Launched in 2015, this award recognizes the person who has demonstrated interest, scholarship and enthusiasm for local history early in life. It is named in honor of one of Dutchess County Historical Society’s founding members whose early and subsequently lifelong interest in local history set the tone and standards for the society from its first first days.
Growing up in a house where the large portrait of his great-great-grandfather Fred Knickerbocker was always a presence, Justin Kemp came to know his ancestor through the careful reading of hundreds of Fred’s letters, close inspection of photographs Fred had taken, and a good deal of research into larger, world events. The Spanish-American War had taken this Pine Plains farm boy with the classic early Hudson Valley setters’ name, on a wholly unexpected world adventure. Fred’s first letter to his parents apologize for enlisting in the service without telling them. But he assures them he would be back “in a few weeks.” Any parent can relate to the exciting, accessible narrative created by Justin.
2018: Justin Kemp. 2017: No award. 2016: Joey Cavaccini. 2015: Grant Berhnart