About the 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 a subject relating to their era.

The $50,000 prize, which also includes a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ life-size bust, “Lincoln the Man,” was co-founded and endowed by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, principals of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the largest private archives of documents and artifacts in the nation. The Gilder Lehrman Institute devotes itself to history education by supporting magnet schools, teacher training, curriculum development, exhibitions, and publications, as well as endowing several major history awards.

Gilder and Lehrman established the Lincoln Prize in 1990, together with Prof. Gabor Boritt, Director Emeritus of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. Since the Prize’s founding, Gilder and Lehrman have bestowed more than $1 million on the annual winners.

As many as two Prizes may be awarded each year, and only works published only during the designated year of the Prize will be eligible.

The Lincoln Prize will generally go to a book, but in rare instances, other notable works might be honored. When studies competing for the Prize show similar scholarly merit, preference will be given to work on Abraham Lincoln, or the Civil War soldier, or works of interest to the general public. In harmony with the last preference, in rare instances the Prize may go to a work or works of fiction, poetry, the theatre, the arts, or a film, provided they are true to history. In other rare instances, the Prize may go to a historical project, such as an inspiring conference, scholarly article, essay, or editing project. 

Though rare, the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Board of Trustees may also grant the award to a work or service related to Lincoln, or the Civil War soldier of their era, not included in the foregoing description. 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 six Trustees. The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Board of Trustees appoints a jury of three historians or qualified specialists each year. The jury is requested to recommend three finalists and the Board of Trustees makes a final selection of the winner, which is announced each year on February 12, President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Publishers, critics, and authors may submit books published in the current year by November 1.

There is no entry fee or form.

Send five (5) copies of the nominated work to:

The Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
Daniela Mühling
Book Prize Manager
49 West 45th Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10036

For more information on the Lincoln Prize, please call 646-366-9666 ext. 144, or email muhling@gilderlehrman.org.