Robert E. Ritzenthaler Service Award

Dr. Robert Ritzenthaler (left) & Arthur Niehoff. From the Milwaukee Sentinel, 1954

Dr. Robert Ritzenthaler (left) & Arthur Niehoff. From the Milwaukee Sentinel, 1954

The Robert E. Ritzenthaler Award recognizes long term significant contributions to The Wisconsin Archeology Society in honoring the memory of Robert Ritzenthaler, a long time Society officer and editor of The Wisconsin Archeologist from the 1950s into the early 1970s. The award has been presented by the Wisconsin Archaeological Society on an infrequent basis since 1972 and is now considered the Society’s highest recognition. The award consists of a brass facsimile of the cover of the journal during the period of Ritzenthaler’s editorship with the recipient’s name and date of award engraved in the lower half, which is mounted on a wood backing. The original design and wood mold for the brass casting was crafted by Neil Ostberg. The primary purpose of the Ritzenthaler Award is to recognize long-term service to The Wisconsin Archeological Society.

Dr. Robert Ritzenthaler, after his retirement as Curator of Anthropology at the Milwaukee Public Museum, also resigned as editor of The Wisconsin Archeologist. He had been working in the capacity of editor for more than 20 years. The officers of the Wisconsin Archeological Society felt that such devotion should not be forgotten, so, to honor "Doc," an award was designed and completed (most of the work was done by Neil Ostberg and Paul Keoppler).

This award was originally intended as a once-only tribute to honor Dr. Ritzenthaler for his many years of service to the Wisconsin Archeological Society upon the occasion of his retirement from the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1972. In 1975, the officers of the Society felt that this should become a continuing award, and with the permission of Dr. Ritzenthaler, the service award was instituted.

Since the death of Dr. Ritzenthaler, March 25, 1980, this award takes on an additional significance as a memorial to him, and his work in the Wisconsin Archeological Society since 1938.

To nominate someone for the Robert E. Ritzenthaler Award, please refer to the following criteria and nomination form: Criteria; Nomination Form

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Recipient Year
Robert E Ritzenthaler 1972
Wayne J Hazlet 1975
Paul A Koeppler 1975
Dr. David F Overstreet 1979
John F Wackman 1979
Georgia Lusk
Brian D Nicholls 2011