Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and Gettysburg College, is awarded annually for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or the American Civil War era. The $50,000 Lincoln Prize was established in 1990 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, in partnership with Dr. Gabor Boritt, Director Emeritus of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

The Prize will generally go to a book but in rare instances an important article or essay might be honored. When studies competing for the Prize show similar scholarly merit, preference will be given to works on Abraham Lincoln, or the Civil War soldier, or work aimed at the literate general public. In harmony with the last preference, in rare instances the Prize may go to a work or works of fiction, poetry, the theater, the arts, a film, scholarly article or editing project provided they are true to history. In rare instances, the Prize may go to a historical project, such as an inspired conference or an editing project or a work or service related to the subjects of the Prize. As many as two prizes may be awarded each year. It will be awarded for works published only during the designated year of the Prize. 

The Prize is intended chiefly to encourage outstanding new scholarship. Each year any work that appears during the previous year may be eligible for consideration. However, facing a lean scholarly year, the Board of Trustees may request the jury to consider work from the previous two or three years.

The Prize is supervised and awarded by the five trustees. The Board of Trustees appoints a jury of three historians or qualified specialists each year. The jury will be requested to recommend three finalists and the Board of Trustees is to make a final selection of the winner.

Publishers, critics, and authors may submit books published in the current year by November 1. There is no entry fee or form. Send six copies of the nominated work to:

The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
300 N. Washington Street, Campus Box 435
Gettysburg, PA 17325.

For more information, please call 717-337-8255 or email

Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Winners


David W. Blight
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon and Schuster)


Edward L. Ayers
The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (W.W. Norton)


James B. Conroy
Lincolns White House: The Peoples House in Wartime (Rowman and Littlefield)

Douglas R. Egerton
Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America (Basic Books)

Special Achievement Award
Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis
Herndon on Lincoln: Letters (University of Illinois Press)


Martha Hodes
Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press)


Harold Holzer
Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion (Simon & Schuster)


Allen C. Guelzo
Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Alfred A. Knopf)

Martin P. Johnson
Writing the Gettysburg Address (University Press of Kansas)

Special Achievement Award
Steven Spielberg
Lincoln (DreamWorks Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Reliance Entertainment presented in association with Participant Media and Amblin Entertainment, Kennedy/Marshall Company, 2012)


James Oakes
Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861–1865 (W. W. Norton)


William C. Harris
Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union (University Press of Kansas)

Elizabeth D. Leonard
Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky (UNC Press)


Eric Foner
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (W. W. Norton)


Michael Burlingame
Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Johns Hopkins University Press)


James M. McPherson
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief (Penguin)

Craig L. Symonds
Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War (Oxford University Press)


James Oakes
The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (W. W. Norton)

Elizabeth Brown Pryor
Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters (Viking)


Douglas L. Wilson
Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (Alfred A. Knopf)


Doris Kearns Goodwin
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Simon & Schuster)


Allen C. Guelzo
Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (Simon & Schuster)


Richard J. Carwardine
Lincoln (Pearson Education Ltd.)


George C. Rable
Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! (University of North Carolina Press)


David W. Blight
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press)


Russell F. Weigley
A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 18611865 (Indiana University Press)


John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger
Runaway Slaves: Rebels in the Plantation (Oxford University Press)

Allen C. Guelzo
Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (William B. Eerdmans)


Douglas L. Wilson
Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln (Alfred A. Knopf)


James McPherson
For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Oxford University Press)


Don Fehrenbacher
Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850s and The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics (Stanford University Press)


David Donald
Lincoln (Touchstone Books)


Phillip Shaw Paludan
The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (University Press of Kansas)


(co-winners) Ira Berlin, Barbara Fields, Steven Miller, Joseph Reidy, Leslie Rowland, eds.
Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War (New Press)


Kenneth Stampp
The Peculiar Institution (Vintage Books)


William S. McFeely
Frederick Douglass (W.W. Norton)

Charles Royster
The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans (Vintage Books)


Ken Burns
The Civil War (Howell Press)