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About the Taft Award

Photo: Philip Taft

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Pam Gueldner
Cornell University
ILR School
Dept. of Labor Relations, Law, & History
275 Ives Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Tel: (607) 255-2744
Fax: (607) 255-6840

The Philip Taft Labor History Award competition is open to any book or books published in the 2023 calendar year relating to the history of American Labor. 

The committee defines "labor history" in a broad sense to include the history of workers (free and unfree, organized and unorganized), their institutions, and their workplaces, as well as the broader historical trends that have shaped working-class life, including but not limited to: immigration, slavery, community, the state, race, gender, and ethnicity.

A hard copy of each nominated book should be sent directly to each member of the Award Committee at the address listed in the Submission Guidelines. The Award is offered by the ILR School at Cornell University, in cooperation with the Labor and Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA).

Please nominate books no later than December 15, 2023.   We will accept page proofs for books published during the last two weeks of December. Please check the Submission Guidelines for full nomination information.  The winner of this year's prize will be announced at the 2024 LAWCHA annual meeting.

The 2023 Taft Labor History Award winner is Steven C. Beda: Strong Winds and Widow Makers: Workers, Nature, and Environmental Conflict in Pacific Northwest Timber Country, published by the University of Illinois Press. Steven Beda places the experiences of workers at the very center of this beautifully written book, showing us that for logging workers, their everyday relationship to the places where they lived and worked shaped their values about the forests and proper stewardship of the timber. The forests were their homes and their workplaces, as well as places to hunt, fish, and hike. Examining these issues, Beda’s study challenges popular narratives about the clashes between logging workers, environmentalists, and employers.


Ileen A. DeVault
Chair, Philip Taft Labor History Award Committee