The Pulitzer Prize for Biography is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. The award honors "a distinguished and appropriately documented biography by an American author."[1] Award winners received $15,000 USD.[1]

From 1917 to 2022, this prize was known as the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and was awarded to a distinguished biography, autobiography or memoir[2] by an American author or co-authors, published during the preceding calendar year. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.[3]

Recipients edit

In its first 97 years to 2013, the Biography Pulitzer was awarded 97 times. Two were given in 1938, and none in 1962.[4]

1910s-1940s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners, 1917-1949[2]
Year Author Title Ref.
1917 Laura E. Richards and Maud Howe Elliott, assisted by Florence Howe Hall Julia Ward Howe
1918 William Cabell Bruce Benjamin Franklin, Self-Revealed
1919 Henry Adams The Education of Henry Adams
1920 Albert J. Beveridge The Life of John Marshall, 4 vols.
1921 Edward Bok The Americanization of Edward Bok: The Autobiography of a Dutch Boy Fifty Years After
1922 Hamlin Garland A Daughter of the Middle Border
1923 Burton J. Hendrick The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page
1924 Michael I. Pupin From Immigrant to Inventor
1925 M. A. Dewolfe Howe Barrett Wendell and His Letters
1926 Harvey Cushing The Life of Sir William Osler, 2 vols.
1927 Emory Holloway Whitman
1928 Charles Edward Russell The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas
1929 Burton J. Hendrick The Training of an American: The Earlier Life and Letters of Walter H. Page
1930 Marquis James The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston
1931 Henry James Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, 1869–1901
1932 Henry F. Pringle Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography
1933 Allan Nevins Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage
1934 Tyler Dennett John Hay
1935 Douglas S. Freeman R. E. Lee
1936 Ralph Barton Perry The Thought and Character of William James
1937 Allan Nevins Hamilton Fish
1938 Marquis James Andrew Jackson, 2 vols.
Odell Shepard Pedlar's Progress: The Life of Bronson Alcott
1939 Carl Van Doren Benjamin Franklin
1940 Ray Stannard Baker Woodrow Wilson, Life and Letters. Vols. VII and VIII
1941 Ola Elizabeth Winslow Jonathan Edwards, 1703–1758: a biography
1942 Forrest Wilson Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe
1943 Samuel Eliot Morison Admiral of the Ocean Sea
1944 Carleton Mabee The American Leonardo: The Life of Samuel F. B. Morse [5]
1945 Russel Blaine Nye George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel
1946 Linnie Marsh Wolfe Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir
1947 William Allen White The Autobiography of William Allen White
1948 Margaret Clapp Forgotten First Citizen: John Bigelow
1949 Robert E. Sherwood Roosevelt and Hopkins

1950s-1970s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners, 1950-1979[2]
Year Author Title Ref.
1950 Samuel Flagg Bemis John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy
1951 Margaret Louise Coit John C. Calhoun: American Portrait
1952 Merlo J. Pusey Charles Evans Hughes
1953 David J. Mays Edmund Pendleton 1721–1803
1954 Charles A. Lindbergh The Spirit of St. Louis
1955 William S. White The Taft Story
1956 Talbot Faulkner Hamlin Benjamin Henry Latrobe
1957 John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage [6]
1958 Douglas Southall Freeman with John Alexander Carroll and Mary Wells Ashworth George Washington, vols. I-VII
1959 Arthur Walworth Woodrow Wilson, American Prophet
1960 Samuel Eliot Morison John Paul Jones
1961 David Donald Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War
1962 No award presented[7]
1963 Leon Edel Henry James
1964 Walter Jackson Bate John Keats
1965 Ernest Samuels Henry Adams, 3 vols.
1966 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House [8]
1967 Justin Kaplan Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain [9]
1968 George F. Kennan Memoirs
1969 Benjamin Lawrence Reid The Man from New York: John Quinn and His Friends
1970 Thomas Harry Williams Huey Long [10]
1971 Lawrance Thompson Robert Frost: The Years of Triumph, 1915–1938,
1972 Joseph P. Lash Eleanor and Franklin
1973 W. A. Swanberg Luce and His Empire
1974 Louis Sheaffer O'Neill, Son and Artist
1975 Robert Caro The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York [11]
1976 R. W. B. Lewis Edith Wharton: A Biography
1977 John E. Mack A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence
1978 Walter Jackson Bate Samuel Johnson
1979 Leonard Baker Days of Sorrow and Pain: Leo Baeck and the Berlin Jews

1980s edit

Entries from this point on include the finalists listed after the winner for each year.

