The Midwestern History Association this week announced the winner of its first annual Frederick Jackson Turner Award, bestowed on an individual for lifetime service to Midwestern history. The honor is conferred upon Margaret Beattie Bogue, professor emerita of history and liberal studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Bogue joined the University of Wisconsin Extension program in 1966 and later the Department of History at UW–Madison. Her research interests have included the fisheries and wetlands of the Great Lakes region as well as Midwestern agricultural and environmental history.
The Midwestern History Association was formed in 2014 to advocate and support greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians. Bogue is the first recipient of this new award, which will be presented April 17th at the annual meeting of the Midwestern History Association in St. Louis, in conjunction with the Organization of American Historians conference.
“The Midwestern History Association is proud to confer the first Turner Award upon Professor Bogue, who has been a long-time leader in studying the American Midwest, especially its deeply agrarian character and the decisive role of the Great Lakes in the region’s development,” said Jon K. Lauck, president of the association.
Bogue’s definitive history of the decline of the Great Lakes’ fisheries—Fishing the Great Lakes: An Environmental History, 1783–1933 was published in 2000 by the University of Wisconsin Press and received national and regional awards, including the Wisconsin Library Association’s Outstanding Achievement book award. She also brought the rich local histories of the Great Lakes region to the general public through two guides to historic sites: Around the Shores of Lake Michigan and Around the Shores of Lake Superior, also both published by UW Press. In her 2007 second edition of the Superior book, she added historical essays on the Ojibwe presence, French exploration, industry on and around the lake, and the impact of this human history on the natural environment, garnering that book several awards, including the Award of Merit for Leadership in History from the American Association for State and Local History. Her first book, in 1959, was Patterns from the Sod: Land Use and Tenure in the Grand Prairie, 1850–1900 (Illinois State Historical Library).
“Margaret Bogue does meticulous research and analysis, but she makes her work accessible to general readers as well as scholars. She’s always been active in bringing history to the citizens of the Midwest and Great Lakes regions,” noted Gwen Walker, editorial director of the University of Wisconsin Press.
The Turner Award is named for the prominent historian Frederick Jackson Turner, whose famous 1890 lecture on the influence of “the frontier” on American identity considerably shaped the historiography of the Midwest and the broader field of U.S. history. Turner was born in Portage, Wisconsin, in 1861 and earned his BA from the University of Wisconsin in 1884. His essays on regionalism and the American Midwest won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1933. As a professor at the University of Wisconsin and later at Harvard, Turner trained many historians and helped shape many fields of historiography. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the discipline of American history was his focus on Midwestern history, an emphasis that was carried on by his many students.
The members of this year’s Frederick Jackson Turner Award committee are Pamela Riney-Kehrberg of Iowa State University, Brian Hosmer of the University of Tulsa, and Jane Pederson of the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.