The Bancroft Prizes

Description & Guidelines

The Bancroft Prizes are awarded annually by Columbia University in the City of New York. Under the terms of the will of the late Frederic Bancroft, provision is made for two annual prizes of equal rank  to be awarded to the authors of distinguished works in either or both of the following categories: American History (including biography) and Diplomacy.

The awards in 2021 are for books published in 2020. The competition is open to all persons whether connected with Columbia University or not and whether citizens of the United States or any other country. Announcement of the awards will be made in the spring of 2021.

The word "American" is interpreted to include all the Americas, North, Central, and South; however, the award is confined to works originally written in English or of which there is a published translation in English. Volumes of papers, letters, and speeches of famous Americans, unless edited by the author, are not eligible. Autobiography comes within the terms of the prize, but books reporting on recent personal experiences of Americans, within a limited area both in time and geographically, are not considered eligible.

Previous winners of the Bancroft Prize are eligible for an award in a later year.

This year due to Covid-19, we are altering our submission process. Plans and procedures are still in development and will be posted here. Please check back here in late July / early August for information on how to submit works for consideration.

Works should be submitted, preferably as published, but in no case later than November 1, 2020. However electronic page-proof copy may be submitted after November 1, provided that the work will be published after the date and before December 31, 2020. Electronic page-proof copy will not be accepted for any work that will have a publication date earlier than November 1, 2020.