Historical Excellence that was offered from 1981 through 1998, so winners of that award will not be eligible for the present one.

For Books

Best Book Award


Awarded for the best book published on Mormon history. Given to honor and encourage the sense of purpose, dedication, excellence of study, research and scholarship in the field of Mormon history. Primarily funded by Curtis T. Atkisson in memory of his wife, Mary Ann Atkisson, a lover of history, an accomplished artist, and MHA member.

Donor: Curtis T. Atkisson

Best Biography Award


Awarded for the best published biography in the field of Mormon history. Funded in honor of Ella Larsen Turner, a published historian and genealogist,and her daughter, Ella Ruth Turner Bergera, a published family historian, novelist, and poet.

Donor: The families of Ella Turner and Ella Ruth Bergera

Best Documentary Editing / Bibliography Award


Awarded for the best published book of documentary editing or bibliography on Mormon history.

Best International Book Award


Awarded for the best book on international Mormon history. Funded in honor of Geraldine McBride Woodward for promoting her great love of Mormon history and its remarkable heritage to her family, friends, and students.

Donors: Geraldine and Clair Woodward; Christopher and April Newton; Nan Woodward Noble

Best First Book Award


Awarded for an author's best first book published on Mormon history during the year.

Best Personal History / Memoir Award


Awarded for the best published Mormon memoir or personal history.  Funded in honor of Barbara Ashcroft Thurston and Morris Alma Thurston, whose dedication to preserving family history and genealogy was an inspiration for our mission to promote well-written and compelling personal life stories.

Donors: Dawn Parrett Thurston and Morris Ashcroft Thurston

Best Family / Community History Award


Awarded to the best commercially or privately published and thoroughly researched family or community history relating to the Mormon experience prior to 1980. Funded in memory of Marjorie June Winchester Scott, a local historian, museum curator, and MHA member; and the Winchester family, whose history as early converts reflects Mormonism's tumultuous first century and a half.

Donor: The Scott family

For Articles

Best Article Award


Awarded for the best published article on Mormon history. Funded by the Hartley Foundation to honor noted Mormon historian William G. Hartley.

Article Awards of Excellence (2)

$350 each

Awarded for two outstanding articles published on Mormon history in honor of Vera Jean and J. Talmage Jones, as a tribute from their family for their excellent example of Christian values.

Donor: The Vera Jean and J. Talmage Jones Family

Best International Article Award


Awarded for the best international Mormon history article (in print or online journals), in honor of Andrew Jenson, Assistant LDS Church Historian, for his outstanding contribution in documenting nearly every LDS congregation around the world.

Donors: Joseph and Julia Todd

Best Article on Mormon Women's History Award


Awarded for an outstanding article on the experiences of Mormon women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sponsored by the Mormon Women's History Initiative Team (MWHIT), an independent group of scholars from around the United States who encourage research, writing, and publications on Mormon women's history.

Donor: Silver Foundation

For Dissertation, Thesis, and Student Papers

Best Dissertation Award


Awarded for the best doctoral dissertation on a Mormon historical theme. Funded in honor and memory of the many students of Gerald R. Jones, who served for many years as an administrator and instructor for the LDS Church Education System. 

Donor: Gerald Edward Jones

Best Thesis Award


Award for the best master's thesis on a Mormon historical theme. Funded in honor of Lester E. Bush who served for five years as Associate Editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and wrote many articles and one book. His most noteworthy achievement was a Dialogue article published in 1973 on Blacks and the priesthood. He spent his career as a physician working for the federal government and is now retired.

Donor: Gregory A. Prince

Best Graduate Paper Award


Awarded to a university or college graduate student for the best paper on Mormon history. Funded in honor of Juanita Brooks for her life of dedication, scholarship, and the courage in which she led the way in an honest and professional approach to the study of the Mormon past.

Donor: Lola Van Wagenen

Student Research Paper, Awards of Merit

$300 to each recipient

One of MHA’s primary objectives to foster research and publication of Mormon history is by encouraging young scholars in undergraduate and graduate programs to participate in the process. An important step in support of this interest has been created by long-time MHA member G. Kevin Jones who in November 2013 agreed to fund an annual student paper competition at universities with programs specific to Mormon studies. For a number of years, MHA funded a competition at BYU conducted by the university that proved worthwhile in furthering MHA objectives. Now, with the expansion of Mormon Studies programs at several universities, Kevin’s generosity will allow these programs to conduct their own student competitions with a $300 cash award being given to each school’s winner on behalf of MHA.  Each award recipient also receives a year's membership in the Mormon History Association.

This award was established by Kevin Jones to acknowledge the contributions to Mormon history of Dr. Davis Bitton, one of the founders of MHA. Dr. Bitton had a distinguished career as a professor/historian, teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and for twenty-nine years at the University of Utah. Trained as a European historian, he also devoted considerable time to Mormon history. He spent a decade as an Assistant Church Historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Among other volumes that he published, together with Leonard J. Arrington he wrote The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints, an acclaimed work intended to assist non-Mormons in understanding Mormon history. Dr. Bitton was active in the meetings of the Mormon History Association, an organization where he served as president in 1971-1972.

Dr. Bitton was a great role model, a highly accomplished individual who was kind, soft-spoken, and sincerely interested in the welfare of others. This award recognizes the unique life of Dr. Bitton, and the friendship that Kevin enjoyed from his association with Dr. Bitton and his lovely wife JoAn.

Donor: G. Kevin Jones

For Special Contributions

Special Citations

Presented to persons or an institution who made a significant contribution to Mormon history.