Bert Fireman and Janet Fireman Award
Bert M. Fireman (1913–1980) was, by choice and vocation, an Arizonan. Fireman worked as an AP and UP journalist after finishing his BA at Arizona State University in 1936. For thirteen years he wrote a daily column for the Phoenix Gazette titled “Under the Sun.” In the 1950s he narrated a local radio program “Arizona Crossroads” on the state’s history, and organized the Arizona Historical Foundation. Fireman was one of the moving forces in exploring and promoting Arizona history and western history. He traveled extensively and wrote for both popular and scholarly audiences in venues like Arizona Highways, Arizona and the West, The Historian, and The American West. He believed in accessible, readable history that would involve the broader public. With Madeline Paré, he authored two Arizona history texts, and was completing a third “informal history,” published posthumously in 1982 as Arizona: Historic Land.
“My father, whose struggles, energies, and dedication to and absolute delight in learning, inspired us,” writes his daughter Janet R. Fireman, Editor of California History and a member of the History Department at Loyola Marymount University. "Our thinking was to continue, in some way, one of my father's enormous pleasures: imparting keen interest and sharing his devotion to intellectual honesty with his students, with researchers and others—or perhaps infecting them with his avid curiosity and biting hunger for history. During the last thirteen years of his life at ASU, he held forth in large classes as a lecturer in Arizona history and as curator of the Arizona Collection in Hayden Library, as well as executive vice president of the Arizona Historical Foundation. After his death, we thought that supporting an award that might stimulate student research, writing, and achievement in Western history would honor his memory by perpetuating his passion,” (email correspondence, 1 July 2004).
A memorial for Bert Fireman appeared in the Summer 1980 issue of the Journal of San Diego History, http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/80summer/memoriam.htm, and the Journal of Arizona History published an autobiographical essay in its Spring 1982 issue. Janet R. Fireman’s WHA presidential address, “The Latitudes of Home: A Particular Place in Western History,” WHQ 30 (Spring 1999): 5–23, includes recollections of her father.
First announced as the Bert M. Firemen Award by the Western History Association Council at the 1982 WHA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, and renamed the Bert Fireman and Janet Fireman Award in 2015, this award recognizes the best student article published in the Western Historical Quarterly each year, as judged by the editors of the WHQ. The award is generously supported by the Fireman family.
2014: Andrew Offenburger, "When the West Turned South: Making Home Lands in Revolutionary Sonora," WHQ Autumn 2014, 299-319.
2013: Fredy González, "Chinese Dragon and Eagle of Anáhuac: The Local, National, and International Implications of the Ensenada Anti-Chinese Campaign of 1934," WHQ Spring 2013, 49–68.
2012: Miles Powell, "Divided Waters: Heiltsuk Spatial Management of Herring Fisheries and the Politics of Native Sovereignty," WHQ Winter 2012, 463–84.
2011: Bob H. Reinhardt, "Drowned Towns in the Cold War West: Small Communities and Federal Water Projects," WHQ Summer 2011, 149–172.
2010: Todd Holmes, "The Economic Roots of Reaganism: Corporate Conservatives, Political Economy, and the United Farm Workers Movement, 1965-1970," WHQ Spring 2010, 55–80.
2009: Alexander I. Olson, "Heritage Schemes: The Curtis Brothers and the Indian Moment of Northwest Boosterism," WHQ Summer 2009, 159–178.
2008: Janne Lahti, “Colonized Labor: Apaches and Pawnees as Army Workers,” WHQ Autumn 2008, 283–302.
2007: Gretchen Heefner, “Missiles and Memory: Dismantling South Dakota’s Cold War,” WHQ Summer 2007, 181–203.
2006: Roxanne Willis, "A New Game in the North: Alaska Native Reindeer Herding, 1890-1940," WHQ Autumn 2006, 277–301.
2005: Nicolas G. Rosenthal, "Representing Indians: Native American Actor on Hollywood's Frontier," WHQ Autumn 2005, 329–352.
2004: James Feldman, "The View from Sand Island: Reconsidering the Peripheral Economy, 1880-1940," WHQ Autumn 2004, 285–307.
2003: Matthew C. Whitaker, “‘Creative Conflict’: Lincoln and Eleanor Ragsdale, Collaboration, and Community Activism in Phoenix, 1953–1965,” WHQ Summer 2003, 165–190.
2002: Daniel M. Cobb, “‘Us Indians Understand the Basics’: Oklahoma Indians and the Politics of Community Action, 1964–1970,” WHQ Spring 2002, 41–66.
2001: Helen McLure, “The Wild, Wild Web: The Mythic American West and the Electronic Frontier,” WHQ Winter 2000, 457–76.
2000: Adam M. Sowards, “Administrative Trials, Environmental Consequences, and the Use of History in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, 1926–1996,” WHQ Summer 2000, 189–214.
1999: Pekka Hämäläinen, “The Western Comanche Trade Center: Rethinking the Plains Indian Trade System,” WHQ Winter 1998, 485–513.
1998: Elliott Young, “Red Men, Princess Pocahontas, and George Washington: Harmonizing Race Relations in Laredo at the Turn of the Century,” WHQ Spring 1998, 49–85.
1997: Andrew H. Fisher, “The 1932 Handshake Agreement: Yakama Indian Treaty Rights and Forest Service Policy in the Pacific Northwest,” WHQ Summer 1997, 187–217.
1996: Brad Asher, “‘Their Own Domestic Difficulties’: Intra-Indian Crime and White Law in Western Washington Territory, 1873-1889,” WHQ Summer 1996, 189–209.
1995: Alexandra Harmon, “Lines in the Sand: Shifting Boundaries between Indians and Non-Indians in the Puget Sound Region,” WHQ Winter 1995, 429–53.
1994: Christina Klein, “‘Everything of interest in the late Pine Ridge War are held by us for sale’: Popular Culture and Wounded Knee,” WHQ Spring 1994, 45–68.
1993: Gunther Peck, “Padrones and Protest: ‘Old’ Radicals and ‘New’ Immigrants in Bingham, Utah, 1905-1912,” WHQ May 1993, 157–78.
1992: David W. Stowe, “Jazz in the West: Cultural Frontier and Region During the Swing Era,” WHQ February 1992, 52–73.
1991: Robert R. Treviño, “Prensa y patria: The Spanish-Language Press and the Biculturation of the Tejano Middle Class, 1920-1940,” WHQ November 1991, 451–72.
1990: Kevin Allen Leonard, “‘Is That What We Fought For?’ Japanese Americans and Racism in California, The Impact of World War II,” WHQ November 1990, 463–82.
1989: Charles E. Rankin, “Teaching Opportunity and Limitation for Wyoming Women,” WHQ May 1990, 147–70.
1988: William F. Deverell, “To Loosen the Safety Valve: Eastern Workers and Western Lands,” WHQ August 1988, 269–85.
1987: None Awarded.
1986: Kenneth J. Bindas, “Western Mystic: Bob Nolan and His Songs,” WHQ October 1986, 439–56.
1985: Joseph B. Herring, “Tragedy on the Osage,” WHQ April 1986, 185–200.
1984: David Rich Lewis, “Argonauts and the Overland Trail Experience: Method and Theory,” WHQ July 1985, 285–305.
1983: Douglas R. Littlefield, “Water Rights during the California Gold Rush: Conflicts Over Economic Points of View,” WHQ October 1983, 415–34.