SIU Press at 2024 Illinois State Historical Society Awards Luncheon

On Saturday, April 20th, three titles from Southern Illinois University Press earned honors at the Illinois State Historical Society’s “Best of Illinois History” award luncheon. These additions mark ten honors from the ISHS in the past two years, and the SIU Press authors in attendance at the 2024 event expressed gratitude to the ISHS and its celebrated annual ceremony.

The New Star Chamber and Other Essays, Annotated Edition, written by Edgar Lee Masters and edited by Jason Stacy, et al., earned a Certificate of Excellence in “Books, Scholarly.” Students in Stacy’s Editing History course at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville annotated the book. Student Jessica Guldner likened the annotation process to a “puzzle,” adding that she hopes the annotations will help readers navigate the historical context of Masters’s essays and his many references to contemporary and historical events, such as the Philippine-American War and the campaigns of William Jennings Bryan. After the Editing History students completed their annotations, the book was designed by the combined efforts of three different SIUC courses: Typography I and Graphic Design II, both taught by Corey Tester, and Communication Drawing, taught by Jason Wonnell. “It really was an effort overwhelmingly undertaken by students at both campuses,” says Jason Stacy.

Son of Southern Illinois: Glenn Poshard’s Life in Politics and Education, by Carl Poshard with Glenn Poshard, also earned a Certificate of Excellence in “Books, Scholarly.” “Though not a biography, autobiography, or strict work of history,” the ISHS award committee writes, “Son of Southern Illinois offers a good picture of a major political and educational southern Illinois figure in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

Finally, Onward to Chicago: Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Northeastern Illinois, by Larry A. McClellan, earned a Superior Achievement Award in “Books, Scholarly.” The award committee writes: “The strength of Onward to Chicago lies in the depth and quality of research, as well as a clear and readable style. The book mines sources about freedom seekers that have not been fully explored before now—church records, 47 newspapers, memories, interviews, and an abundance of primary and secondary sources. The wealth of [data] yielded by this research compensates for the lack of [previous] attention to Chicago’s role in the movement to freedom.”

“The annual awards luncheon for the Illinois State Historical Society is a terrific occasion to

recognize research and creative programming across the state. I am honored to be a part

of that this year with the award for Onward to Chicago,” says Larry McClellan, who was also celebrated by the ISHS in 2022 with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to Illinois history.