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The Ferguson Prize

The Eugene S. Ferguson Prize is awarded biennially by SHOT for an outstanding reference work or resource that supports research and teaching in the history of technology. The Prize consists of a plaque and a cash award.

Eugene S. Ferguson

Eugene S. Ferguson

The Prize honors the memory of Eugene S. Ferguson (1916-2004).  Ferguson’s career encompassed a wide range of essential scholarly activities that are recognized in the scope of this prize. As editor of the first Bibliography of the History of Technology, published in 1968, he was SHOT’s pioneering bibliographer.  As a curator, he consistently raised the importance of museums, exhibitions, and catalogs to the history of technology. As a university professor, he stressed the importance of visual and other nonverbal thinking to engineering since the Renaissance, and thus to the history of technology. In all his activities, he strove for excellence and asked it of others.  SHOT members elected him President (1977-1978) and awarded him the da Vinci Medal in 1977.
In light of Eugene Ferguson’s noteworthy contributions to our understanding of visual thinking and display, nominations of works that demonstrate commitment to and achievement of nonverbal knowledge generation and transmission are especially encouraged.

Ferguson Prize

Ferguson Prize

Resources and works published in English and in the four calendar years prior to the year of the award are eligible for consideration. Publication date shall be interpreted as the year in which the work to be considered first appeared (i.e., first printing, first accessible to the general public on the internet, etc.) It is expected that creators of non-printed works and virtual resources receiving this award will work with an institutional partner (such as Stanford University’s Digital Repository) to provide for appropriate and permanent preservation of their recognized contribution.

Awarded biennially, the next Ferguson Prize will be awarded in 2021. The deadline for nominations was 15 April 2021, it is not possible anymore to submit nominations for the 2021 Ferguson Prize. The next Call for nominations will be posted here mid-February 2023.

Examples of works and resources suitable for nomination for the Ferguson Prize include: Archival online resources; Bibliographies; Biographical dictionaries; Critical editions of primary source materials in English; Documentary histories; Exhibition catalogues; Guides to the field of the history of technology; Historical dictionaries and encyclopedias; Library online resources; Museum online resources; Subject guides to archival repositories and library sources; Topical atlases; Translated works (into English) with substantial annotation and other scholarly apparatus.


SHOT president Ron Kline with 2011 Ferguson Prize winners Pamela Long and David McGee--Alan Stahl, not pictured

SHOT president Ron Kline with 2011 Ferguson Prize winners Pamela Long and David McGee–Alan Stahl, not pictured

Nominations by publishers and authors should be submitted via the online submission form. The link to the form will be posted here mid-February 2023. All nominees should send to each member of the prize committee the letter of nomination, with details of the nominated work and a description why it should be nominated, and a copy of the printed text or electronic media being nominated. All nominees will be given the relevant shipping information after the submission form has been sent.

Nominations by third-parties can be submitted via the online submission form. The link to the form will be posted here mid-February 2023.

For more information, please contact the SHOT Secretariat: [email protected].

2021 Ferguson Prize Committee

María M. Portuondo (2018–2021)
Johns Hopkins University
David C. Brock, Chair (2019-2022)
Computer History Museum
Henry Lowood (2021-2023)
Stanford University

Previous Recipients of the Ferguson Prize

2019 Pamela H. Smith, The Making and Knowing Project’s digital edition of the technical manuscript BnF Ms. Fr. 640,
and the project’s website: https://www.makingandknowing.org/
2017 Susan W. Greene, Wearable Prints, 1760-1860: History, Materials and Mechanics (The Kent State University Press, 2014)
2015 Patrick T. McBriarty, Chicago River Bridges (University of Illinois Press, 2013)
2013 David C. Brock and Christophe Lécuyer, Makers of the Microchip: A Documentary History of Fairchild Semiconductor (MIT Press and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2010)
2011 Pamela O. Long, David B. McGee, Alan M. Stahl, The Book of Michael of Rhodes: A Fifteenth-Century Maritime Manuscript, 3 vol. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009)
2009 John Peter Oleson, The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World (Oxford University Press, 2008)
2007 The Papers of Joseph Henry, ed. Nathan Reingold (vols. 1-5) and Marc Rothenberg (vols. 6-11)
2005 James R. Hansen, ed., The Wind and Beyond: A Documentary Journey into the History of Aerodynamics in America (NASA History Series, 2004)
Special retrospective award The Papers of Thomas A. Edison (Johns Hopkins University Press)