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UW American Heritage Center Announces 2020 Fellowship Recipients

June 19, 2020

Three professors and two graduate students are recipients of fellowships from the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center (AHC).

Each fellowship supports a 20-day research stay at the AHC. This year’s fellowships include three new awards: the Alan K. Simpson Fellowship, the George A. Rentschler Fellowship and the Women in Public Life Fellowship. Academic scholars at any level, from graduate students to tenured faculty, were encouraged to apply.

Professors Oleski Navarro, Rachel Sailor and Ryan Tate, along with doctoral candidates Gabriel Raeburn and Brian Sarginger, were awarded AHC fellowships.

“The AHC is pleased to award its largest number of fellowships and travel grants in recent years,” says AHC Director Paul Flesher. “The present health emergency has imposed complications on travel, especially international travel, but this year’s fellows and grant recipients are excited about coming and are looking forward to spending time investigating our collections once the center opens in August.”

Award recipients and projects are:

Alan K. Simpson Fellowship in Western Political History

Tate is a doctoral graduate in history (2020) from Rutgers University. He is researching in the AHC political and economic geology collections for his forthcoming book, titled “Saudi Arabia of Coal,” based on his prize-winning dissertation, “Coal Frontier: Corporate Power and the Making of Powder River Basin, 1965-1995.”

Raeburn is a religious studies and history doctoral candidate from the University of Pennsylvania. Raeburn is studying AHC collections on conservatism to document the rise of the Prosperity Gospel and its impact on modern American politics from the Great Depression through the end of the 20th century.

Bernard L. Majewski Research Fellowship in Economic Geology

Navarro is a visiting professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Augustana College. Navarro will include personal recollections of Venezuela found at the AHC for his book chapter, titled “Crude and Blood: Racial Reconfiguration in Venezuela’s Burgeoning Oil Industry (1922-1975),” for an upcoming edited volume on oil culture in Latin America.

George A. Rentschler Fellowship on the Study of the American West

Sailor, a UW Department of Visual and Literary Arts associate professor, is analyzing pictorial photographs at the AHC. She notes that the photographs -- artful images made by regional and rural photographers -- will be a significant component of her current book project, titled “The Broad Movement: Pictorial Photography in the American West, 1900-1950.”

Women in Public Life Fellowship

Sarginger is a history doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. Sarginger is including the papers of activist investor Wilma Soss in his dissertation arguing that American shareholders, such as Soss, organized to reform corporate policy and augment their own powers and rights within corporations.

Travel Grants

In addition to the fellowships, the AHC awarded 12 travel grants to help researchers pay for traveling from locations throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia to conduct research in the AHC collections.

“They seek to investigate a wide variety of topics, including the rise of the American ski industry, eugenics in the early 20th century, fanzines and storytelling in Disney animated films,” Flesher says.

The AHC awards travel grants and fellowships annually. The next application deadline is March 2021.

For more information about the AHC’s travel grant and fellowship program, visit the website at

For more information, call AHC Archivist Leslie Waggener at (307) 766-2557 or email

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