The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Ulrich Receives Society's Kennedy Medal

Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was awarded the Massachusetts Historical Society's John F. Kennedy Medal on Wednesday night at the Society's 60th annual dinner. Ulrich, the tenth Kennedy Medal honoree, is the first woman to receive the medal, the Society's highest possible honor.

"Throughout her career Professor Ulrich has mixed very distinguished scholarship with an ability to cross conventional academic boundaries, which has greatly enriched our understanding of history," stated Bill Clendaniel, chair of the Society’s Board of Trustees. "In addition, she has helped make American history relevant and thought-provoking to a wide audience through her PBS documentary and the popular use of her phrase 'well-behaved women seldom make history.' That she is the first woman to receive the Kennedy Medal also gives the Society particular pleasure."

Shortly after President Kennedy’s death, the Society received several gifts designated for use in any appropriate way to perpetuate President Kennedy’s memory as an active member of the Society and a great friend of historical scholarship. The MHS determined to create a medal in President Kennedy’s name and commissioned eminent artist and MHS Fellow Rudolph Ruzicka to design the medal. Since then, the Society has presented 10 honorees with the Kennedy Medal, awarded from time to time to persons who have rendered distinguished service to the cause of history. It is not limited to any field of history or in fact to any particular kind of service to history. The previous recipients of the medal are Samuel Eliot Morrison (1967), Dumas Malone (1972), Thomas Boylston Adams (1976), Oscar Handlin (1991), Edmund S. Morgan (2002), Alfred DuPont Chandler, Jr. (2003), Bernard Bailyn (2004), John Hope Franklin (2005), and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (2006).

Professor Ulrich, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University, delivered a talk at the dinner, "A Mormon Apostle in Boston: Sightseeing, Riot, and Martyrdom."

The Harvard Gazette features a story about the award.

permalink | Published: Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 12:16 PM


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