MNHS Honors Excellence in Research and Writing for 'Minnesota History' Magazine with Solon J. Buck Award

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Release dated: 
November 11, 2020
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Contacts: Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, or Julianna Olsen, 651-259-3140,

MNHS Honors Excellence in Research and Writing for 'Minnesota History' Magazine with Solon J. Buck Award

MNHS congratulates this year's winners of the Solon J. Buck Award which recognizes originality, excellence and creativity in research and writing for articles published in "Minnesota History" magazine.

The awardee for best article in 2019 is Bruce Johansen for "Out of Silence: FREE, Minnesota’s First Gay Rights Organization," which appeared in the spring 2019 issue. The judges admired how the article transported them to the time and place of the events surrounding the June 1969 founding of FREE (Fight Repression of Erotic Expression) in the coffeehouses of Minneapolis’s West Bank and nearby University of Minnesota. In its brief but influential history, FREE was instrumental in Minnesota’s LGBTQ community “emerging from the shadows like never before.” The judges were pleased to have this important, heretofore little-known topic so aptly illuminated and cited its engaging writing and deep research, using primary, oral, and secondary sources. 

Johansen is a Minneapolis-based writer, editor, and historian. He holds a PhD in American studies from the University of Maryland.

There was also an honorable mention for the Buck Award, Eric Boime for “Homecroft City: The ‘Duluth Idea’ in the Progressive Conservation Movement,” also in the spring 2019 issue. Boime is associate professor of environmental history and borderlands studies at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley. 

The awards are decided by two judges and the magazine editor. The judges this year were Annette Atkins, professor emerita of history at Saint John’s University/College of Saint Benedict, and Wayne Gannaway, executive director of the History Center of Olmsted County. The magazine editor is Laura Weber. 

Explore more of Minnesota History magazine.

About the Buck Award
The Solon J. Buck Award has been awarded since 1954 to the best article of the year in "Minnesota History" magazine. The prize is named for the magazine’s first editor who was also superintendent of the Minnesota Historical Society, and later, United States Archivist. "Minnesota History" magazine is a benefit of MNHS membership. It has been published quarterly since 1915.

About the Minnesota Historical Society 
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at