NCPH Book Award

A $1,000 award for the best book about or growing out of public history published within the previous two calendar years (2022 and 2023).

2024 Winner

Who Would Believe a Prisoner? Indiana Women’s Carceral Institutions, 1848-1920, edited by Michelle Daniel Jones, New York University, and Elizabeth Nelson, Indiana University Indianapolis (The New Press, 2023)

2024 Honorable Mentions

Where We Belong: Chemehuevi and Caxcan Preservation of Sacred Mountains, Daisy Ocampo, California State University San Bernardino (University of Arizona Press, 2023)

I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction, Kidada E. Williams, Wayne State University (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2023)


The National Council on Public History invites nominations for its annual award for the best published book in public history. The Council seeks works about or growing out of public history theory, study, or practice, or that have compelling implications for the same. Books “growing out of” public history include, but are not limited to, exhibition catalogs, policy studies, and monographs that have a clear public dimension. Whether about or growing out of public history, successful contenders will clearly display the public aspects of their conception, development, and execution, and how they illuminate issues and concerns significant to audiences beyond the academy.

The NCPH Book Award consists of a $1,000 cash prize and a certificate, both presented at the NCPH Annual Meeting (to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2024). The award winner receives complimentary registration for the awards breakfast.


To be eligible for consideration, a book must have been published within the previous two calendar years (2022 and 2023). Entries may be monographs, edited collections of articles or essays, or any other published work of comparable scope. Singly and jointly authored/edited works are welcome, as are international topics.

Award Criteria

Criteria for selection include:

  1. Excellence and thoroughness of research
  2. Style and appropriateness of presentation
  3. Suitability and rigor of methodology
  4. Contribution to advancing the field of public history

(These four criterion receive equal weight in the book award committee’s discussions.)

Submission Process

Fill out the form with the nominee’s information. (Nominations are closed for 2024; a link will be provided when nominations open for 2025). The form includes a file upload for each author’s CV or resume. The completed form will be sent to each of the Book Award Committee members and to the NCPH executive office.

At the bottom of the form, in the “Shipping Information” section, please indicate when you will be sending the book and the shipping method you’ll be using. Send a copy of the book* to each of the Book Award Committee members and one to the NCPH executive office at:

NCPH Book Award
127 Cavanaugh Hall – IUPUI
425 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5148

Submissions must be received (not postmarked) no later than November 1, 2023.
*Please note that materials will not be returned.

Questions?  [email protected]; (317) 274-2716

A challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities makes possible our expanding awards program and other uses of earned income on the NCPH endowment. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Past Book Award Winners

  • All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake, Tiya Miles, Harvard University (Random House, 2021)
  • The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution, Dan Hicks, University of Oxford (Pluto Press, 2021)
    • Honorable Mention – Curating America’s Painful Past: Memory, Museums, and the National Imagination, Tim Gruenewald, University of Hong Kong (University Press of Kansas, 2021)
  • Digital Community Engagement: Partnering Communities with the Academy, Rebecca S. Wingo, University of Cincinnati; Jason A. Heppler, University of Nebraska at Omahaand Paul Schadewald, Macalester College (University of Cincinnati Press, 2020)
    • Honorable Mention – Standing with Standing Rock – Voices from the #NODAPL Movement, Nick Estes, University of New Mexico, and Jaskiran Dhillon, The New School (University of Minnesota Press, 2019)
    • Honorable Mention – Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University, Rhondda Robinson Thomas, Clemson University (University of Iowa Press, 2020)
  • Active Collections, Elizabeth Wood, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; Rainey Tisdale; and Trevor Jones, History Nebraska (Routledge, 2018)
    • Honorable Mention – Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit, Lisa Blee, Wake Forest University, and Jean M. O’Brien, University of Minnesota (University of North Carolina Press, 2019)
  • Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture, by Chip Colwell, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, (University of Chicago Press, 2017)
    • Honorable Mention – Memory Lands: King Phillip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast, by Christine M. Delucia, Mount Holyoke College (Yale University Press, 2018)
  • Andrew G. Kirk, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing, A Graphic History (Oxford University Press, 2017)
    • Honorable Mention – Ronald Rudin, Concordia University, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park (University of Toronto Press, 2016)
  • The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between, by James E. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)
    • Honorable Mention- Interpreting Food at Museums and Historic Sites, by Michelle Moon, Newark Museum (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016)
  • Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites, by Susan Ferentinos, Public History Consultant (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014)
    • Honorable Mention- “History is Bunk”: Assembling the Past at Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village, by Jessie Swigger, Western Carolina University (The University of Massachusetts Press, 2014)
  • From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement, by Andrea A. Burns, Appalachian State University (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)
    • Honorable Mention- Alice Morse Earle and the Domestic History of Early America, by Susan Reynolds Williams, Fitchburg State College (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)
  • History’s Babel: Scholarship, Professionalization, and the Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880-1940, by Robert Townsend, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
    • Honorable Mention- Who Owns American’s Past? The Smithsonian and the Problem of History, by Robert C. Post, Curator Emeritus, National Museum of American History (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013)
  • Museums, Monuments, and National Parks: Toward a New Genealogy of Public History, by Denise Meringolo of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012)
    • Honorable Mention- Remembering the Forgotten War: The Enduring Legacies of the U.S.-Mexican War, by Michael Scott Van Wagenen of Georgia Southern University (Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press, 2012)
  • Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities, by Andrew Hurley of the University of Missouri – St. Louis (Temple University Press, 2010)
  • The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, by Tiya Miles of the University of Michigan (The University of North Carolina Press, 2010)
    • Honorable Mention-  Those About Him Remained Silent: The Battle Over W.E.B. Du Bois, by Amy Bass of the The College of New Rochelle (University of Minnesota Press, 2009)
    • Honarble Mention- Voices from the Back Stairs: Interpreting Servants’ Lives at Historic House Museums, by Jennifer Pustz of the University of Iowa (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010)
  • Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian’s Journey through Public Memory, by Ronald Rudin (University of Toronto Press, 2009) Companion Website:
  • Massacre at Camp Grant: Forgetting and Remembering Apache History, by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (University of Arizona Press, 2007)
    • Honorable Mention-Consuming History:  Historians and Heritage in Contemporary Popular Culture, by Jerome de Groot (Routledge, 2009)
  • Haunted by Waters:A Journey through Race and Place in the American West, by Robert Hayashi (University of Iowa Press, 2007)
    • Honorable Mention- Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory, by  James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, eds.(The New Press, New York, NY)
  • The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City, by Cathy Stanton (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006)
  • Road, River, and Ol’ Boy Politics: A Texas County’s Path from Farm to Supersuburb, by Linda Scarbrough (Texas State Historical Assocaition, 2005)

First year presented

  • History after Apartheid: Visual Culture and Public Memory in a Democratic South Africa, by Annie E. Coombes, (University of London, 2003)