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Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort presented noted author John F. Ross with the first annual Fort Ticonderoga Prize for Contributions to American History at the 17th Annual Ticonderoga Ball organized by the Black Watch Council, at the Union League Club in New York on March 4, 2011. “In a world of accelerating change,” Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga’s Executive Director explained to 155 guests, “we need increasingly to understand and appreciate the principles and experiences that led to the founding of our nation. We established this new award to recognize national leadership in the history profession.”
After a national search, the trustees voted unanimously to award the Fort Ticonderoga Prize for Contributions to American History to John F. Ross, who has made broad contributions to 18th -century military scholarship with his book War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier (Random House 2009), which dramatically brings to life the exploits of the famed and often misunderstood partisan leader Major Robert Rogers. In addition, Mr. Ross makes America’s history accessible through his work as the Executive Editor of American Heritage Magazine, which has been entertaining and enlightening a popular readership in American history for 61 years.
“John F. Ross is a scholar who understands the importance of bringing history, observation, and experience together when seeking to understand the past,” said Peter Paine, President of the Fort Ticonderoga Board of Directors.
“The Fort Ticonderoga Prize for Contributions to American History serves as a symbol of Fort Ticonderoga’s rich heritage and honors individuals committed to ensuring that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices and victories that shaped the nations of North America and changed world history,” he added.
In his remarks, Mr. Ross observed that this day 150 years ago Abraham Lincoln gave his first inaugural address, in which he appealed to a disintegrating Union not to split because of the “mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land.” As everything seemed to dissolve around him, Mr. Ross said, Lincoln drew on our shared heritage to keep the nation together. History mattered then—and matters no less now.
“When I started a book on the 18th century warrior hero Robert Rogers, I realized what I had been looking for all my life was lying right under my nose –narrating and interpreting the rich themes of our past. Robert Rogers was the greatest of ranger leaders and creator of special operations. Modern rangers still must master his amazingly concentrated 28 rules of woods fighting. His ground zero was Fort Ticonderoga, key to the geo-strategy of North America. Today our men slip off to Afghanistan and many unnamed places with Robert Rogers by their side.”
In his research for War on the Run, Ross walked and kayaked many parts of Rogers’ tracks, much of them around Fort Ticonderoga, giving him invaluable on-the-ground knowledge and insight with which to vividly bring Rogers’ experiences to life.
Mr. Ross is the Executive Editor of American Heritage and Invention & Technology magazines. Previously he was a Senior Editor for Smithsonian magazine. He is the author of The Polar Bear Strategy: Reflections on Risk in Modern Life (Perseus Books). He has published more than 200 articles and spoken at the Explorers Club of New York, the Smithsonian Institution, NASA’s Ames Research Center, and BMW’s Herbert Quandt Foundation. While on his many research assignments, he chronicled adventure around the world as he chased scorpions in Baja, dove 3,000 feet underwater in a submersible off the Galapagos, dog sledded with the Polar Inuit in Greenland, lived with the Khanty reindeer herders in Siberia, and launched the northernmost canoe trip ever in the Canadian Arctic.
Fort Ticonderoga – America’s Fort is one of America’s greatest jewels. Located in the Adirondacks in historic Ticonderoga, New York on Lake Champlain and overlooking the Green Mountains of Vermont, Fort Ticonderoga is a private not-for-profit historic site that ensures that present and future generations learn from the struggles, sacrifices, and victories that shaped North America and changed world history. With nearly 2000 acres of exquisite landscape it tells the comprehensive story of how the blood spilled to create an empire in the French & Indian War resulted in the struggle for liberty and America’s independence a generation later. Additionally it is the wonderful story of how a family, the Pell family, preserved the landscape and recreated the Fort a century ago, beginning one of the earliest historic preservation efforts in America.
Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, tours, demonstrations and exhibits each day from 9:30am-5:00pm, May 20- Oct. 20. The 2011 season will feature The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experienced through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists exhibit highlighting the Fort’s extensive art collection by some of America’s greatest artists. A full schedule and information on events can be found at