Columbia University Announces 2005 Bancroft Prize Winners Three Esteemed Historians -Melvin Patrick Ely, Michael J. Klarman

and Michael O'Brien-Will Receive Awards



    NEW YORK, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The authors of three acclaimed books,
 one on constitutional law, one on the intellectual history of the American
 South and one on the history of Israel Hill, a free black community built in
 Virginia, will be awarded the Bancroft Prize for 2005, Columbia University
 announced today.
     The winners are Melvin Patrick Ely, "Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern
 Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War" (Alfred A.
 Knopf); Michael J. Klarman, "From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court
 and the Struggle for Racial Equality" (Oxford University Press); and Michael
 O'Brien, "Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South,
 1810-1860" (two volumes, The University of North Carolina Press).
     One of the most coveted honors in the field of history, the Bancroft Prize
 is awarded annually by the Trustees of Columbia University to the authors of
 books of exceptional merit in the fields of American history, biography and
 diplomacy.  The 2005 awards are for books published in 2004.
     Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger will present the awards to
 the recipients at a formal dinner on April 27 at the University's Low Memorial
 Library, hosted by the Department of History and the University Libraries.
     The Bancroft Prize, which includes an award of $10,000 to each author, is
 administered by James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and
 University Librarian at Columbia.
     "Over 200 books were nominated for consideration by the Bancroft jury this
 year," noted Neal. "Once again, we were very impressed by the number of
 excellent submissions covering a broad range of themes, and are proud to
 announce this year's winners."
     Melvin Patrick Ely, author of "Israelon the Appomattox:  A Southern
 Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War"(Alfred A.
 Knopf), is professor of History and Black Studies at the College of William
 and Mary. He is the author of "The Adventures of Amos 'n' Andy: A Social
 History of an American Phenomenon." "Israelon the Appomattox" reconstructs the
 experiences of a free black community established in Virginia in the early
 1800s.  According to the Bancroft jury, "This model work of local history
 succeeds in illuminating both individual lives and large structures, both
 limits and possibilities, and the result is a complex and arresting story that
 will make us all think harder about the history of race relations in the
 antebellum South."
     Michael J.  Klarman, author of "From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme
 Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality"(Oxford University Press), is the
 James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and professor of History at the
 University of Virginia. Bancroft jurors noted that "Klarman's examination of
 this classic problem in American constitutional history is not only our best
 account of Brown, its antecedents and consequences, but also goes well beyond
 that important story to make a larger set of arguments about the role of the
 Supreme Court in helping to bring about social change."
     Michael O'Brien, author of "Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and
 the American South, 1810-1860" (two volumes, The University of North Carolina
 Press), is Reader in American History at the University of Cambridge and is a
 fellow of Jesus College. Bancroft jurors commented, "In what can only be
 described as magisterial fashion, O'Brien has chronicled the lives and works
 of antebellum Southern writers and thinkers-from dissenters like the Grimke
 sisters to the man Richard Hofstader called the Marx of the Master Class, John
 C. Calhoun, and almost everyone in between."
     The Bancroft Prizes were established at Columbian 1948 with a bequest from
 Frederic Bancroft, the historian, author and librarian of the Department of
 State, to provide steady development of library resources, to support
 instruction and research in American history and diplomacy, and to recognize
 exceptional books in the field. To see a list of past winners, visit
 http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/eguides/amerihist/bancroftlist.html.
 
     Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library
 systems in the nation, with 8.2 million volumes, over 57,700 serials, as well
 as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books,
 microforms and other non-print formats. The collections and services are
 organized into 22 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional
 disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support
 staff to assist faculty, students and researchers in their academic endeavors.
 
 

SOURCE Columbia University

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