February 2, 2022
Oklahoma Historical Society Awards Banquet Scheduled for February 24; Tickets Now on Sale
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) will host its annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, February 24, at 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt will be the guest speaker, and Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith will emcee. At this annual ceremony, the OHS will make presentations to OHS annual award recipients, State Historic Preservation Office annual award recipients, Guardians of History honorees and will induct four individuals into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. Longtime OHS Executive Director Bob Blackburn will be inducted along with noted historians Davis Joyce and Theda Perdue, as well as Oklahoma history advocate Justice Yvonne Kauger.
A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner and the awards program will follow at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds from this event will be matched by the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and will go toward the Dr. Bob Blackburn Collections Endowment Fund. This endowment provides the OHS with funds to collect and preserve archival collections and artifacts that tell the story of Oklahoma. Individual tickets are $100 each, or a sponsor table for eight can be purchased starting at $1,000. For information about the event or to purchase tickets, please visit www.okhistory.org/awardsbanquet. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.
Bob L. Blackburn, a native Oklahoman, served as executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society from 1999 to 2021. He joined the OHS staff in 1980 as editor of The Chronicles of Oklahoma and became deputy director for agency operations in 1990. He earned his Ph.D. in history from Oklahoma State University. Bob published several articles and his first book while still in graduate school, and has since written or co-authored 22 books and numerous articles, journal entries and screenplays. He also has appeared numerous times on the History Channel. He was instrumental in planning and building the Oklahoma History Center, a 215,000-square-foot museum and research center. Blackburn has served on numerous national and regional boards and committees, including the Western History Association, the Oklahoma Association of Professional Historians, the American Institute of Architects and Leadership Oklahoma City.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Davis Joyce earned two degrees from the University of New Mexico before attaining a Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma. Before retirement, he taught at the University of Tulsa, East Central University and Rogers State University. Joyce also served as a professor for one year at Keele University in England and two years at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. He has written 12 books, with five covering Oklahoma history.
Theda Perdue was born in McRae, Ga., and attained her bachelor’s degree at Mercer University. She earned her Ph.D. in history at the University of Georgia and serves as the Atlanta Distinguished Term Professor of History at the University of North Carolina. She previously taught at Western Carolina University, Clemson University and the University of Kentucky. Perdue’s research focuses on American Indians, especially the Native peoples of the southeastern United States. Of the nine books she has authored or co-authored, many have focused on the Cherokee Nation, including “Cherokee Women: Gender and Cultural Change, 1700–1835” (University of Nebraska Press, 1998).
Yvonne Kauger is a fourth-generation Oklahoman from Colony. She graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1969. In 1984 Governor George Nigh appointed Kauger to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the second woman to be placed on the state’s highest court. Kauger co-founded Red Earth Inc., coordinates the annual Sovereignty Symposium, and has been a driving force in creating art galleries and historic interpretive projects in her hometown of Colony.
The OHS will present its inaugural Guardians of History awards to Senator Darcy Jech and Representative Carl Newton for their dedication to the preservation of Oklahoma’s history. Other awards to be presented that evening are as follows:
- Bruce T. Fisher Outstanding History Project – “Ketsimnanek (Ancestors),” by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center
- Joseph B. Thoburn Outstanding Student Historian – Kennedi Smith
- William D. Pennington Outstanding Social Studies Teacher – Suzette Chang
- Muriel H. Wright Award for Outstanding Article in The Chronicles of Oklahoma – “‘Hell’s an Ice Box’: The Myth of Tommy Atkins and the Oil Field that Transformed Oklahoma,” by Russell Cobb
- Linda Williams Reese Award for Outstanding Oklahoma History Thesis – “Pei on the Prairie: Urban Renewal in Oklahoma City, 1960–1990,” by Zachary Anderson
- E. E. Dale Award for Outstanding Book on Oklahoma History – “A Life on Fire: Oklahoma’s Kate Barnard,” by Connie Cronley
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.