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners and finalists, 1980-1989[2]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
1980 Edmund Morris The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Winner
Ernest Samuels Bernard Berenson, The Making of a Connoisseur Finalist
Meryle Secrest Being Bernard Berenson Finalist
Geoffrey Wolff The Duke of Deception Finalist
1981 Robert K. Massie Peter the Great: His Life and World Winner [12][13]
Justin Kaplan Walt Whitman: A Life Finalist
Ronald Steel Walter Lippmann and the American Century Finalist
1982 William S. McFeely Grant: A Biography Winner [14]
Gay Wilson Allen Waldo Emerson Finalist
David McCullough Mornings on Horseback Finalist
1983 Russell Baker Growing Up Winner [15]
Ted Morgan Churchill: Young Man in a Hurry, 1874–1915 Finalist
Richard Norton Smith Thomas E. Dewey and His Times Finalist
1984 Louis R. Harlan Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901–1915 Winner
Fred Kaplan Thomas Carlyle: A Biography Finalist
Kenneth Manning Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just Finalist
1985 Kenneth Silverman The Life and Times of Cotton Mather Winner [16]
Howard M. Feinstein Becoming William James Finalist
Michael Mott The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton Finalist [17]
1986 Elizabeth Frank Louise Bogan: A Portrait Winner
John Hope Franklin George Washington Williams: A Biography Finalist
Frida Scheps Weinstein A Hidden Childhood: A Jewish Girl's Sanctuary in a French Convent, 1942–1945 Finalist
1987 David J. Garrow Bearing The Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Winner
Joseph Frank Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860–1865 Finalist
Leonard L. Richards The Life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams Finalist
A.M. Sperber Murrow: His Life and Times Finalist
1988 David Herbert Donald Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe Winner
Kenneth S. Lynn Hemingway Finalist
John Owen McCormick George Santayana: A Biography Finalist
1989 Richard Ellmann Oscar Wilde Winner
Peter Gay Freud: A Life for Our Time Finalist
Arnold Rampersad The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume II, 1941–1967: I Dream a World Finalist [18]
Neil Sheehan A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Finalist

1990s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners and finalists, 1990-1999[2]
Year Author(s) Title Result Ref.
1990 Sebastian de Grazia Machiavelli in Hell Winner
Jill Ker Conway The Road from Coorain Finalist
Reynolds Price Clear Pictures: First Loves, First Guides Finalist
Geoffrey C. Ward A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt Finalist
1991 Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith Jackson Pollock: An American Saga Winner [19]
Patricia O'Toole The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends 1880–1918 Finalist
Joseph Frazier Wall Alfred I. Du Pont: The Man and His Family Finalist
1992 Lewis B. Puller Fortunate Son: The Autobiography of Lewis B. Puller Jr. Winner
William S. McFeely Frederick Douglass Finalist
Michael Shelden Orwell: The Authorized Biography Finalist
1993 David McCullough Truman Winner [20]
James Gleick Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman Finalist
Walter Isaacson Kissinger: A Biography Finalist
1994 David Levering Lewis W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919 Winner [21]
Deborah Baker In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding Finalist
Edmund White Genet: A Biography Finalist
1995 Joan D. Hedrick Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life Winner
Roger K. Newman Hugo Black: A Biography Finalist
Stacy Schiff Saint-Exupery: A Biography Finalist [22]
1996 Jack Miles God: A Biography Winner
John Loughery John Sloan: Painter and Rebel Finalist
Maynard Solomon Mozart: A Life Finalist [23]
1997 Frank McCourt Angela's Ashes: A Memoir Winner
Kim Barnes In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country Finalist
Hershel Parker Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 1, 1819–1851 Finalist
1998 Katharine Graham Personal History Winner [24][25]
James H. Jones Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public-Private Life Finalist
Sam Tanenhaus Whittaker Chambers: A Biography Finalist
1999 A. Scott Berg Lindbergh Winner [26][27]
Francine du Plessix Gray At Home with the Marquis de Sade: A Life Finalist
Sylvia Nasar A Beautiful Mind Finalist

