When Akron was 10 years old, it was like the Wild West - a freewheeling canal town full of gamblers, counterfeiters, and idle young men who drifted from place to place, looking for work as store clerks. Connecticut-born Srunel Alanson Lane (1815-1905) arrived in Akron as one of those "counter-jumpers" and soon founded a small four-page newspaper, "The Akron Buzzard." Ostensibly devoted to cleaning the "filth" off the streets of Akron, "The Buzzard" attacked vicious and criminal behavior in the voice of Lane's country-bumpkin alter-ego, Jedediah Brownbread, Esq. Brownbread wrote with startling honesty, comical spelling errors, and an abundance of humor. For this, Lane can be regarded as Akron's first humor writer. Later in life, Lane would serve Akron as sheriff, editor of the "Akron Daily Beacon," mayor, and historian.
To honor the humor of Akron, $100 will be awarded to a student at The University of Akron who authors the most humorous paper or a paper that best uses or studies humor. Submissions will be limited to works written for University of Akron courses within the calendar year previous to the call for submissions. A committee of English Department faculty will judge the essays. The winner will be recognized at the annual English Awards Reception.