Announcing the 2023 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Finalists

New York, NY, February 1, 2023 – The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2023 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize:

  • Elizabeth D. Leonard, Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Roger Lowenstein, Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War (Penguin Press)
  • Jon Meacham, And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (Random House)
  • Rita Roberts, I Can’t Wait to Call You My Wife: African American Letters of Love and Family in the Civil War Era (Chronicle Books)
  • Jonathan W. White, A House Built by Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House (Rowman & Littlefield Press)

These finalists were recommended to the board from 84 book submissions reviewed by a three-person jury: Elizabeth R. Varon, Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, and a member of the executive council of the University of Virginia’s John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History; Harold Holzer, Jonathan Fanton Director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College; and John W. Stauffer, Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

“The five finalists for the 2023 Lincoln Prize represent the height of Civil War scholarship and open intriguing doors on the past for all readers,” said James G. Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “Spanning the fields of biography, economic history, and African American studies, these remarkable selections demonstrate that the Lincoln Prize, now in its thirty-third year, is going from strength to strength.”

The winner of the 2023 prize will be announced on Friday, February 24. All of the finalists will be invited to an event on April 11 hosted at the Harvard Club in New York City, where the winner will be recognized and awarded a $50,000 prize and a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s life-size bust Lincoln the Man.

About the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize is awarded annually to a work that enhances the general public’s understanding of Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or the American Civil War era. The $50,000 prize was established in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Lewis E. Lehrman and the late Richard Gilder, in partnership with Gettysburg College and Professor Gabor Boritt, Director Emeritus of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the nation’s leading K–12 American history organization. The Institute’s mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and interactive resources for teachers, students, and the general public. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Organization of American Historians.


The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Josh Landon
(646) 366-9666, ext. 137

Gettysburg College
Corey Jewart
(717) 337-6803