What are the goals of the award?

The Richard O. Hathaway Award is presented annually to an individual, group or organization recognized as making an outstanding contribution to the field of Vermont history. Projects may include, but are not limited to, publications, exhibits, works of art, documentary films, radio programs, websites, and dramatic works.

The Hathaway Award was created to stimulate outstanding work in the field of Vermont history. It is dedicated to the memory of Richard O. Hathaway, whose lifelong work teaching Vermont history was an inspiration to his colleagues and to the many students he taught and mentored, both inside and outside academia.

Who was Richard O. Hathaway?

Hathaway buried in an office full of books.Hathaway buried in an office full of books.Richard Hathaway was a serious scholar, and he was at the same time a delightful, light-hearted man with a real understanding of Vermont history and genuine sympathy for the underdog. He believed that history was expressed in many forms, and collected many of those forms, from books and old manuscripts to 19th century etchings, cartoons and painted dioramas. He loved films and drama as well as books.

As teacher and historian, Richard Hathaway opened doors to the past and in doing so enlightened the present. Hundreds of students were grateful recipients of his gift as an exuberant and witty lecturer and his encyclopedic knowledge of American history. He gently pushed his students to think both broadly and deeply about history, to consider the human values underlying events, and to be, as he was, deeply inclusive in their research and thinking. He also encouraged his students not to give up; he used to sign his letters to students, “Keep on keeping on! You are getting there!” He was, in other words, a legend.

He began his journey into the study of history at Bates College and then on to Northwestern University where he earned a graduate degree. Dick's first teaching job was at Bowdoin College in Maine. He joined the faculty at Goddard College in 1965 and subsequently taught at Norwich University and Vermont College.

He authored more than 300 articles, essays, book reviews, and commentaries and served as a humanities scholar with the Vermont Humanities Council, president of the Vermont Labor History Society, and trustee of the Vermont Historical Society.

The Hathaway Award seeks to inspire, through a variety of formats, the same scholarship, passion, and deep inclusiveness that Richard O. Hathaway brought to his life and work.

"What I do has a kind of housebroken prophetic nature about it . . . If you want to be weepy-dreepy about it, you could say I'm clothing the naked, feeding the hungry." — Richard O. Hathaway


Guidelines and application

Individuals, groups, or organizations may apply or be nominated. Applications are due at the Vermont Historical Society by July 15th of each year. The award will be presented at the Society's annual meeting.  Applications will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Informs and enlightens the audience about Vermont history.
  • Creatively conceived and skillfully produced.
  • Historically accurate and well-researched.
  • Reaches a popular, preferably wide and diverse, audience.
  • Helps to preserve or document Vermont history.

Download a copy of the application.

For more information about the award, or the application, contact the Executive Director at


Past winners


H. William Johansen, Vermont Stones – Italian Bones


Jeff Kaufman, The State of Marriage ( documentary film)


John J. Duffy and H. Nicholas Muller III, Inventing Ethan Allen


Howard Coffin, Something Abides: Discovering the Civil War in Today's Vermont


Vermont Public Television, Little Jerusalem


Lynn A. Bonfield, for New England to Gold Rush California: The Journal of Alred and Chastina W. Tix, 1849-1854.


Elise A. Guyette for Discovering Black Vermont: African American Farmers in Hinesburgh, 1790–1890.


The Green Mountain Club, for A Century in the Mountains: Celebrating Vermont's Long Trail.


Caro Thompson, Broadwing Productions, for the 2008 video documentary, Champlain: The Lake Between.

2009 Honorable Mentions

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina for her book, Mr. and Mrs. Prince.
Vince Franke and Bill Doyle, for their DVD, Life in Chittenden County.

2008 (co-winners)

Randy Croce, for his 2007 documentary DVD, If Stone Could Speak
Nicholas R. and Deborah Pickman Clifford, for their 2007 book, The Troubled Roar of the Waters: Vermont in Flood and Recovery, 1927-1931

2007 (co-winners)

Jeffrey D. Marshall, for his 2006 historical novel, The Inquest.
Vermont Women's History Project of the Vermont Commission on Women, for DVD based on Expo 2006 Women in Vermont history theme, Strenghtening the Future by Illuminating the Past.

2006 (first year awarded)

Kim Bent, for the 2005 play, Stone.

Richard O. Hathaway papers

  • Richard O. Hathaway papers (PDF)
    This collection consists of mainly of course notes, examination papers, academic writings, and miscellaneous papers of Richard O. Hathaway from his undergraduate years at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine (Class of 1955). Also included are several papers from his tenure as board member at the T.W. Wood Gallery, Montpelier, Vermont, ca. 1990.