Winning the Bancroft Prize

Anne Hyde '82

Image courtesy of Anne Hyde '82

Professor Anne Hyde '82 PhD, Bancroft Prize Winner

Major: History

Advanced DegreesMA and PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley

Professional Title: Professor of History and Editor of Western Historical Quarterly

Employer: University of Oklahoma

Our own Anne Hyde ‘82 won the History profession’s most prestigious award, the Bancroft Prize in 2012. for her book Empires, Nations and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860. Empires, Nations, and Families shows how the world of river and maritime trade effectively shifted political power away from military and diplomatic circles into the hands of local people.

Tracing family stories from the Canadian North to the Spanish and Mexican borderlands and from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Hyde's narrative moves from the earliest years of the Indian trade to the Mexican War and the gold rush era. Her work reveals how, in the 1850s, immigrants to these newest regions of the United States violently wrested control from Native and other powers, and how conquest and competing demands for land and resources brought about a volatile frontier culture—not at all the peace and prosperity that the new power had promised.

Hyde used letters and business records to document the broad family associations that crossed national and ethnic boundaries. According to Hyde, “These folks turned out to be almost entirely people of great wealth and status who loved and married across racial and cultural lines. It turns out that the West of that period is really a mixed race world that made perfect cultural and economic sense until national ideas made that cultural choice impossible in the 1850s.”

After writing a senior honors thesis on silver mining labor unions on the Comstock Lode in Nevada, Anne Hyde pursued an MA and PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley. Hyde also served as a Professor of History at Colorado College for 22 years.