Martha Ross Memorial Prize

I believe Martha’s interest in oral history was more than academic. She was getting in on the ground floor of a new mode of inquiry, a new field—and her enthusiasm was palpable. Coupled with considerable social skill and generous spirit, this enthusiasm opened up for me—and for countless others—a world of colleagues and networks that have since lain at the core of my professional identity. – Linda Shopes, 2013

Throughout her career Martha Ross was instrumental in encouraging students and young professionals to practice oral history. As an educator, Martha believed that “We must be diligent in preparing and training as oral historians, so that our duty to capture and preserve an individual’s story contributes to and fosters the historical narrative.”

Named in honor of our late founding member, OHMAR’s Martha Ross Prize is awarded annually to an undergraduate or graduate student creating original work in oral history. This award both recognizes the achievements of the student and her or his contributions to the field of oral history and provides financial assistance for the student’s current project (i.e., for travel or transcription costs, research, archiving, technology purchases, et cetera) in the amount of $500.

We are delighted that this award allows us to highlight individual work in oral history and to support the next generation of public historians.

1) Applicants must be enrolled full- or part-time at a college or a university at the undergraduate or graduate level and engaged in an ongoing oral history project.
2) Students must either be enrolled in a school in the Mid-Atlantic region OR doing a project that focuses on the Mid-Atlantic region (NY, NJ, DE, PA, MD, DC, VA, WV).
a. Students do not have to be a member of OHMAR to apply for the award.
3) Awardee will present her or his work (even if it is a work in progress) at the annual meeting at which the student receives the Martha Ross Prize.
4) Awardee will write at least one blog for OHMAR in the year following the award.
5) Awardee’s project will be listed on OHMAR’s website.

Application Process
1) Applications will include:
a. A 750-1,000 word description of the project and its expected outcomes.
b. A response to the following question, answered in 250 words: “If you had more time and resources to build upon or expand the project, what would you do?”
c. Any supplemental materials (i.e., links to a website or to video or audio clips, a portion of a transcript no longer than 250 words, et cetera) within reason and as appropriate.
d. The name of an academic mentor or advisor who will be supplying a letter of recommendation.
i. The academic mentor or advisor must send the letter of recommendation directly either in electronic or print format.
2) Applications will be accepted from January 8 to March 8, 2023. Recipients will be notified by March 31, 2023.
3) Please note, projects DO NOT have to fall under the scope of the annual conference theme.
4) Only complete applications will be considered.

Criteria for Evaluation
1) Originality of the work.
2) The project’s relevance to the oral history community and/or to the community on which the project focuses.
3) The project’s research design: objectives, interviewee selection, outline of major topics, plan of work, public access and archiving plans.
Please submit all materials electronically to



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