Sharlot Hall Award Recipient 1997

Lillian Gabbard Theobald has made a significant effort to preserve the panorama of Arizona's history and to encourage others to learn and enjoy its colorful stories.   Born in 1907 in Camp Verde, Lillian Gabbard lived in many parts of Arizona during her childhood as her father accepted different assignments with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  In 1932 she married John Theobald, with whom she later published one of Arizona's finest reference books, Arizona Territory: Post Offices and Postmasters (1961).  Between 1962 and 1972 she was especially known for her work in organizing and performing curatorial duties at the Arizona History Room of the First National Bank in Arizona.  After John Theobald's death in 1972, Lillian continued to research and write about Arizona's history.  She collaborated with Bert Fireman to write Wells Fargo in Arizona Territory, and in 1986 produced Hiram Walter Read: Pioneer Pastor and Postmaster.

Lillian has served on the Board of Directors of both the Phoenix Historical Society and the Arizona Historical Society, and is a life member of the Sharlot Hall Historical Society.  She was one of the original organizers of the Phoenix Corral of Westerners International.


Lillian received several nominations for the Sharlot Hall Award.  One spoke eloquently of her love of Arizona and its history: "Lillian is an ardent booster of Arizona -- she has never wanted to live anywhere else and has devoted her life to its welfare.  She loves its desert and its mountains, its sunsets and starlit skies, and wherever she travels in the state, she can recall a historical event or an anecdote to be stored in the memory of those who are fortunate enough to be with her."