The Albert B. Corey Prize

The Albert B. Corey prize is jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association (AHA) and Canadian Historical Association (CHA) for the best book on the history of Canadian-American relations or the history of both countries. 

The prize will be awarded at the American Historical Association in 2018.


Corey Prize Winners

(awarded at the CHA Annual Meeting, University of Calgary)

Robert MacDougall, The People’s Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

rob_macdougall_profile_photo[1].jpgMacDougall deploys comparative and transnational theoretical frames to trace the struggle between local telephone operators and the Bell system that eventually (but not inevitably) came to dominate telecommunications in both Canada and the US. The author’s great achievement is to connect business history, technology history and the history of state expansion and regulatory power, while also connecting readers to the wonder of a technology that changed the meaning of time, space and scale.


(awarded at AHA Annual Meeting in New York in January 2014)

Lissa WadewitzThe Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea.

lissa_-_corey.jpgLissa Wadewitz’s The Nature of Borders illuminates beautifully the variables that affected the salmon population of the transnational Pacific Northwest during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She finds that—rather than mere urbanization or industrial innovation—it was the exploitation of the porous US-Canada boundary that imperiled the species. This careful study speaks volumes about the impact of borders on the historical actor least confined by the dictates of the nation-state: the natural world.


(awarded at CHA annual Meeting, University of Waterloo)

Karen A. Balcom, The Traffic in Babies: Cross-Border Adoption and Baby-Selling between the United States and Canada, 1930-1973 Over the twentieth century, many American couples contracted with Canadian agencies to adopt Canadian-born infants, a north-to-south flow of children that was so lightly regulated that unscrupulous operators of maternity homes for unwed mothers engaged in a profitable international "traffic in babies," many of them Native children going to non-Native parents, or children of Catholic and Protestant mothers being adopted across confessional lines by couples in New York City. Adoption abuses were particularly pronounced in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta, often with the complicity of provincial officials, and jurisdictional divisions between provinces and states (responsible for child welfare policies) and federal governments (responsible for immigration) created regulatory gaps that adoption agencies exploited. In her carefully researched study, The Traffic in Babies: Cross-Border Adoption and Baby-Selling between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972, Karen A. Balcom analyses how social workers in both countries collaborated across the international border to reform, and at times create, policies addressing "the seemingly private decision to relinquish or adopt a child" which is simultaneously "a highly charged and often deeply contested public act" (11). By piecing together a complex array of records from repositories across North America, The Traffic in Babies reconstructs the challenges faced by reformers as they tried to transjurisdictional policies for the emotional fraught issues of adoption, and in turn exemplifies the importance of well-crafted transnational history.Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order) Lisa Mar, Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada's Exclusion Era, 1885-1945, Oxford University Press, 2011Brokering Belonging accomplishes much in its concise and elegantly written pages. Lisa Rose Mar rewards her audience with an admirably even-handed portrait of a group easily dismissed or condemned – the middlemen who facilitated the entry of Chinese immigrants into North America during the so-called “Exclusion Era.” Beyond bringing to life these elusive individuals and the many ways they served Chinese newcomers to the United States and Canada, Brokering Belonging marks an exciting intervention into the study of the transnational Pacific World.David Massell, Quebec Hydropolitics: The Peribonka Concessions of the Second World War McGill-Queen's University Press, 2011David Massell’s succinctly written and sharply argued book boldly integrates traditional archival sources from Canada (in both English and French) and the United States with aboriginal oral sources to reveal Quebec’s complex hydroelectric development during the Second World War. This massive project emerged out of a dizzying complexity of local, provincial and national politics, but also took on transborder and international dimensions. Massell’s work forces us to rethink longstanding notions of Quebec hydro historiography, business history, and Canada-US relations.


(awarded at AHA Annual Meeting in Boston in January 2010)

David L. PrestonThe Texture of Contact: European and Indian Settler Communities on the frontiers of Iroquoia, 1667-1783.

Putting community relations at the heart of this clearly written, innovative study, David L. Preston analyzes intercultural contact among settlers – native and European – on the Iroquoian frontier. The quotidian challenges of daily chores and sociability testify to the mutual concerns within these ethnically diverse communities. Preston then addresses the havoc wrought by imperial warfare, which forced people to choose sides, redefine property and landholding arrangements, and abandon the calibrated accommodations forged over previous decades.


(awarded at CHA annual Meeting, June 2008, UBC)

Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, Crossing the Border: A Free Black Community in Canada
(Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2007)

Sharon Hepburn's Crossing the Border is an eloquent and exhaustively researched history of the free-black planned community of Buxton, Ontario. Her richly-textured story touches on the transatlantic currents of abolitionism and the transborder activism of Canadian and American emancipationists, while making a significant comparison of national racial policies. Alternating
between the intimate scale of Buxton's determined citizenry (from its founding in 1849 to today) and the wider complexities of race and slavery in US and Canadian historiography, Hepburn's compelling history offers a close look at one of the all too rare successes in fugitive black community-building in the 19th century.

Sharon A. Roger Hepburn is professor and chair of the department of history at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. 

(awarded at AHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta in January 2007)

John J. Bukowczyk, Nora Faires, David R. Smith, and Randy William Widdis. Permeable Border: The Great Lakes Basin as Transnational Region, 1650-1990 (University of Pittsburgh Press and University of Calgary Press, 2005).

