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Joshua Preston, winner of the Solon J. Buck Award for 2016

Friday, October 20th, 2017

Joshua Preston, Solon J. Buck Award winner in 2016

Minnesota History, our quarterly journal, was established 102 years ago by Solon J. Buck, director of the Minnesota Historical Society, who also served as the journal’s first editor. Buck went on to become archivist of the United States while the magazine went on to become the compelling, richly illustrated publication we value today, with a circulation of more than 25,000 issues quarterly.

To honor Dr. Buck, in 1954 the Society established the Solon J. Buck Award for the best article published in Minnesota History during the preceding calendar year. In 1954 the prize was $50. Today it is $600.

A committee of judges selects the winner for the Buck award. This year’s judges were Susan Roth, long-time National Register historian in the Heritage Preservation office (now retired), and Mathew Cassady, program development specialist, Historic Sites and Museums. The magazine’s editor, Laura Weber (a two-time Buck Award winner), completed this year’s panel, serving as a sounding board but not casting a vote.

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the Solon J. Buck Award for 2016 is Joshua Preston, whose article, “Senator Allan Spear and the Minnesota Human Rights Act,” appeared in the Fall 2016 issue. Preston tells the story of Senator Spear’s two-decades-long fight to amend the Minnesota Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, a goal achieved in 1993. Spear died before he could include this story in his unfinished 2010 biography. The judges cited the achievement of the author marshalling a variety of new sources to bring this important story of marginalized and misrepresented voices to the fore. They noted the contemporary relevance of this social justice struggle from a quarter-century ago and were impressed with how Preston told the story of a “bold man and a bold movement” without over-heroizing his subject. Preston, a graduate of the University of Minnesota at Morris, is currently a JD/MA candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School and a 2017 MNHS Legacy Research Fellow.