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William Proctor Writing Contest

William L. Proctor Award
for scholarship on the
History, Archaeology, and Historic Architecture of St. Augustine
awarded by the
Historic St. Augustine Research Institute

The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute announces the William L. Proctor Award for outstanding research and writing at the undergraduate and graduate level on the history, archaeology, and historic architecture of St. Augustine. The Institute will award the William L. Proctor Prize in the amount of $1000 and such other smaller prizes in the discretion of the Institute. This is a juried competition.

William L. Proctor, Ph.D. is the chancellor of Flagler College. For thirty years he served as president of the college; he has also served as a member of the state of Florida State Board of Education and a member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is currently the President of the St. Augustine Foundation, Inc., the funding agency for the Institute.

The Institute is a collaborative project of Flagler College and the University of Florida. Its purpose is to encourage, coordinate and disseminate active academic research related to the history, archaeology and historical architecture of St. Augustine, Florida, and to apply this research in support of historic preservation in the city.

Two St. Augustine books win inaugural Proctor Award

Leslee Keys and Dr. Proctor

The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute has selected two recipients for its inaugural William L. Proctor Award, which was established to identify the best books or scholarly journal articles published each calendar year. This year’s winners are Dr. Leslee Keys, for her book “Hotel Ponce de Leon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Flagler’s Gilded Age Palace,” and Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon for her book “Walking St. Augustine: An Illustrated Guide and Pocket History to America’s Oldest City.”

Keys is an assistant professor of history and director of historical preservation at Flagler College. Her book, published by the University Press of Florida, showcases the construction of Henry Flagler’s Hotel Ponce de Leon and its adaptive use as the centerpiece of the Flagler College campus. The book is the first to present the story of the preservation of the Hotel Ponce de Leon and to address the topic in the context of St. Augustine’s history from the preservation of the City Gate in 1827 through the Depression-era efforts to stabilize the city’s economy and up through St. Augustine’s 400th anniversary in 1965. The book’s peer reviewers included Dr. Meredith Arms Bzdak, Principal, Mills & Schnoering Architects, Princeton; Dr. Ted Ligibel, Executive Director, Historic Preservation Program, Eastern Michigan University; and Dr. Les Standiford, Director, Creative Writing Program, Florida International University. Keys was also recently recognized with the Roy E. Graham Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation Education from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. At Flagler College, she has been closely involved with preservation efforts over the last decade on the campus.

Elisabeth GordonGordon’s book, “Walking St. Augustine,” was also published by the University Press of Florida. It provides readable information from scholars regarding St. Augustine’s history and architecture. It features easy-to-follow maps of walking tours through neighborhoods of the colonial city. The book’s publication in color was made possible through the generosity of University of Florida Historic St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Foundation, Inc. Gordon is an architectural historian living in St. Augustine. She is also the author of “Florida’s Colonial Architectural Heritage” and “Heart and Soul of Florida: Sacred Sites and Historic Architecture.” Gordon designs her research and writing to see the city through the eyes and times of those who lived and worked in St. Augustine through the centuries, as well as those who are today passionate about protecting the historic city’s past and future.

The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute, funded by the St. Augustine Foundation, was established in 1999 as a cooperative organization between Flagler College and the University of Florida to promote original research on the history, archaeology and architecture of St. Augustine and its environs. The Institute’s goal is to spread scholarly knowledge to the general public, and in support of this mission, the William L. Proctor Award was established in late 2015, and this is its inaugural year of awards. Proctor is chancellor of Flagler College, and former president of the college.

2013 Scholarship Recipient

Alexander Tasi - 2013 William Proctor Award Recipient

Alexander Tasi

Read Winning Eassy

Rules of the competition

  1. The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a regionally accredited college or university in a history, archaeology, historical architecture, or related program. Individuals must be a currently registered (full or part-time) student or have been registered within the last six months at the time of the deadline for submittal.
  2. Papers shall address the history, archaeology, or historical architecture of the city of St. Augustine in some substantial manner.  Therefore, papers need not focus exclusively on the history of the city, but must provide ample coverage of some aspect of the city’s almost 450 years of history.
  3. Papers should be typed, double spaced throughout (excluding footnotes, block quotes, and tabular matter), on good quality white 8.5" x 11" paper. An ideal page paper length is twenty-five to thirty-five pages. Papers must be submitted electronically in Word format. The manuscript should be prepared as follows:
    • The first page should be headed by the title without the author's name. Authorial identification should be avoided throughout the manuscript.
    • The entire text should be paged consecutively.
    • Citations should be single-spaced footnotes, numbered consecutively, and in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style.
    • In a cover letter, authors should include their name, their academic institution, the author’s phone number, email address, and mailing address. Authors should also include the name and contact information of any professional who has already critiqued the paper.
    • No paper will be considered if it has been previously published in some form, is soon to be published elsewhere, or is under consideration by a journal or press.
  4. Papers must be sent by email to the following address: and received by June 15, 2014
  5. Research associates of the Institute will jury the competition.
  6. It is anticipated that the prize winning paper and such other exceptional papers, if any, will be published in a special edition of El Escribano, the Journal of the St. Augustine Historical Society.
  7. The decision of the Institute in any and all aspects of the competition is final. Questions concerning the competition should be directed to T. W. Upchurch, Assistant Professor of Law and History; Flagler College, 74 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084 or at