Albert J. Beveridge Award
To promote and honor outstanding historical writing, the American Historical Association offers each year the Albert J. Beveridge Award in American History. The award was established on a biennial basis in 1939 and has been awarded annually since 1945. It honors US Senator Albert J. Beveridge (Indiana, 1899–1911), a longtime member of the Association and an active supporter of history as both a lawyer and a senator.
The Beveridge Fund was created by a gift of $50,000 from Mrs. Catherine Beveridge in honor of her husband in 1927. Mrs. Beveridge wrote to the AHA of her desire for “a separate fund bearing my husband’s name and devoted to research in American history.” The fund was augmented by donations from friends of Senator Beveridge and the scope of the award was enlarged to encompass Latin America and Canada as well as the United States.
The award is given for a distinguished book in English on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present. Books that employ new methodological or conceptual tools or that constitute significant reexaminations of important interpretive problems will be given preference. Literary merit is also an important criterion. General rules for submission are:
- Biographies, monographs, and works of synthesis and interpretation are eligible; translations, anthologies, and collections of documents are not.
- Only books bearing a copyright of 2015 are eligible for the 2016 prize.
- Nominators must complete an online prize submission form for each book submitted.
- No more than five titles from any one publisher may be submitted.
- One copy of each entry must be sent to each committee member and clearly labeled “Beveridge Award Entry.” Electronic copies may be sent only to committee members who have indicated they will accept them.
Please Note: Entries must be postmarked or transmitted by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2016 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.
Review committee contact information and the prize submission form for the next prize year will be posted by March 31.
2015 Beveridge Award
Elizabeth A. Fenn, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People (Hill & Wang)
Fenn achieves a feat once thought impossible: a long durée history of the Mandan, whose horticultural civilization knit the northern plains together for centuries before warfare, epidemics, and environmental pressures thinned their numbers. She accomplishes this feat not only by exhausting the sparse archival sources, but also by tapping the insights of many other disciplines and embracing a narrative strategy that makes the very evidentiary uncertainties she faced a driver of the narrative. A remarkable exercise in historical forensics, Encounters at the Heart of the World is also a model for writing the history of early America from the center of the continent outward.
Greg Grandin, New York Univ.
The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World (Metropolitan Books)
Taking as its launching point the 1805 shipboard rebellion that inspired Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, The Empire of Necessity makes visceral the webs of unfreedom that ensnared the Americas in an age of revolution and liberal ideals. Merging gripping depictions of slave markets and seal islands, Andean crossings and ship decks, it knits hemispheric history into the larger tapestry of global history. As a meditation on the taut ties between dreams of liberty and capitalist entanglements, Grandin’s magnificently researched and multi-layered book is a powerful cautionary tale for our own times.