Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7654
November 7, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Historian Donald Worster will receive this year's William P. Clements Prize for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America for his biography of the frontier explorer John Wesley Powell, the first man to survey the Colorado River. The book prize is given annually by SMU's Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

In addition to receiving his prize, Worster, the Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Professor of U.S. History at the University of Kansas, will present a lecture on his book at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in McCord Auditorium, third floor of Dallas Hall, 3225 University Ave. The title of the lecture is "Watershed Democracy: Recovering the Lost Vision of John Wesley Powell."

After the lecture, there will be a reception, book signing and a tour of an exhibit of works by Sam Walton, who photographed many of the same places in the Grand Canyon where Powell explored. The photography exhibit is in the Texana Room of the DeGolyer Library. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information about the lecture, contact the Clements Center at 214-768-3684 or e-mail

Worster's book, A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell, (Oxford University Press, 2001) is the first biography of the 19th-century geographer and explorer in more than 50 years. The Western Historical Review called the book "magisterial" and praised it for its emphasis on environmental history.

The Clements Prize promotes and recognizes fine writing and original research on the American Southwest. The competition is open to any non-fiction work, including biography, or any aspect of Southwestern life, past or present. Worster and his publisher will receive $2,500. The center, part of SMU's Dedman College and the William P. Clements Jr. Department of History, promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest.