Richard Gilder History Prize

Students asking Yale University Professor David W. Blight about his book, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, in an online Q&A.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute is pleased to sponsor the Richard Gilder History Prize. This prize serves as an opportunity for Affiliate School teachers to honor a promising and passionate history student in their school. The Richard Gilder History Prize has honored students since 2020, as follows:

  • For the inaugural Richard Gilder History Prize in January 2020, we sent 5,000 copies of two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner David McCullough’s bestselling book 1776 to teachers in our Affiliate School network, for each school to award to a student of their choosing. 
  • In March 2021, we sent 3,500 copies of Why Documents Matter, our book of foundational documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection. 
  • In March 2022, we sent 5,900 copies of David McCullough’s collection of speeches and essays, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For.
  • In November 2023, we sent 5,200 copies of 1774: The Long Year of Revolution by Mary Beth Norton, winner of the 2021 George Washington Prize.

Each of these books include a commemorative bookplate allowing schools to personalize the prize, which makes a great award to include in an end-of-year classroom ceremony. In addition, high school students honored with the Richard Gilder History Prize have the opportunity to join the Gilder Lehrman History Scholars, an honorary group of students who are among the first to learn about new courses, scholarships, and other opportunities offered by the Institute.