Pulitzer Prize for History

The Pulitzer Prize for History, administered by Columbia University, is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished book about the history of the United States. 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.[1] The Pulitzer Prize program has also recognized some historical work with its Biography prize, from 1917, and its General Non-Fiction prize, from 1962.

Finalists have been announced since 1980, ordinarily two others beside the winner.[2]



In its first 97 years to 2013, the History Pulitzer was awarded 95 times. Two prizes were given in 1989; none in 1919, 1984, and 1994.[2]


Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 1917–1979[3]
Year Author Title Ref.
1917 Jean Jules Jusserand With Americans of Past and Present Days
1918 James Ford Rhodes A History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 [4]
1919 No award presented
1920 Justin H. Smith The War with Mexico [4]
1921 William Sowden Sims and Burton J. Hendrick The Victory at Sea [4]
1922 James Truslow Adams The Founding of New England [5]
1923 Charles Warren The Supreme Court in United States History [4]
1924 Charles Howard McIlwain The American Revolution: A Constitutional Interpretation
1925 Frederic L. Paxson History of the American Frontier
1926 Edward Channing A History of the United States, Vol. VI: The War for Southern Independence (1849–1865)
1927 Samuel Flagg Bemis Pinckney's Treaty
1928 Vernon Louis Parrington Main Currents in American Thought
1929 Fred Albert Shannon The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861–1865 [6]
1930 Claude H. Van Tyne The War of Independence [4]
1931 Bernadotte E. Schmitt The Coming of the War, 1914
1932 John J. Pershing My Experiences in the World War
1933 Frederick J. Turner The Significance of Sections in American History
1934 Herbert Agar The People's Choice
1935 Charles McLean Andrews The Colonial Period of American History
1936 Andrew C. McLaughlin A Constitutional History of the United States [7]
1937 Van Wyck Brooks The Flowering of New England, 1815–1865
1938 Paul Herman Buck The Road to Reunion, 1865–1900 [4]
1939 Frank Luther Mott A History of American Magazines [4]
1940 Carl Sandburg Abraham Lincoln: The War Years
1941 Marcus Lee Hansen The Atlantic Migration, 1607–1860
1942 Margaret Leech Reveille in Washington, 1860–1865 [4]
1943 Esther Forbes Paul Revere and the World He Lived In [4]
1944 Merle Curti The Growth of American Thought
1945 Stephen Bonsal Unfinished Business
1946 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. The Age of Jackson
1947 James Phinney Baxter III Scientists Against Time [4]
1948 Bernard DeVoto Across the Wide Missouri
1949 Roy Franklin Nichols The Disruption of American Democracy [4]
1950 Oliver W. Larkin Art and Life in America
1951 R. Carlyle Buley The Old Northwest, Pioneer Period 1815–1840
1952 Oscar Handlin The Uprooted
1953 George Dangerfield The Era of Good Feelings
1954 Bruce Catton A Stillness at Appomattox
1955 Paul Horgan Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History
1956 Richard Hofstadter The Age of Reform
1957 George F. Kennan Russia Leaves the War: Soviet-American Relations, 1917–1920
1958 Bray Hammond Banks and Politics in America
1959 Leonard D. White and Jean Schneider The Republican Era: 1869–1901
1960 Margaret Leech In the Days of McKinley [4]
1961 Herbert Feis Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference [4]
1962 Lawrence H. Gipson The Triumphant Empire: Thunder-Clouds Gather in the West, 1763–1766
1963 Constance McLaughlin Green Washington: Village and Capital, 1800–1878
1964 Sumner Chilton Powell Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town [4]
1965 Irwin Unger The Greenback Era: A Social and Political History of American Finance, 1865–1879
1966 Perry Miller The Life of the Mind in America [4]
1967 William H. Goetzmann Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West [4]
1968 Bernard Bailyn The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
1969 Leonard W. Levy Origins of the Fifth Amendment: The Right Against Self-Incrimination
1970 Dean Acheson Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department
1971 James MacGregor Burns Roosevelt: The Soldier Of Freedom
1972 Carl N. Degler Neither Black nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States
1973 Michael Kammen People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization [8]
1974 Daniel J. Boorstin The Americans: The Democratic Experience [9]
1975 Dumas Malone Jefferson and His Time
1976 Paul Horgan Lamy of Santa Fe [10]
1977 David M. Potter (Completed and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher) The Impending Crisis, 1848–1861
1978 Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business [11]
1979 Don E. Fehrenbacher The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics



