Award-winning paper examines Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences in Dakota Territory

Austin Artz, a recently graduated UND senior, has won the 2017-18 Merrifield Competition.

Named in honor of Webster Merrifield, UND’s first librarian and third president, the Merrifield Competition awards a $1,000 scholarship for the most outstanding student research paper utilizing historic documents from the Chester Fritz Library’s Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections. The competition is sponsored by Special Collections and the UND Department of History.

Artz’s paper, “The Eris of the West: the Origin and Genealogy of a Fabricated Narrative and How it Contaminated a Century of Theodore Roosevelt Historiography,” examined a legend surrounding the 26th President and his supposed actions as a vigilante engaged in opposing cattle rustlers in western Dakota Territory.

Artz, the son of Robert and Brenda Artz, graduated from Minot High School in 2014 and attended UND, graduating with a major in history and minor in German on May 12. He portrays Quentin Roosevelt in Medora for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation during the summer. Artz will enter Catholic seminary for the Diocese of Bismarck in the Fall and will study at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, Colorado.

A five-member jury reviewed the papers submitted for the competition. The jury consisted of Curt Hanson, Head of Special Collections, and four UND faculty members: Mary Baker, Teaching and Learning; Hans Broedel, History; Adam Kitzes, English; and Rebecca Simmons, Biology.

The papers were judged on quality of research, clarity of thesis and conclusion, writing skill, and the investigation of primary sources.

Additional information about the Merrifield Competition can be found here: