12 graduates awarded library prizes for best senior essays

  • Nina Grigg
  • Nick McGowan
  • AJ Laird
  • Henry Carroll and Leo Egger
  • Shira Minsk
May 28, 2024

Each year, the library invites Yale College seniors to submit their senior essays for consideration to win one of three prizes for excellence: the Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award, the Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize, and the Yale Library Map Prize. The winners are selected by librarians or faculty members, and the prizes are funded by Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The prizewinners are each awarded a cash prize in the amount of $500 (honorable mention recipients receive $250), and all winners’ essays are published on EliScholar, Yale Library’s digital platform for scholarly publishing. As is the tradition, students receive their awards at their residential commencement ceremonies.

The Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award

The Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award recognizes a student whose senior essay or capstone project substantially draws on national government information or intergovernmental organization (IGO) information, including documents or data. Yale Library has been a designated federal depository library since 1859.

The Applebaum award was presented to Henry H. Carroll, Davenport College, for the essay “Ship Shaping: How Congress and Industry Influenced U.S. Naval Acquisitions from 1933—1938.” Read Henry Carroll’s essay.

Honorable mention was awarded to Nina Grigg, Benjamin Franklin College, for the essay “Surveyor: Scratching for a Wild Moon.” Read Nina Grigg’s essay.

The Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize

The Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize recognizes prizewinning students’ excellent use of research materials from the library’s diverse collections and also the high quality of their writing.

Three students received the Diane Kaplan prize this year:

Leo Egger, Trumbull College, for the essay “‘Living Its Strange Life’: A Literary Biography of Margery Latimer from the Archives in 18 Scenes.” Read Leo Egger’s essay.

AJ Laird, Benjamin Franklin College, for the essay “Whaling Logbooks: Colonial Knowledge Acquisition in the Pacific World.” Read AJ Laird’s essay and visit the related exhibit in Sterling Memorial Library exhibition corridor.

Shira Minsk, Pauli Murray College, for the essay “Steady through Time: Ella Barksdale Brown and the Perception-Based Politics of Black Women’s Racial Uplift in 20th-Century America.” Read Shira Minsk’s essay.

The Library Map Prize

The Library Map Prize recognizes students whose senior essays or projects make use of one or more maps or charts in substantive ways. Students may either create the maps or refer to maps found online or in the library’s special collections.

This year the Map Prize was awarded to two seniors:

Lisa Dong, Pierson College, for the interactive StoryMap essay “So, Where Are Your Really From?: A Digital Humanities Repository Mapping ‘Home, Identity, and Belonging’ within the Intimacies of the Fuzhounese Experience.” View Lisa Dong’s web-based essay.

Nick McGowan, Pauli Murray College, for the essay “Rebirth: Investigating Industrial Gentrification and the Land Use Policy in Chicago’s West Loop.” Read Nick McGowan’s essay.

The Department of History Prizes

The library also stewards the funds for three American History prizes, selected by faculty members in the Department of History. This year, five prizes were awarded for best senior essays.

Julia Aerin Hornstein, Ezra Stiles College, won the Howard R. Lamar Prize for the essay “Charles ‘Minnie’ Dole: The Peak of Masculinity and the Frontier of Western Snow”; AJ Laird, Benjamin Franklin College, won a David M. Potter Prize for “Whaling Logbooks: Colonial Knowledge Acquisition in the Pacific World”; Sydney Zoehrer, Silliman College, won a David Morris Potter Prize for the essay “Adobe: Material Histories at a Crossroads in Marfa, Texas; Hilary B. Griggs, Branford College, won a Walter McClintock Prize for the essay “Does a Man’s Word or a Nation’s Word Ever Become Obsolete?’: Fighting the Floodwaters on the Fort Berthold Reservation”; Teanna Hart (Sicangu Lakota), Silliman College, won a Walter McClintock Prize for the essay “Reconciliation Is Not Enough: Looking and/as Speaking Back at Portrayals of the American Indian”; and Taylor Rose won the Frederick W. Beinecke Dissertation Prize for the essay “Battle Born: Mining, Militarization, and Native Lands in the Nevada Desert, 1860–1990.”

Read more about the three Library Prizes and other Undergraduate Student Prizes. Read more about the History prizes.