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
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
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
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