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

Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 1980-1989[3]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
1980 Leon F. Litwack Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery Winner
Gary B. Nash The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness and the Origins of the American Revolution Finalist
John B. Unruh The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants on the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840–60 Finalist
1981 Lawrence A. Cremin American Education: The National Experience, 1783–1876 Winner [12]
David M. Kennedy Over Here: The First World War and American Society Finalist
Lyle Koehler A Search for Power: The 'Weaker Sex' in Seventeenth Century New England Finalist
1982 C. Vann Woodward Mary Chesnut's Civil War Winner
George M. Fredrickson White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American & South African History Finalist
Akira Iriye Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941–1945 Finalist
1983 Rhys L. Isaac The Transformation of Virginia, 1740–1790 Winner
Robert Middlekauff The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789 Finalist
Bertram Wyatt-Brown Southern Honor: Ethics & Behavior in the Old South Finalist
1984 No Award presented
1985 Thomas K. McCraw Prophets of Regulation: Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, Alfred E. Kahn Winner
Francis Paul Prucha The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians Finalist
Joel Williamson The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South since Emancipation Finalist
1986 Walter A. McDougall ...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age Winner
Jacqueline Jones Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present Finalist
Forrest McDonald Novus Ordo Seclorum: the Intellectual Origins of the Constitution Finalist
Kerby A. Miller Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America Finalist
1987 Bernard Bailyn Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution Winner
David Eisenhower Eisenhower: At War, 1943–1945 Finalist
David Garrow Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Finalist
1988 Robert V. Bruce The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846–1876 Winner
David Montgomery The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865–1925 Finalist
Charles E. Rosenberg The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System Finalist
1989 Taylor Branch Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 Winner
James M. McPherson Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era Winner
Eric Foner Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution – 1863–1877 Finalist
Neil Sheehan A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam Finalist


Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 1990-1999[3]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
1990 Stanley Karnow In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines Winner
Hugh Honour The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I Finalist
Thomas P. Hughes American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm 1870–1970 Finalist
1991 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich A Midwife's Tale Winner
Lizabeth Cohen Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919–1939 Finalist
Hugh Davis Graham The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy Finalist
Kenneth M. Stampp America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink Finalist
1992 Mark E. Neely, Jr. The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties Winner
William Cronon Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West Finalist
Theodore Draper A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs Finalist
John Frederick Martin Profits in the Wilderness: Entrepreneurship and the Founding of New England Towns in the Seventeenth Century Finalist
Richard White The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 Finalist
1993 Gordon S. Wood The Radicalism of the American Revolution Winner
Edward L. Ayers The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction Finalist
Garry Wills Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America Finalist
1994 No award given
Lawrence M. Friedman Crime and Punishment in American History Finalist
Gerald Posner Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK Finalist
Joel Williamson William Faulkner and Southern History Finalist
1995 Doris Kearns Goodwin No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II Winner
James Goodman Stories of Scottsboro Finalist
Merrill D. Peterson Lincoln in American Memory Finalist
1996 Alan Taylor William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic Winner
Lance Banning The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic Finalist
Richard Rhodes Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb Finalist
1997 Jack N. Rakove Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution Winner
Stephen Nissenbaum The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America's Most Cherished Holiday Finalist
Mary Beth Norton Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society Finalist
1998 Edward J. Larson Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion Winner [13]
J. Anthony Lukas Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America Finalist
Rogers Smith Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History Finalist
1999 Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 Winner [14]
William E. Burrows This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age Finalist
Paula Mitchell Marks In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival Finalist


Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 2000-2009[3]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
2000 David M. Kennedy Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War Winner
James H. Merrell Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier Finalist
Kevin Phillips The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics and the Triumph of Anglo-America Finalist
2001 Joseph J. Ellis Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation Winner [15]
Frances FitzGerald Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War Finalist
Alexander Keyssar The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States Finalist
2002 Louis Menand The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America Winner
J. William Harris Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and the Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation Finalist
Daniel K. Richter Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America Finalist
2003 Rick Atkinson An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942–1943 Winner
Philip Dray At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America Finalist
Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth Century America Finalist
2004 Steven Hahn A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration Winner
David Maraniss They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 Finalist
Daniel Okrent Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center Finalist
2005 David Hackett Fischer Washington's Crossing Winner
Kevin Boyle Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age Finalist
Michael O'Brien Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860, volumes 1 & 2 Finalist
2006 David Oshinsky Polio: An American Story Winner
Jill Lepore New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan Finalist
Sean Wilentz The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln Finalist
2007 Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation Winner
James T. Campbell Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 Finalist
Nathaniel Philbrick Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War Finalist
2008 Daniel Walker Howe What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 Winner
Robert Dallek Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power Finalist
David Halberstam The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War Finalist
2009 Annette Gordon-Reed The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family Winner [16][17]
Drew Gilpin Faust This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War Finalist
G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s Finalist


Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 2010-2019[3]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
2010 Liaquat Ahamed Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World Winner [18]
Greg Grandin Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City Finalist
Gordon S. Wood Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 Finalist
2011 Eric Foner The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery Winner [19]
Stephanie McCurry Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South Finalist [20]
Michael J. Rawson Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston Finalist [21]
2012 Manning Marable Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Winner [22][23]
Anne F. Hyde Empires, Nations & Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860 Finalist
Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden Finalist
Richard White Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America Finalist
2013 Fredrik Logevall Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam Winner [24]
Bernard Bailyn The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 Finalist
John Fabian Witt Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History Finalist
2014 Alan Taylor The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 Winner [25][26]
Jacqueline Jones A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America Finalist
Eric Schlosser Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety Finalist
2015 Elizabeth A. Fenn Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People Winner [27]
Sven Beckert Empire of Cotton: A Global History Finalist
Nick Bunker An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America Finalist
2016 T. J. Stiles Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America Winner [28]
Annie Jacobsen The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency Finalist
Brian Matthew Jordan Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War Finalist
James M. Scott Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor Finalist
2017 Heather Ann Thompson Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy Winner [29][30]
Larrie D. Ferreiro Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It Finalist
Wendy Warren New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America Finalist
2018 Jack E. Davis The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea Winner [31][32]
Kim Phillips-Fein Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics Finalist [31]
Steven J. Ross Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots against Hollywood and America Finalist [31]
2019 David W. Blight Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom Winner [33][34]
W. Fitzhugh Brundage Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition Finalist [33]
Victoria Johnson American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic Finalist [33]


Pulitzer Prize for History winners, 2020-2024[3]
Year Author Title Result Ref.
2020 W. Caleb McDaniel Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America Winner [35][36][37]
Greg Grandin The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America Finalist [35]
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership Finalist [35]
2021 Marcia Chatelain Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America Winner [38][39][40]
Eric Cervini The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America Finalist [39]
Megan Kate Nelson The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West Finalist [39]
2022 Nicole Eustace Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America Winner [41][42][43]
Ada Ferrer Cuba: An American History Winner [41][42][43]
Kate Masur Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction Finalist [41]
2023 Jefferson Cowie Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power Winner [44][45]
Garrett M. Graff Watergate: A New History Finalist [44]
Michael John Witten Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America Finalist [44]
2024 Jacqueline Jones No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era Winner [46][47]
Elliott West Continental Reckoning: The American West in the Age of Expansion Finalist [46]
Michael Willrich American Anarchy: The Epic Struggle Between Immigrant Radicals and the US Government at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century Finalist [46]

Repeat winners


Five people have won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice.

  • Margaret Leech, 1942 for Reveille in Washington, 1860–1865 and 1960 for In the Days of McKinley
  • Bernard Bailyn, 1968 for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and 1987 for Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution
  • Paul Horgan, 1955 for Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History and 1976 for Lamy of Santa Fe
  • Alan Taylor, 1996 for William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic and 2014 for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832[48]
  • Don E. Fehrenbacher completed The Impending Crisis by David Potter, for which Potter posthumously won the 1977 prize, and won the 1979 prize himself for The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics.

See also



  1. ^ "1917 Winners" Archived 2015-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. The Pulitzer Prizes (pulitzer.org). Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  2. ^ a b "History" Archived 2016-01-03 at the Wayback Machine. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "History". Pulitzer Prizes. Archived from the original on 6 April 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Elizabeth A. Brennan; Elizabeth C. Clarage (1999). Who's who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 280–. ISBN 978-1-57356-111-2. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  5. ^ Heinz-D Fischer; Erika J. Fischer (9 May 2011). Complete Historical Handbook of the Pulitzer Prize System 1917-2000: Decision-Making Processes in all Award Categories based on unpublished Sources. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 304–. ISBN 978-3-11-093912-5. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  6. ^ Fischer, Heinz Dietrich; Erika J. Fischer (1994). American History Awards, 1917-1991: From Colonial Settlements to the Civil Rights Movement. Walter de Gruyter. p. 53. ISBN 3-598-30177-4.
  7. ^ Heinz Dietrich Fischer; Erika J. Fischer (2004). Complete Bibliographical Manual of Books about the Pulitzer Prizes, 1935-2003: Monographs and Anthologies on the Coveted Awards. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 254–. ISBN 978-3-598-30188-9. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Kammen, Michael G. 1936- (Michael Gedaliah Kammen)". Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  9. ^ "Boorstin, Daniel J.". Encyclopaedia Judaica. January 1, 2007. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "Deaths". The Washington Post. March 9, 1995. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  11. ^ "Noted Economic Historian Alfred Chandler Jr., 88". The Washington Post. May 14, 2007. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  12. ^ "L.A. Cremin, Historian on Education, Dies". The Washington Post. September 5, 1990. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018.
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