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2024 Mendel Sato Research Award Winners

WashU Libraries are excited to announce the winners of the fourth annual Mendel Sato Research Award. Congratulations to WashU students Audrey Langston-Wiebe and Phoebe Santalla for their excellent projects that explore and highlight unique primary source material and documents from the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections. Both projects are examples of exceptional archival research.

Audrey Langston
Audrey Langston-Wiebe

Audrey Langston-Wiebe (BA, Biology ‘26) won the undergraduate award for her essay, “Identity Insecurity as Observed in Eugene O’Neill: Examining America’s Most Tragic Playwright in the Sociological Lens,” completed for senior lecturer Deanna Benjamin’s College Writing class, Writing Identity, in fall 2023. Her essay applies sociological theories to O’Neill’s work and identity by analyzing primary sources from the Harley Hammerman Collection on Eugene O’Neill.

Benjamin, a senior lecturer in College Writing and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, wrote in a statement of support that “Her research was extensive: from reading the reception of his plays, to reading several letters that are housed in special collections, to familiarizing herself with Social Verification Theory.”

Phoebe Santalia
Phoebe Santalla

Phoebe Santalla (MFA-IVC ‘24) received the graduate award for her zine, Welcome to the Masquerade, created as part of her fall 2023 independent study that focused on LGBTQ+ history, specifically working with curator Miranda Rectenwald and the Local History collection. As part of the MFA in Illustration and Visual Culture (MFA-IVC) program, Santalla used the ACLU of Missouri Records to research legal cases involving people who were arrested under a “masquerading” law that prohibited cross-dressing in public and was used to target LGBTQ+ people. She also did additional research on the early 1980s using contemporary newspaper sources to make the images historically accurate.

In a letter of support for Santalla, Joy Novak, head of Special Collections, wrote, “Phoebe used her unique skills as an illustrator and researcher, which she has developed throughout the IVC program, to adapt a complex legal history into a compelling, informative, and visual resource that is accessible to wide audiences. This project addressed the very common challenge in the archives field of making historically significant archival records engaging and accessible to non-academic audiences who could benefit from such materials.”

We are delighted to share both projects on Washington University Libraries’ Open Scholarship Institutional Repository: 

Identity Insecurity as Observed in Eugene O’Neill: Examining America’s Most Tragic Playwright in the Sociological Lens

Welcome to the Masquerade

You can view past winning projects on the Mendel Sato Research Award Projects page on Open Scholarship.