This award, established in 1949, is the highest honor in the field of photojournalism. It is awarded to not more than two individuals each year and is granted only if achievement is, in the opinion of the Committee on Honorary Recognitions, of a sufficiendly high standard. Two awards may be given:
To a working photojournalist an individual who advances, elevates or attains unusual recognition for the profession of photojournalism by conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty.
To an individual not a working photojournalist for unusual service or achievement beneficial to photojournalism or for an outstanding technology advance in equipment or processes of photojournalism.
Joseph A Sprague, who died in 1948, was a press technical representative for Graflex Corp., Rochester, NY. The firm manufactured Graflex and Speed and Crown Graphic cameras and flash units. Sprague is credited with the design of the Big Bertha, Magic Eye and Combat Camera and dozens of refinements to the Speed Graphic.