Announcing the 2019 Lincoln Prize Finalists

Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History have announced the finalists for the 2019 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, awarded annually to a work that enhances the general public’s understanding of the Civil War era.

Richard J. M. Blackett, The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery (Cambridge University Press)

David Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster)

William W. Freehling, Becoming Lincoln (University of Virginia Press)

Joanne B. Freeman, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Diane Miller Sommerville, Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South (University of North Carolina Press)

These finalists were recommended to the board from 102 book submissions reviewed by a three-person jury: John Stauffer, Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University; Barbara A. Gannon, Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida (UCF); and Elizabeth R. Varon, Associate Director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History and Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia.

Says Gilder Lehrman Institute president Jim Basker: "The Prize is in its 29th year and any of these outstanding books would make a worthy addition to our distinguished list of past Lincoln laureates."

The winner of the 2019 Prize will be announced on Tuesday, February 12—the 210th anniversary of the famed president’s birthday. All of the finalists will be invited to an event in April hosted at the Union League 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-sized bust “Lincoln the Man.”

The Prize was co-founded in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairs of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection.