Joyner Library announced the winners of its eighth annual Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize for student research during an April 5 ceremony held in the Special Collections Reading Room located on the fourth floor of Joyner Library.
Established by Mrs. Ann Schwarzmann to honor William and Emily Rhem and Theodore and Ann Schwarzmann, the Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize recognizes outstanding research papers written by sophomores, juniors and seniors at East Carolina University.
Eligibility criteria required students to use Joyner Library’s Special Collections, which houses manuscripts, rare books, university archives and the North Carolina collection, as a primary source for their research.
“The papers written by this year’s Rhem/Schwarzmann Prize winners enrich our knowledge of university, community and regional history,” said Joyner Library director Jan Lewis. “Their papers illustrate how primary sources in Joyner Library’s Special Collections can be used to research recent events as well as those occurring more than 150 years ago.”
Papers could be in any field of study but had to be at least 10 pages or 2,500 words in length, and submitted by Feb. 17. Entries were judged on originality, quality of research, style, documentation and overall excellence by a panel comprised of faculty members from the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and Joyner Library.
“Through close reading and analysis of primary resource materials, these students improved their critical thinking skills and demonstrated the importance of identifying biases and questioning assumptions,” Lewis noted.
Winning the award for first place — and a $750 prize — was Jeanann Woodard, senior in the Department of History Education in the ECU College of Education, for “Planning and Patronizing: Urban Renewal and Race Relations in Greenville, N.C. in the 1960s.”
“I particularly enjoyed using the special collections because it allowed me to travel back in time and connect with people I may never have a chance to meet,” said Woodard. “While reviewing documents and images, I got the closest thing to a firsthand look at Greenville in the 1960s. The primary sources in the special collection allowed me to better connect to the residents who lost their homes for urban renewal and Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church members, while also exploring the perspective of the city council and the redevelopment commission.”
Two additional award winners were:
- Zachary Dale, senior in the Department of History Education in the College of Education, in second place — a $500 prize — for “Queer History: LGBT Activism at East Carolina University.”
- Andrew Turner, junior in the Department of History in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, in third place — a $250 prize — for “The Battle of New Bern: Trial by Fire.”
“Ultimately, the special collections provided me with the evidence needed to construct an argument for the thesis of my research paper,” Woodard continued.
Arthur Carlson, Joyner’s university archivist, said this year’s cycle was the most successful to date as it featured a record number of qualified entries.
“We are especially proud of our winners, who used the unique resources available in special collections to produce research papers that made an original contribution to human knowledge,” he said.
This year’s awards are made possible by the Friends of Joyner Library and the generosity of the late Mrs. Ann Schwarzmann.
For more information about the awards and future participation, contact Arthur Carlson at 328-6838 or CarlsonAr@ecu.edu.
To learn more about manuscripts and rare books, university archives, digital collections, and the North Carolina Collection, please see www.ecu.edu/cs-lib/specialcollections.
-by Kelly Dilda, University Communication