The Empire State Archives and History Award
acknowledges the outstanding contributions by a national figure
to advance the understanding and uses of history in society.
Empire State Archives & History Award
About the Award
The physical award that we present to our honorees is a 14 x 12-inch bas relief sculpture created by Gene Mackay, based on a delightful sketch found within the Dutch Colonial records held in the municipal Archives of Amsterdam.
It is rare to find expressions of artistic talent in the usually sober and dry administrative records of the 17th century. Imagine the surprise when the accompanying drawing appeared upon turning the page of Pieter Perssen's protocol of notarial records. It shows the notary sitting at his desk reviewing the records.
Not only does the drawing offer a rare glimpse into the world of this important position in the Dutch judicial system, but also exhibits the artistic talent of his clerk. We selected this sketch to inspire our award for its depiction of a scribe studiously at work, not unlike our historian scholars to this day.