Smith-Pettit Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters
The Association for Mormon Letters is especially pleased to present one of its founding members and past presidents, Richard Holton Cracroft, with the Smith-Pettit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Mormon Letters. The AML trusts that this award will represent for him a tangible symbol of his many administrative, scholarly, and even creative contributions to Mormon letters over the past forty years.
With the 1973 publication of A Believing People: Literature of the Latter-day Saints, the first anthology of Mormon literature, followed by the 1974 publication of 22 Young Mormon Writers, Richard (with his colleague and coeditor, Neal E. Lambert) helped lay the foundation for the development of contemporary Mormon letters, which continues apace to this day. He served in various editorial capacities for numerous journals—including Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, BYU Studies, This People, and Literature and Belief—and wrote innumerable reviews of Mormon literature in a variety of venues, most recently BYU Magazine in his regular “Alumni Book Nook” column. His scholarly and devotional essays appeared in such divergent places as the Journal of Mormon History, BYU Studies, Irreantum, Dialogue, Sunstone, The New Era, and the Ensign. As a professor of English at Brigham Young University for many years, Richard nourished Mormon letters as a significant branch of Western Studies and mentored many students who subsequently made their own significant contributions to the field.
Above all, Richard performed this great work with unfailing good humor, rigorous attention to detail, collaborative generosity, true enthusiasm, and sincere devotion—especially to the church and culture from which Mormon letters come. This award marks the enduring legacy of that work and of the man who produced it.