WSU historian awarded Guggenheim prize

By Adrian Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences

sutton-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University historian Matthew Avery Sutton has been appointed a 2016 Guggenheim fellow “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.” The fellowship was awarded to 178 scholars in the U.S. and Canada from nearly 3,000 applicants.

Sutton’s $50,000 prize in the U.S. history category will fund work on his book, tentatively titled “FDR’s Army of Faith: Religion and Espionage in World War II,” to be published by Basic Books in 2019. Learn more at

About Sutton

Sutton is the Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor in the WSU Department of History ( and teaches courses at WSU Pullman in 20th century U.S. history, cultural history and religious history. He is the eighth WSU faculty member to receive a Guggenheim fellowship since 1959 and the first since 2008.

He is an expert in the relationships among religion, politics and American culture from the late 19th century to the present. His “strong record of scholarly productivity has made him an outstanding member of a small cohort of young scholars who are reshaping the field of 20th-century American religious history,” said WSU department chair Steven Kale.

Sutton’s first book, “Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America” (Harvard University Press, 2007), won the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize and served as the basis for the Public Broadcasting Service documentary “Sister Aimee.” His most recent book, “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism” (Harvard University Press, 2014), was named a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title of 2015” by the American Library Association.

About the fellowship

Since it was established in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation ( has granted more than $334 million in fellowships to more than 18,000 individuals. They include Nobel laureates, Fields medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the national academies and winners of the Pulitzer Prize and other internationally recognized honors.


Matthew A. Sutton, 509-335-8374,
Adriana Aumen, WSU College of Arts & Sciences (, 509-335-5671,