Two Women Historians Win Order of the Coif Book Awards

The Order of the Coif Book Award was established in 1961 as a triennial award. The first award covered the publication period 1961-1963 and was presented in January 1964. In 2004, the executive committee voted to change the award to a biennial award, and as of 2020, it is an annual award. The Order of the Coif presents one or more awards to the author or authors of outstanding publications that evidence creative talent of the highest order. The awarded books have advanced a field, illuminated new areas of thought and research, or explored the many hard questions that law raises.

This year two women scholars are the recipients of the Order of the Coif Book Award.

Susan J. Pearson is a professor of history at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Her research focuses on the cultural politics of reform, the expansion of the state and forms of governance, and the development of American liberalism. She was honored for her book The Birth Certificate: An American History (University of North Carolina Press, 2021). The book examines both how birth registration became compulsory in the United States and how birth certificates became trusted forms of identification.

Dr. Pearson is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, where she majored in women’s studies. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mia Bay, the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the Order of the Coif 2022 Book Award for Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance (Harvard University Press, 2021). From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and what it was like to live with them.

Dr. Bay is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. at Yale University.

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