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Both winners plan to present their papers at the Annual Conference this year.

Dan Lewis, Graduate Student Winner

Many Fabulous Stories and Idle Tales

In the early decades of the Age of Exploration, rights to the lands and resources of the “New World” were heavily contested in the courts of Europe. The English attempted to undermine the claims of the Spanish in particular through a variety of gambits, including the creation of stories about a Welsh sailor who allegedly beat Columbus to the “New World” by 300 years. Widely discussed by the upper echelons of English society, the legend of Prince Madoc grew far beyond its intended purpose until it came to be accepted as established fact for hundreds of years afterwards. This essay has two main purposes: To find the creator of the story and to understand their motivations, and also to spark a larger discussion of how myths and legends are a building block in constructing national identity and culture.  "Many Fabulous Stories and Idle Tales” is a chapter from Dan’s Master's thesis.

Dan's Bio

Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, the “Horse Capital of the World,” Dan Lewis had the great fortune to be born severely allergic to horses.   After graduating from Lafayette High School in 2011, Dan tripped and fell into an Army recruiting office and figured, “Eh...what the heck.” Following nine years of martial bliss, he decided to move on and finish his Bachelor’s Degree in History at the       University of Kentucky in January 2020.  Three years later, he is still at UK, now working on a Master’s in History and a Certificate in Historic Preservation.  In addition to his studies, Dan works as a teaching assistant for the Introduction to American History at UK, serves as a Department Representative in the Graduate Student Congress, and spends his summers as a document preservationist in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office.         

Jordan Coleman, Undergraduate Student Winner

Indigenous Contributions to the Corps of Discovery Expedition Maps

Coleman's essay examines how William Clark heavily utilized and relied on indigenous knowledge to create his maps during the Corps of Discovery Expedition. Through the comparison of the expedition’s journals, Clark’s maps, Native descriptions and histories, and the modern landscape, it argues that Clark’s 1806 “Sundery Indians of the Chopunnish Nation together” map was based solely on information provided by the Nez Percé. This analysis is presented through three key areas of discussion. First, Clark’s dependency on indigenous knowledge regarding the region is clearly shown with labeled tribes they never visited and the new overland routes heading east. Second, this map contains a few discrepancies regarding the location of a lake and two waterfalls which the expedition did not survey themselves, rather they relied on the indigenous information.  Lastly, Clark’s 1810 map reveals that he also utilized new information from other expeditions rather than relying entirely on the information found in the sketch map, which greatly impacted the fields of cartography and exploration and the future of the Nez Percé in the Columbia River Basin. Taken together, these points reveal the wealth of new information that can be gathered by revisiting Clark’s sketch maps, along with portraying a new depth to the cartographic contributions by the Nez Percé.

Jordan's Bio

Jordan Coleman graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History from Stephen F. Austin State University this spring, while starting his MA in Public History.  In the fall of 2023 he will begin working as an archival graduate assistant for the East Texas Research Center located in Nacogdoches, Texas.  Jordan has previously served as the treasurer and historian for SFA’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter and will serve as the President during the upcoming academic year.

Prior Student Award Winners


Graduate Student Winner:  Manoel Rendeiro  University of California Davis

“A Desert in a Sea of River and Runaways: Empires, Maps, and Fugitivity in Amazonian Borderlands (1777-1800)"

Undergraduate StudentWinner:  Katherine Enright — Harvard College

“Natural History in and out of the Tropics: Retracing the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings”


Graduate Student Winner:  Stephen Hay—University of British Columbia

 “Politics by Other Means: Maritime Communication in Massachusetts and Labrador”

Honorable Mention:   Elizabeth Nielsen—Brown University

“ 'This Dismall Country’  Voyaging and Space in the HMS Dolphin, 1766-1767”

Undergraduate Student Winner:   Michaela Sapielak—University of Fraser Valley

“Sir John Franklin: More Than an Arctic Mystery”


