American history scholar Tracy Campbell receives medallion for her intellectual achievements


LEXINGTON, Kentucky (May 24, 2022) — University of Kentucky Libraries has awarded the 2022 British Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement to American history professor Tracy Campbell.

Established in 1990 and considered one of the UK’s most prestigious awards, the medallion honors a Kentucky resident whose achievements represent the pinnacle of education and creative thinking in the fields of science, literature, art and philanthropy. Medallion recipients are determined by the UK’s National Library Advisory Council after receiving nominations from the public. Past recipients include John Anthony, Wendell Berry, James Still, Bobbie Ann Mason, Thomas D. Clark, Laman A. Gray Jr., Guy Davenport, George C. Herring, Adalin Wichman, John Egerton, Karl Raitz, George Wright, James C Klotter, F. Douglas Scutchfield, Everett McCorvey, Robert K. Wallace, Robert Lawson and Bell Hooks.

“It is an honor for UK libraries to be able to award this year’s medallion to Tracy Campbell, Ph.D. An outstanding educator and prodigious scholar,” said Doug Way, Dean of UK Libraries. “Dr. Campbell had a significant impact on his students in the UK and in the wider academic conversation. His latest work, ‘The Year of Peril: America in 1942’, shows the importance of understanding the past to understand the present and show why Dr. Campbell is so deserving of this honor.”

Campbell is the E. Vernon Smith and Eloise C. Smith Professor of American History at the UK College of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of five books, including “The Year of Peril: America in 1942” and the winner of the 2021 Barbara and David Zalaznick American History Book Award from the New-York Historical Society. He was also named an American Historian Laureate by the N-YHS. Among his other books, “Short of the Glory: The Fall and Redemption of Edward F. Prichard, Jr.” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and “The Gateway Arch: A Biography” won the 2014 Missouri History Book Award.

A native of Kentucky, Campbell earned a BA from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. from Duke University. He has been teaching in the UK since 1999 and received the Great Teacher Award from the UK Alumni Association in 2010. In 2019 he received a Stanton Foundation Fellowship to create the course “The History of misinformation”. He’s been featured on NPR’s morning and weekend editions with Scott Simon, “The World in Time” podcast with Lewis Lapham, and will be a guest on an upcoming “History with David” show. Rubenstein” on PBS.

“As an alumnus and faculty member of the University of Kentucky, it is a profound honor to receive this award, especially given the list of previous recipients,” said Campbell.

Professor Campbell was honored at the UK Libraries’ Spring Celebration on May 12. The 2022 winners of the Dean of Libraries UK’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship were also honoured: Claire-Marie Hall and Isabelle Pethtel.

A nursing graduate, Hall was recognized for her seminal paper, “The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Suicidal Ideation.” Hall used the UK Libraries website, citation guides, search engines and academic databases, as well as recommendations from an information literacy session with librarian Stephanie Henderson to review existing literature on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and suicide and offers potential areas for future research. The findings of Hall’s research paper led to greater promotion of suicide awareness training as part of the licensing renewal process for registered nurses in Kentucky beginning in 2022.

A graduate in digital media and design, Pethtel has been recognized for her media project, “King of the Coop.” Using the King Library Press (KLP) and all of its resources to inform his letterpress printing and hand binding process, Pethtel created an original publication, which included writing his own short story, illustrating a images alongside text, book printing using KLP’s Chandler. and Price press, and the hand binding of the book itself. She thanks KLP Director Paul Holbrook and volunteer Frank Jones for guiding her through the process and having a profound impact on her research.

The Dean of Libraries UK’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship (Dean’s Award) recognizes and celebrates outstanding and original scholarship from students whose research projects make substantial and creative use of UK library collections, services and resources. Nominations for the Dean’s Award are accepted each spring.

As the Commonwealth’s premier research library, UK Libraries enable lifelong learners to discover, create and connect by providing ever-wider access to quality information and collaborating with academic communities and creative organizations from all over the world to advance knowledge, improve knowledge and preserve the history and culture of the Republic. More information on UK Libraries can be found on its website.


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