Judy Machen Wins 2018 Los Alamos History Award

Judy Machen holds a copy of Homesteading on the Pajarito Plateau, 1887-1942, the book that tells the story of the homesteader presence on the Pajarito Plateau. Courtesy photo

Los Alamos Historical Society News:

The Board of Directors of the Los Alamos Historical Society is pleased to announce that Judy Machen has won the 2018 Los Alamos History Award.

A former research historian at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Machen is a co-author of the award-winning book, Homesteading on the Pajarito Plateau, 1887-1942, along with Ellen McGee and Dorothy Hoard. Her research has led her deep into the stories of homesteader Harold Brook, the Romero family, and others who helped shape the history of the Pajarito Plateau. She has unearthed diaries and photos in addition to establishing relationships with homestead descendants who continue to help increase our community’s knowledge of these early stories.

The Los Alamos History Award is an annual prize that recognizes significant contributions to preserving the world-changing history of the community. The winner is announced each year at the Historical Society’s gala, held this year Sept. 15 at historic Fuller Lodge.

From the nominations submitted, the following comments illustrate the qualities and contributions that won the award for Machen. “Besides being a multitalented author, researcher, and historian, Judy has been an incredibly generous volunteer of her time to the Historical Society. She is meticulous in her scholarship and has contributed greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the rich heritage of our community.”

“Judy co-authored the foundational study of Pajarito Plateau homesteaders. She is a detail-oriented researcher, cutting to the root stories. … Judy is excited by our Los Alamos and Pajarito Plateau history and makes it publicly available through interesting and focused lectures as well as prolific, accurate writing. Judy has presented to the Historical Society of New Mexico conference and the Los Alamos Historical Society lecture series as well as assisted in training Los Alamos History Museum volunteers.”

Factors that weigh heavily in consideration for the award include depth and breadth of achievement over time, volunteer commitment, and a lasting impact. Both individuals and organizations are eligible. Posthumous awards are not made, and self-nominations are not allowed. Staff and board members are not eligible during the period of their active service. Awardees are selected through a rigorous, blind voting process by the Historical Society’s board of directors.

Machen joins an illustrious group of previous winners. The Los Alamos History Award was first given in 2014 to Helene Suydam and her late husband, Jerry, as well as Clay and Dorothy Perkins, who received the awards for donating historic homes on Bathtub Row to the Historical Society.

Hedy Dunn, director emeritus of the Los Alamos History Museum, and Nancy Bartlit, former president of the Historical Society, tied for the award in 2015. Georgia and Gerry Strickfaden, Los Alamos natives and the proprietor of Atomic City Tours, won the 2016 award, and Denny Erickson, former president of the Historical Society and co-chair of the organization’s successful multi-million dollar fundraising campaign, won in 2017.