Graduate Student Winner:   Peter Olsen-Harbich —  William & Mary

 "The Reguli Strategy: Diminutive Kingship and the Ideology of Late Renaissance Imperial Planning" 

 Honorable Mention:  Samuel Diener— Harvard University

"Narration in the Key of 'We': The Voyage and the Grammar of Identity

2019  Madeline Grimm — University of California, Los Angeles

“Early Modern History Writing and English Perception of the Mughal Empire”

2018  Daniella McCahey— University of California,  Irvine

“The Traveling Rocks”

2017  Noam Sienna — University of Minnesota

“The Ways of the World: Thomas Hyde’s 1691 Printing of Farissol’s Iggeret Orḥot ‘Olam,” 

2016 No prize awarded

2015  Felipe Fernandes Cruz, University of Texas, Austin

“Napalm Colonization: Indigenous Peoples and Exploration in Brazil’s Aeronautical Frontiers.”

2014 Josephine Benson, Brown University

“New Worlds, New Germs: The Role of European Expansion in the Development of Germ Theory.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 47.1 (2015).

2013  Joshua Michael Marcotte, University of Minnesota

“Culture, Contact and the Agency of Appropriation in a 1741 Map of Nagasaki.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 46.1 (2014).

2012  Justin T. Dellinger, University of Texas, Arlington

“La Balise: A Transimperial Focal Point.”

2011 No prize awarded

2010 Scott Vincent Hatcher, Memorial University, St. John’s Newfoundland

“The Birth of the Monsoon Winds: On the Existence and Understand of Hippalus, and the ‘Discovery’ of the Apogeous Trade Winds.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 45.1 (2013)

2009 No prize awarded

2008 Gabriel Hill, University of Minnesota

“French Merchants and Missionaries on the Early Modern Slave Coast.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 41 (2009).

2007 Antony Adler, University of Washington

“Uncharted Seas: European Polynesian Encounters in the Age of Discoveries.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 40 (2008).

2006 Matt H. Voss, University of Minnesota

“In this sign you shall conquer.’ The Cross of the Order of Christ in Sixteenth-Century Portuguese Cartography.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 39 (2007).

2005 Alice Storey, University of Aukland

“Layers of Discovery.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 38 (2006).

2004 Christopher Slogar, University of Maryland, College Park

“Polyphernus africanus: Mapping Cannibals in the History of the Cross River Region of Nigeria, ca. 1500-1985.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 37 (2005).

2003 Robert D. Lukens, Temple University

“Finding Themselves in the Arctic: Samuel J. Entrikin and the Peary Expedition of 1893-1895.”

2002 Carol A. Medlicott, University of California, Los Angeles

“Re-thinking Geographical Exploration as Intelligence Collection: The Example of Lewis and Clark’s ‘Corps of Discovery’.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 35 (2003).

2001 No prize awarded

2000 Paul W. Mapp, Harvard University

“French Reactions to the British Search for a Northwest Passage from Hudson Bay and the Origins of the Seven Years’ War.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 33 (2001).

1999 Neil Safier,  The Johns Hopkins University

“Mapping Myths: The Cartographic Boundaries Between Science and Speculation in La Condamine’s Amazon, 1743-44.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 33 (2001).

1998 Ken Mitchell, University of Minnesota

“Science, Giants & Gold:  Juan de la Cruz Cano’s Mapa Geographic de American Meridional.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 31 (1999).  

1997 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1996 Lynn Guitar

“Francisco Chicorama: A North American Indian in King Charles V’s Court.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 29 (1997).

1995 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1994 José Delgado

“A Cartographic view of the Falkland Malvinas Sovereignty Problem.”

1993 Christian Brannstrom, University of Wisconsin, Madison

“The River of Silver and the Island of Brazil.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 27 (1995).

1992 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1991 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1990 Carol Sparks

“England and the Columbian Discoveries: The Attempt to Legitimize English Voyages to the New World.” Published in Terrae Incognitae  22 (1990).  

1989 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1988 First Year.  No prize awarded, but two papers received honorable mentions.

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