Press/Journalists

Press Release
October 14, 2005

Prologue Article Wins Award for National Archives Staffer

Washington, DC…An article in Prologue : Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration has won the prestigious Arline Custer Award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) for its author, National Archives staff archivist David A. Pfeiffer.

The article, "Bridging the Mississippi: The Railroads and Steamboats Clash at the Rock Island Bridge," tells the story of the controversy over the building of the first bridge across the Mississippi River in the 1850s, from Rock Island, IL, to Davenport, IA. It appeared in the Summer 2004 Prologue .

The battle over the bridge, Pfeiffer recounts, involved both railroad and steamboat interests as well as two players who would later meet on a larger stage in American history: Abraham Lincoln, then a country lawyer representing the Rock Island Bridge Company, who was defending the railroad's right to bridge the river, and Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, who opposed the Rock Island bridge in favor of one in the South.

Pfeiffer is an archivist with the Civilian Records Staff, Textual Archives Services Division of the National Archives. For the article, he drew from case files in the records of the United States Supreme Court, which are part of the holdings of the Archives.

At the National Archives, Pfeiffer specializes in transportation records and has published articles and given numerous presentations concerning railroad records in the Archives. He received his bachelor's degree from Ithaca College in 1975 and his master's degree form George Mason University in 1982. He has worked for the National Archives since 1977.

Begun in 1972, MARAC is a volunteer, regional consortium of archivists who live and work in the Mid-Atlantic states. The award honors the memory of Arline Custer (1909-1975), MARAC member and editor of the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. Awards are given annually for the best article and best book each year that appeal to the general public as well as the archival community. The award will be presented at MARAC's meeting October 22 in Dover, DE.

For 37 years, Prologue has shared with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. Each issue features historical articles-drawn from National Archives' holdings and written by noted historians, archivists, and experts-as well as articles explaining and describing many of the National Archives' activities and programs as the nation's recordkeeping agency.

Selected articles from Prologue may be viewed at www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/

A 1-year subscription to Prologue costs $20. To begin a subscription, call 301-837-1850 or 1-800-234-8861, or print out the order form found on the web site at www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/order/. Mail orders to Prologue , P.O. Box 100684, Atlanta, GA, 30384. You can also fax credit card orders to Prologue at 301-837-0319.

Single copies of Prologue are available at the Archives Shop or at the Cashier's Office in the National Archives Building in Washington or at the Publications Sales Office at the National Archives at College Park. Back issues are also available at the College Park location.

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