CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 30, 2005 — Edward C. Matthews III of Sikeston, Mo., a member of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents and author of the book Matthews: The Historic Adventures of a Pioneer Family, is a winner of the Pioneer America Society’s 2006 Fred Kniffen Book Award.
The book was published by Southeast Missouri University Press in 2004. Each year the Pioneer America Society honors the scholarly work of Dr. Fred Kniffen by awarding outstanding books from publishers in both the United States and Canada that have contributed to the field of North American Material Cultural Studies.
“The book is a story of the Matthews family over 200 years beginning in 1779, from their early home in Virginia, to their move to southeastern Missouri, near and in the town of Sikeston,” the Society writes. “Told from original family records, the family’s chronicle is one ingrained in our nation’s story as their story reflects the many settlers who moved west to create new homes and new lives as our nation ‘settled-up.’ The Matthews’ adversities, success and hard work reflect the social and cultural evolution of a unique region of our country. The interplay shown between family, national issues, regional themes and the community building process makes this book worthy of the Kniffen Award.”
The Fred Kniffen Book Award honors the work Kniffen completed as a long-time scholar at Louisiana State University. His work was influential especially in the fields of cultural geography and vernacular architecture, and he is known as the founder of an entire approach to looking at and understanding the landscape. The Kniffen award recognizes the best-authored book in the field of North American Material Cultural Studies.
The Pioneer America Society (PAS), established in 1967, is an international group of scholars, historians, geographers, and those interested in landscape and material culture studies, who combine their efforts to record, both visibly and orally, that which constitutes the visible landscape. A long line of eminent scholars has been among its members over the years, and this has made the organization one of the major contributors to the field of landscape and material culture studies. Its peer-reviewed journal, Material Culture, has been designated one of the top five research tools for aspiring scholars in landscape studies. Several of the members, including Fred Kniffen, have been internationally recognized as authorities in the field based on the breadth of their publications. In their honor, the PAS established two book awards honoring both the best written and best edited publications during the past year.
The book is available at the Southeast Bookstore on campus, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and Amazon.com.