LSU Press Author Meredith Henne Baker Wins Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award

10/03/2012 10:41 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU Press Author Meredith Henne Baker has won the 2012 Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award for “The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America’s First Great Disaster,” published in March 2012.


Phi Alpha Theta, an international History Honor Society, grants this prestigious and highly competitive honor annually to what they judge to be the best first book by historians in all fields. Baker’s book explores the catastrophic 1811 Richmond Theater fire and its cultural impact on Virginia and the young nation.


Among other positive reviews, “The Richmond Theater Fire” has been praised as the “best study yet of antebellum Richmond” by CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, and the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography called it “exhaustively researched and thoughtfully contextualized ... a welcome contribution.”


“The Richmond Theater Fire” is also the winner of the LSU Press 2012 Jules and Frances F. Landry Award, given annually to the most outstanding book on a southern topic published by LSU Press.


Baker holds a graduate degree in American history and a museum studies certificate from the College of William and Mary. A former boarding-school history instructor and urban public-school administrator, she currently resides in Washington, D.C.


For more information, contact Erin Rolfs at 225-578-8282 or or visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2012