Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize 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 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 2024 laureates are Frances M. Clarke and Rebecca Jo Plant, co-authors of Of Age: Boy Soldiers and Military Power in the Civil War Era (Oxford University Press). The two winners and four finalists were celebrated at an award ceremony in New York City on April 4, 2024.



Books nominated for the 2025 prize must have a date of first publication between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024.

Publishers, critics, and authors may submit or nominate books published in the current year. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis from January 1 through November 1. Books should be submitted in the same month they are published. Special accommodations can be made for books bearing publication dates between November 1 and December 31.

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, a scholarly article, or an 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. 

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.

There is no entry fee or form. Just send five copies of each book you wish to nominate to

Daniela Muhling
Book Prize Manager
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
49 West 45th Street, 2nd Floor
New York NY 10036

For more information, please call 646.366.9666 ext.144 or send an email to



Frances M. Clarke and Rebecca Jo Plant
Of Age: Boy Soldiers and Military Power in the Civil War Era (Oxford University Press)

Jon Meacham
And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle (Random House)

Jonathan W. White
A House Built by Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House (Rowman & Littlefield)

Caroline E. Janney
Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army after Appomattox (The University of North Carolina Press)

David S. Reynolds
Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times (Penguin Press)

Elizabeth R. Varon
Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War (Oxford University Press)

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

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

James B. Conroy
Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime (Rowman & Littlefield)

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

Special Achievement Award
Douglas L. Wilson & 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, 20th Century Fox, and Participant Media presented in association with 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 (University of North Carolina 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
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (Simon & Schuster)

Richard J. Carwardine
Lincoln (Pearson Education Ltd.)

Special Achievement Award
John Y. Simon
for editing 26 volumes--to date--of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (Southern Illinois University Press)

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, 1861-1865 (Indiana University Press)

John Hope Franklin & 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 (Public Broadcasting Service)


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