2000s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners and finalists, 2000-2009[2]
Year Author(s) Title Result
2000 Stacy Schiff Vera, Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov Winner [22]
Bobbie Ann Mason Clear Springs: A Memoir Finalist
Dava Sobel Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love Finalist
2001 David Levering Lewis W. E. B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919-1963 Winner [28]
H.W. Brands The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin Finalist
Christoph Wolff Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician Finalist
2002 David McCullough John Adams. Winner [20]
Jimmy Carter An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood Finalist
Jean Edward Smith Grant Finalist [29]
2003 Robert Caro Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Winner
Nicholas Dawidoff The Fly Swatter: A Portrait of an Exceptional Character Finalist
Lewis Lockwood Beethoven: The Music and the Life Finalist
2004 William Taubman Khrushchev: The Man and His Era Winner
James Gleick Isaac Newton Finalist
Hayden Herrera Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work Finalist
2005 Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan de Kooning: An American Master Winner
Stephen Greenblatt Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare Finalist
William Souder Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of The Birds of America Finalist
2006 Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer Winner
Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking Finalist
Megan Marshall The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism Finalist [30]
2007 Debby Applegate The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher Winner
Arthur H. Cash John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty Finalist [31]
David Nasaw Andrew Carnegie Finalist
2008 John Matteson Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father Winner
Martin Duberman The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein Finalist
Zachary Leader The Life of Kingsley Amis Finalist
2009 Jon Meacham American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House Winner [32][33]
H.W. Brands Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Finalist
Steve Coll The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century Finalist

2010s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners and finalists, 2010-2019[2]
Year Author(s) Title Result Ref.
2010 T.J. Stiles The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt Winner [34]
Blake Bailey Cheever: A Life Finalist
John Milton Cooper, Jr. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography Finalist
2011 Ron Chernow Washington: A Life Winner [35][36]
Alan Brinkley The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century Finalist
Michael O'Brien Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon Finalist
2012 John Lewis Gaddis George F. Kennan: An American Life Winner [37][38]
Mary Gabriel Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution Finalist [38]
Manning Marable Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Finalist [38]
2013 Tom Reiss The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo Winner [39]
Michael Gorra Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece Finalist [39]
David Nasaw The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy Finalist [39]
2014 Megan Marshall Margaret Fuller: A New American Life Winner [40][41]
Leo Damrosch Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World Finalist
Jonathan Sperber Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life Finalist
2015 David I. Kertzer The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe Winner [42][43]
Thomas Brothers Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism Finalist
Stephen Kotkin Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 Finalist
2016 William Finnegan Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Winner [44][45]
Elizabeth Alexander The Light of the World: A Memoir Finalist
T.J. Stiles Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America Finalist
2017 Hisham Matar The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between Winner [46][47]
Susan Faludi In the Darkroom Finalist
Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air Finalist
2018 Caroline Fraser Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Winner [48][49]
John A. Farrell Richard Nixon: The Life Finalist [48]
Kay Redfield Jamison Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character Finalist [48]
2019 Jeffrey C. Stewart The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke Winner [50][51]
Max Boot The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam Finalist [50]
Caroline Weber Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris Finalist [50]

2020s edit

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography winners and finalists, 2020-present[2]
Year Author(s) Work Result Ref
2020 Benjamin Moser Sontag: Her Life and Work Winner [52][53][54]
George Packer Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century Finalist [52]
Deirdre Bair Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me Finalist [52]
2021 Les Payne and Tamara Payne The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Winner [55][56][57]
Heather Clark Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath Finalist [55]
Amy Stanley Stranger in the Shogun's City: A Japanese Woman and Her World Finalist [55]
2022 Winfred Rembert and Erin I. Kelly Chasing Me to My Grave: An Artist's Memoir of the Jim Crow South Winner [58][59][60]
Richard Zenith Pessoa: A Biography Finalist [58]
Janice P. Nimura The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine Finalist [58]
2023 Beverly Gage G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century Winner [61][62]
Jennifer Homans Mr. B: George Balanchine's 20th Century Finalist [61]
Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice Finalist [61]

Repeat winners edit

Ten people have won the Pulitzer for Biography or Autobiography twice:

W. A. Swanberg was selected by the Pulitzer board in 1962 and 1973; however, the trustees of Columbia University (then responsible for conferral of the awards) overturned the proposed 1962 prize for Citizen Hearst.[7]

See also edit

References edit

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biography: Prize Winners by Category". Pulitzer Prize. Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "1917". Pulitzer Prize. Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  4. ^ "Biography or Autobiography". The Pulitzer Prizes (pulitzer.org). Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2008.
  5. ^ "Obituary Note: Carleton Mabee". Shelf Awareness. January 13, 2015. Archived from the original on February 6, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  6. ^ "Rediscover: Profiles in Courage". Shelf Awareness. June 2, 2017. Archived from the original on January 27, 2023. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  7. ^ a b In 1962 the Pulitzer board awarded the prize to W.A. Swanberg for Citizen Hearst. The trustees of Columbia University, who administer the prize, overturned the award, refusing to honor a book that took a critical look at William Randolph Hearst. McDowell, Edwin (May 11, 1984). "Publishing: Pulitzer Controversies". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
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External links edit