Winners of the 2016 Bancroft Prizes Announced

Border Law: The First Seminole War and American Nationhood by Deborah A. Rosen (Harvard University Press), Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention by Mary Sarah Bilder (Harvard University Press), and The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast by Andrew Lipman (Yale University Press).

The Bancroft Prizes are awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University.  Winners are judged in terms of the scope, significance, depth of research, and richness of interpretation they present in the areas of American history and/or diplomacy.  There were 197 books nominated that were considered for the 2016 prizes.

Columbia Provost John H. Coatsworth will present the awards at the Bancroft Prizes dinner next month, hosted by the Department of History and Columbia University Libraries. The Bancroft Prizes, which includes an award of $10,000 to each author, are administered by Vice Provost and University Librarian, Ann Thornton.

“We congratulate these scholars for their exceptional achievements,” Thornton said. “We are thrilled to award the Bancroft Prizes to three extraordinary works, all of which demonstrate excellence in research, writing, and thought.”

The Bancroft Prize was established at Columbia University in 1948 with a bequest from Frederic Bancroft, a preeminent historian, librarian, author, and Columbia University lecturer.  It is considered one of the most distinguished academic awards in the field of history.

Deborah A. Rosen is the David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of History at Lafayette College. Her scholarly work examines the history of colonial America, early national America, race, citizenship, sovereignty, borders, American Indians, women, American law, and international law. She is the co-editor of a three-volume collection of colonial-era treaties and laws pertaining to American Indians and is also the author of Courts and Commerce: Gender, Law, and the Market Economy in Colonial New York; American Indians and State Law: Sovereignty, Race, and Citizenship, 1790-1880; and, most recently, Border Law: The First Seminole War and American Nationhood.

Mary Sarah Bilder is Professor of Law and Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar at Boston College Law School. She teaches property, trusts and estates, and American legal and constitutional history. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools. She received her B.A. with Honors (English) and the Dean’s Prize from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School, and her A.M. (History) and Ph.D. from Harvard University in the History of American Civilization/American Studies. She is member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the State Bar of Wisconsin. She is involved in numerous legal and historical associations, including the American Bar Foundation, American Law Institute, American Society for Legal History, Massachusetts Historical Society, and Colonial Society of Massachusetts. She has received the Littleton-Griswold Award from the American Historical Association and the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award from the American Association of Law Librarians. Her recent work has focused on the history of the Constitution, James Madison and the Founders, the history of judicial review, and colonial and founding era constitutionalism.

Andrew Lipman is an assistant professor of history at Barnard College. His writing has appeared in Common-place, Early American Studies, Reviews in American History, Slate Magazine, and The William and Mary Quarterly. His research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society, Harvard University's International Seminar in the History of the Atlantic World, the John Carter Brown Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Mystic Seaport Museum. He has also served as a consultant for the Museum of the City of New York and the New York branch of the National Museum of the American Indian. Previously he taught at Syracuse University and was a long-term fellow at the New-York Historical Society. 

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.  The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: