Because history has a lot to tell us about our profession and ourselves.  

The annual  J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest was established in 1991. It provides a unique opportunity for veterinary students to learn about the heritage of their new profession by researching and writing about a veterinary history topic of their choice.  

The contest is named in honor of J. Fred Smithcors, DVM, PhD (1920-2006)  for his many contributions to veterinary history as founder of the American Veterinary Medical History Society, author of several books on veterinary history, educator, editor, and publisher.

Participation is open to all DVM students currently enrolled in veterinary colleges in the United States, Canada, and West Indies. Students remain eligible to submit one or more essays during each of their four years of study until graduation.

Essays are evaluated blindly by a panel of AVMHS judges. Winners of the top four entries receive cash prizes donated in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence (1929-2003).

First Prize $1200
Second Prize $1000
Third Prize  $800
Fourth Prize  $500


In addition, every student who submits an acceptable essay will receive a complimentary one-year membership in the Society that includes two issues of Veterinary Heritage and newsletters. AVMHS reserves the right to publish meritorious essays in  its journal, Veterinary Heritage

Since 2012, contest prizes are awarded in honor of Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence, VMD, PhD by the generosity of the Donaldson Charitable Trust. She is recognized for her many contributions to scholarship in veterinary history. Dr. Lawrence served twice as AVMHS president and was a contest judge for many years.  


The deadline for the 2021 Essays is 15 April 2021 (midnight) (essays must be received no later than this date).


Send a PDF version of your manuscript (do not include your name or school on your essay) and an entry form for each essay by email to:

Jessica R. Zeiger, DVM
Chair, AVMHS Essay Contest

Cell: 269-325-5343

Please include "Smithcors Essay Entry" in the subject line.


Dr. Jessica R. Zeiger, Chair

AVMHS Essay Contest Committee

406 North Philip Road

Niles, MI 49120-1449

Cell: 269-325-5343  


All winners of the Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest from 1992 to present are listed by year. Most of the winning essays have been published as articles in issues of Veterinary Heritage, the Society's semi-annual journal.

This is a list of titles of all student essays submitted to the contest for blind judging from 1992 to present arranged by broad subject categories.

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