Heidi J. Osselaer received her undergraduate degree in history at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned both her master’s degree and doctorate in United States history at Arizona State University. In the years thereafter, she has firmly established her preeminence in historical scholarship respecting the pioneering women who contributed significantly to the political, economic and social development of the Arizona Territory and its transition to statehood and beyond.
Dr. Osselaer’s paper, “Nellie Trent Bush: Arizona Politician”, garnered two awards at the 2008 Arizona History Convention: The Barry M. Goldwater award for best paper presented, and the FAzA (Friends of Arizona Archives) award for best use of archival sources. Her award-winning book, Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, 1883-1950 (University of Arizona Press, 2009), has also been widely acclaimed. Additionally, she has contributed articles on Arizona women’s history to the Journal of the West, Territorial Times, Phoenix Woman magazine and other publications within the state.
Dr. Osselaer is a lecturer for the Arizona Humanities Council and has delivered papers on several occasions at the Western History Symposium which is jointly sponsored by the Prescott Corral of Westerners International and the Sharlot Hall Museum.
Currently Dr. Osselaer teaches U.S. Women’s History at Arizona State University, Tempe, and serves on the Scholars’ Committee of the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail (AWHT), where her responsibilities include writing and reviewing nominations for women on the Trail, and assisting the AWHT Historian in researching and preparing walking and driving tours featuring women in Arizona history.
Dr. Osselaer writes and lectures on the subject of Arizona women with passion and authority, such that one could envision her, had she been born seven decades earlier, as a “Nellie Bush”, forever challenging in her time the role of women in politics and other aspects of life in a male-dominated society. Like Ms. Bush, Dr. Osselaer has indeed “won her place” in historical scholarship. Her contributions to the advancement of our understanding and knowledge of the role Arizona women have played in our history make her a nominee worthy of consideration for the Sharlot Hall Award.