Among a strong field of entries, Permeable Border stood out as a particularly successful effort to push forward understandings of Canadian-American borderlands via emerging ideas of transnationalism.  Taking a broad sweep of time, and balancing new research with critical historiographical analysis, the border is examined as a “human creation.. typically invisible, geographically illogical, militarily indefensible,  and emotionally inescapable” – a border that paradoxically strengthens and disappears simultaneously amidst competing forces of nationalism and globalization.  (AHA Perspectives, vol. 45, no. 3 March 2007, page 33).

(awarded at CHA annual Meeting, University of Manitoba)

Stephen HighIndustrial Sunset: The Making of North Americas Rust Belt, 1969-1984 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003).

Steven Highs imaginative comparison of the distinctive impact of deindustrialization in the Midwestern region of the United States and southern Ontario during the early post-industrial era is a compelling and readable book. His rich oral testimony supplements an extensive secondary literature and a broad public debate on both sides of the border to grapple in a comparative fashion with worker and community reactions to plant closures during the 1970s and early 1980s. Industrial Sunset takes a theme central to Canadian/American relations (the mobility of capital and labour across international boundaries) and breathes new life into it. By situating worker reactions on both sides of the border to downsizing in the context of public discourse on the role of governments and capital in moderating the impact of industrial restructuring, it extends a public debate that has become even more intense in the post Free Trade Agreement era.

(awarded at AHA Annual Meeting in Chicago)

Francis M. Carroll, A Good and Wise Measure: The Search for the Canadian-American Boundary, 1783-1842 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001).

A Good and Wise Measure is a meticulous and thorough examination of the political dynamics and relationships between Great Britain and the United States that led to the creation of the Canadian-American border. Through compelling characterizations of the various personalities involved in the debates, Carroll traces the uneven and often contentious and dramatic process of negotiations between competing economic and military interests that would constitute Anglo-Canadian-American relations into the twentieth century.

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, University of Alberta)

Karen Dubinsky, The Second Greatest Disappointment: Honeymooning and Tourism at Niagara Falls, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1999).

By focusing on a microregion whose spectacular resources are shared by both Canada and the United States, this book reconstructs the transformation of Niagara Falls from an exclusive "tourist site" into one of the most powerful symbols of twentieth-century North American culture. In doing so, the author sheds important light not only on the history of North American tourism but also on the history of sexuality, of marriage, and of their growing commercialization in popular culture. Based upon a wide range of documentary sources, this book is at the cutting edge of cultural history and its analysis is fresh and compelling. Seldom has an historical work spoken so directly and pertinently to both Canadian and United States history.

(awarded at the AHA Annual meeting in Seattle, December 27-30)

Elizabeth Vibert, Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846.

Elizabeth Vibert's work contributes to our understanding of both the native peoples of this time and place and their British and eastern North American observers. The work contains critiques of the historic narratives of fur traders and travellers, organized into topical chapters. Vibert analyses how the cultural backgrounds of these observers shaped perceptions of the peoples and landscapes they encountered. The result is a sophisticated and fascinating cross-cultural study, a model of its type.

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, Brock University)

Ernest Clarke, The Siege of Fort Cumberland 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution

(awarded at the AHA annual meeting in San Francisco, December 27-30)

Royden K. Loewen, Family, Church, and Market: A Mennonite Community in the Old and New Worlds, 1850-1930

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, University of Prince Edouard Island)

Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires and Republic in the Great Lakes Regions, 1650-1815

Honourable Mentions:

Bruno Ramirez, On the Move: French Canadian and Italian Migrants in the North Atlantic Economy, 1860-1914

Michael Doucet and John Weaver, Housing the North American City

(awarded at AHA annual meeting, in New York, December 27-30)

Reginald Stuart, United States Expansionism and British North America, 1775-1871

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, University of Windsor)

Jane Errington, The Lion, The Eagle, and Upper Canada: A Developing Colonial Ideology

(awarded at AHA annual meeting in Chicago, December 27-30)

James L. Axtell, The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, University of Guelph)

James Eayrs, In Defence of Canada. Indochina: Roots of Complicity (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1983)


Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, Dreaming of What Might Be: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880-1900 (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982)

(awarded at AHA annual meeting in Washington, December 27-30)

Guildo Rousseau, L'Image des États-Unis dans la littérature québécoise 1775-1930 (Éditions Naaman)

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, l'Université du Québec à Montréal)

Robert Bothwell and William Kilbourn, C.D. Howe: A Biography (McClelland & Stewart)

(awarded at American Historical Association [AHA] annual meeting in San Francisco, December 27-30)

Michael B. Katz, The People of Hamilton, Canada West: Family and Class in a Mid-Nineteenth-Century City (Harvard Univ. Press)

(awarded at CHA annual meeting, l'Université Laval)

R.H. Babcock, Gompers

(awarded at American Historical Association [AHA] annual meeting in Chicago, December 27-30)

Lester B. Pearson, Mike - two volumes of memoirs by the late Lester B. Pearson

The prize was accepted by Robert Bothwell on behalf of Mrs. Pearson. Mr. Bothwell presented the award to Mrs. Pearson on January 3, 1975.

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