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The University of Texas at Austin


Center for American History Announces Research Travel Awards

Austin, Texas – The Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce that James Nichols and Kimberly Wilmot Voss have received the 2008–2009 William A. and Madeline Welder Smith Research Travel Award. Supported through the generosity of the late William A. and Madeline Welder Smith, the Smith Award assists masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students who reside outside the Austin area by covering the costs associated with travel to conduct in-depth research in the Center's holdings. The Center has additional awards for the 2008–2009 cycle, and has extended the application deadline to December 15, 2008.

"We are pleased to support ongoing research by up-and-coming scholars, while simultaneously raising awareness of the depth and breadth of our research collections," said Brenda Gunn, associate director for research and collections. She continued, "The Center, with its significant holdings on the American South, the news media, and Texas history, is an ideal research site for young scholars such as Nichols and Voss, contributing to their professional development in their academic specializations."

Nichols, a doctoral candidate in history at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, will research his dissertation, tentatively titled "Afronorteamericanos in Tamaulipas and Coahuila: Informal Empire, Freedom, and Identity in Northern Mexico, 1829–1895." He plans to use the Center's William Pitt Ballinger Papers, the Eugene C. Barker Papers, and numerous other archives that shed light on the slave society near the international border during the nineteenth century. Nichols earned two bachelor's degrees from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree in history from Stony Brook. A member of the Texas State Historical Association, he has presented talks on race, gender, and slavery, and taught courses on the American borderlands.

Dr. Kimberly Wilmot Voss, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Central Florida, will study the Molly Ivins Papers, focusing on the early forces that shaped Ivins's later political opinions. Voss, who has investigated women reporters in the post–World War II era, plans to develop a scholarly article based on the well-known Texas journalist's "populist" messages and their representation in the media. Voss earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, a master's from Cardinal Stritch University, a master's from Towson University, and a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of the forthcoming book Liberating Florida: How Women's Page Editors Explained the Beginnings of a Social Movement, Post–World War II to 1970.

"Part of the mission of the Center is to facilitate research on the history of the United States," Gunn added. "One of the ways we accomplish that is by making our vast archival collections available to researchers in our Research and Collections Division in Austin. With this travel grant, we can make a real difference in whether a researcher can make the trip to Austin or not."

Through stewardship, scholarship, and outreach, the Center for American History increases knowledge and fosters exploration of our nation's past. As a leading history research center, we collect, preserve, and make available documentary and material culture evidence encompassing key themes in Texas and U.S. history. The Center is an organized research unit and public service component of The University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, please contact Brenda Gunn at (512) 495-4385 (