Manuscripts and Archives Announces Senior Essay Prizes

May 4, 2016

Manuscripts and Archives is pleased to announce the two members of the Yale College Class of 2016 who will be awarded this year’s Manuscripts and Archives senior essay prizes.
For an essay on Yale, the winner is Thomas Hopson (Trumbull College) who wrote about The Roots of Radicalism: Natural Rights, Corporate Liberty, and Regional Factions in Colonial Connecticut, 1740-1766. His advisor is Professor Joanne Freeman. For an essay based on research done in Manuscripts and Archives, the award goes to Jacob L. Wasserman (Saybrook College), whose essay is entitled Internal Affairs: Untold Case Studies of World War I German Internment. Jacob's advisor is Professor Beverly Gage.
The Manuscripts and Archives collection offers two student prizes each year, in memory of former colleague Diane E. Kaplan, who was instrumental in making these prizes available to Yale College seniors. A certificate and a $500 check are awarded to each prize-winning student during residential college ceremonies on Commencement Day. Beginning in 2015, all prize-winning essays are automatically published online in EliScholar. You’ll find more information about the MSSA senior essay prizes, along with lists of past winners and links to those available here.
The library received 20 submissions this year, 16 of which were on topics relating to Yale, so the task of reading essays and making decisions on prize winners was challenging. Members of this year's year’s award committee included library staff members Jessica Becker, Alison Clemens, David Gary, Melissa Grafe, Carla Heister, Mike Lotstein, Andy Shimp, Patricia Thurston, and Christy Tomecek. Also on the committee were Yale alumni Richard Mooney (1947 B.A.)  and David Richards (1967 B.A., 1972 J.D.).
To give a sense of the breadth of senior essays that are written using collections in Manuscripts and Archives, here are the titles below from all 20 of this year’s prize submissions:

  • Internal Affairs: Untold Case Studies of World War I German Internment
  • A History of Yale and ROTC: The Military in the Realm of Academia
  • The Local Destruction of National Segregation: Jasper Alston Atkins’ Fight for Desegregation, 1925-1990
  • Alma Mater: The Story of Christine J. Northrop: WWI Volunteer, WWII Correspondent, and Yale Woman Pre-Coeducation
  • The Roots of Radicalism: Natural Rights, Corporate Liberty, and Regional Factions in Colonial Connecticut, 1740-1766
  • The “US Ambassador of Song”: Yale Glee Club, the 1949 European Tour, and American Music Diplomacy in Postwar Germany
  • Polio Research at the Yale School of Medicine, 1931-1935: Navigating Patronage
  • A Roadmap, Not a Stop Sign: Economic Conversion Tactics in the Connecticut Peace Movement, 1960-1998
  • Some Sort of (Psychic) Center: Black Student Activism and Community at Yale from 1965-2000
  • The National School Lunch Program: A QuasiWelfare Program in Mid-20th Century America
  • Overcoming Sex Problems and Stereotypes at Yale: A Case Study in Sex Counseling and Education
  • Who Can Be A Bad Mother?: Race, Class and the Anti-Vaccination Movement in the 1910s and 1920s
  • Herbert Thoms and His Natural Childbirth Program at Yale in the Post-War Period
  • Containment in the Courts: The Cold War and the Origins of the Second-String Smith Act Trials, 1948–51
  • Artillery Training at Yale University during the First World War: Yale and the Guns
  • Feminist Trailblazing and the University: A History of Women ’s Activism and Alliances in Yale and New Haven, 1980–1989
  • Two Sides of Birth Control in the 20th Century: Yale-New Haven Hospital's Young Mothers ' Program
  • How the Detroit Riots Saved Yale: May Day, Cyrus Vance, and the Art of Crisis Management
  • General Motors' Late Reckoning with its Complicity in Nazi Forced Labor and America ' s Long Silence on the Issue
  • US Foreign Policy and the Soviet-Afghan War: A Revisionist History