Nathan Tye earns Mari Sandoz Research Award for upcoming study on book banning

University of Nebraska at Kearney assistant professor of history Nathan Tye is the recipient of the 2023-24 Mari Sandoz Research Award. The $1,000 award is presented by the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society to encourage innovative research on Mari Sandoz and her contributions to literature and history.

Tye, who has been with UNK since 2019, specializes in Nebraska and American West history. He plans to use the award to delve into how Sandoz navigated the landscape of book banning. His research will focus on Sandoz’s correspondence held in Lincoln, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s when her books faced censorship. Tye will also examine city council minutes, library reports and mayoral records in Omaha and McCook.

The findings will be presented at the Mari Sandoz Symposium, offering fresh perspectives on Sandoz’s life and work.

Tye received his doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is a labor historian by training. He also has a keen interest in literary and local history. He serves on the boards of the Buffalo County Historical Society, G.W. Frank Museum and Japanese Hall in Gering. His research has been published in journals such as Nebraska History, Annals of Iowa, Willa Cather Review and Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. He has also made an appearance on NBC’s celebrity genealogy program “Who Do You Think You Are?”

For more information about the Mari Sandoz Research Award, visit