Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honorary founded in 1921, has awarded The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America’s First Great Disaster with their 2012 Best First Book Award. I am sincerely honored to be this year’s recipient: the Best First Book Award is, as the award letter reminded me, a “prestigious and highly competitive honor.” (Louisiana State University even released a press release about the RTF book receiving this award.)
Phi Alpha Theta will feature the book and award in their upcoming newsletter. I’ll post a link to it then, but meanwhile, here’s a photograph of me back in the day sporting my Phi Alpha Theta honor cords after graduation from Hillsdale College a decade (!?) ago. I have fond memories of Phi Alpha Theta; many of my friends were also in the honorary and the faculty sponsors hosted great cookouts. I also had the valuable opportunity to awkwardly present my first paper (on medieval universities, if memory serves) at a regional conference they sponsored when I was a senior.
Membership in the Chi Upsilon chapter of Phi Alpha Theta wasn’t something I thought carried benefits that would last past my undergrad years, but happily enough, it does. I commend them for their support of graduate students and professional historians through their generous awards, grants, and scholarships. So thanks, Phi Alpha Theta!