Sally McMurry is the 2018 winner of the Philip S. Klein Book Prize from the Pennsylvania Historical Association for Pennsylvania Farming: A History in Landscapes.
Pennsylvania Farming, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in October 2017, presents the first history of PA agriculture in sixty years. McMurry goes beyond a strictly economic approach and considers the diverse forces that helped shape the farming landscape, from physical factors to cultural repertoires to labor systems. Above all, the people who created and worked on Pennsylvania’s farms are placed at the center of attention. More than 150 photographs inform the interpretation, which offers a sweeping look at the evolution of Pennsylvania’s agricultural landscapes right up to the present day.
The Philip S. Klein Book Prize is awarded for the best book on a topic that illuminates the history of Pennsylvania. A selection committee evaluates the overall quality of scholarship, the significance of contribution to historical knowledge and methodology, and its style, presentation, and readability.
McMurry is a cultural and social historian of nineteenth-century America, with a special interest in the history of agriculture, landscape, architecture, and gender as they develop in rural contexts. She has authored several books on landscape and architectural history, including From Sugar Camps to Star Barns: Rural Life and Landscape in a Western Pennsylvania Community. McMurry is professor emerita of history at Penn State and former president of the Agricultural History Society.
McMurry was awarded the prize at the Pennsylvania Historical Association annual meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on October 12.