Christina Snyder receives Society of American Historians' Francis Parkman Prize

May 15, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Christina Snyder, McCabe Greer Professor of History at Penn State, has received the 2018 Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians (SAH).

SAH, founded in 1939 by American journalist and historian Allen Nevins, encourages and promotes literary distinction in the writing and presentation of American history. The society awards the Francis Parkman Prize annually to a nonfiction work of history published in the previous year that contributes significantly to American history and is distinguished by its literary merit. The prize is named in honor of the 19th-century historian who was widely honored for his elegant prose style.

Snyder was recognized for her book, “Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson” (Oxford University Press, 2017). “Great Crossings” recounts the remarkable history of a complex encounter between Native Americans, African-Americans and Anglo-Americans at Great Crossings — the Kentucky estate where the Choctaw Academy brought these three groups together in an ambitious educational project during the 19th century. As noted in an SAH release announcing the award, “Snyder constructs a narrative that is both strongly grounded and sweepingly significant, moving from telling detail to historiographical intervention while maintaining the interpretive, analytical and theoretical insight that marks the best historical writing.”

“Our department is delighted that Christina Snyder has been recognized in this way,” said Michael Kulikowski, professor and head of the Penn State Department of History. “The Parkman Prize is one of our profession’s greatest honors; it means that the recipient is not only a scholar, but also a literary author of tremendous skill and insight. Christina's combination of rigorous research, teaching excellence and public-facing scholarship is a model for us all and the ideal to which liberal arts faculty should aspire.”

Snyder’s research explores colonialism, race and slavery, with a focus on North America from the pre-contact era through the 19th century. She has received research support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Antiquarian Society, the American Philosophical Society, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In addition to “Great Crossings,” Snyder is the author of “Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America” (Harvard University Press, 2010). That book earned several awards, including the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, the James H. Broussard Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and the John C. Ewers Prize from the Western History Association.

Snyder can be reached at 814-863-0181 or

  • Christina Snyder

    Christina Snyder, McCabe Greer Professor of History at Penn State.

    IMAGE: photo provided

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 17, 2018