Greenspan–Rose Book History Essay Prize

Book History‘s annual Greenspan–Rose Prize is given to the best article in that year’s volume whose author was a graduate student at the time the essay was first submitted. Winners receive US$500 and recognition at SHARP’s Annual General Meeting.

Formerly the “Graduate Student Essay Prize,” the award was renamed as of the 25th anniversary volume to honor Book History founding editors Ezra Greenspan and Jonathan Rose. Both eminent book historians in their own right, in their role as journal editors Greenspan and Rose gave extraordinary attention to mentoring young scholars and graduate students. The current editors of Book History are equally devoted to fostering the careers of new and emerging members of the profession.

The 2023 Essay Prize Winner

The winner of the Greenspan–Rose Prize for 2023 is Sarah Schaefer Walton for her paper “Crafting a ‘Species of Literature’: John Murray’s Multidisciplinary, Polyvocal Handbooks for Travellers.”

Sarah Schaefer Walton is a PhD candidate in English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her dissertation considers travel guidebooks—with John Murray’s Handbooks for Travellers as the central example—as rich repositories of Victorian perspectives. In her paper, Sarah examines the commercial and cultural success of the 19th-century travel guidebooks, Murray’s Handbooks for Travellers to the Continent. Using the John Murray Archive, she makes the case that Murray’s Handbooks were polyvocal, multidisciplinary texts. The myth this article scrutinizes, in other words, is not that of Murray as Founding Father of the guidebook, or the preeminence of his series over other tourist products or names within the shifting Victorian travel landscape, but rather that of Murray as a single entity, as “author” at all. The story of the Handbooks‘ assembly engages with conversations about literary networks, collaborative authorship, publishing practice, and, ultimately, genre.

Previous awardees


Jennifer Manoukian, “Literary Translation and the Expansion of the Ottoman Armenian Reading Public, 1853–1884”


Fan Wang, “How Late Imperial Chinese Literati Read Their Books: Inscribing, Collating, Excerpting”


Mary Catherine Kinniburgh, “The Postwar American Poet’s Library: An Archival Consideration with Charles Olson and the Maud/Olson Library”


Amy Sopcak-Joseph, “Reconstructing and Gendering the Distribution Networks of Godey’s Lady’s Book in the Nineteenth Century”


Anna Wager, “Photographs, Pens, and Print: William Morris and the Technologies of Typography”


Kathryn A. Schwartz, “Did Ottoman Sultans Ban Print?”


Kristen Highland, “In the Bookstore: The Houses of Appleton and Book Cultures in Antebellum New York City” (additional material at Book History Unbound: “An Appleton Archive”)


Elizabeth Della Zazzera, “Translating Revolutionary Time: French Republican Almanacs in the United States”


Albert A. Palacios, “Preventing ‘Heresy’: Censorship and Privilege in Mexican Publishing, 1590–1612”


Brigitte Beck Pristed, “Glasnost Noire: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Publication and Reception of James Hadley Chase”


Elizabeth le Roux, “Book History in the African World: The State of the Discipline”


Eva Mroczek, “Thinking Digitally About the Dead Sea Scrolls: Book History Before and Beyond the Book”


Spencer D. C. Keralis, “Pictures of Charlotte: The Illustrated Charlotte Temple and Her Readers”


Elizabeth Yale, “With Slips and Scraps: How Early Modern Naturalists Invented the Archive”


Joanne Filippone Overty, “The Cost of Doing Scribal Business: Prices of Manuscript Books in England, 1300-1483”


Matt Miller, “Composing the First Leaves of Grass: How Whitman Used His Early Notebooks”


Melissa Free, “Un-Erasing CrusoeFarther Adventures in the Nineteenth Century”

Special citation for a distinguished article by an undergraduate student awarded to Emily Oswald, “Imagining Race: Illustrating the Poems of Paul Lawrence Dunbar”


Patricia May B. Jurilla, Florante at Laura and the History of the Filipino Book”


Neil Safier, “‘. . . To Collect and Abridge . . . Without Changing Anything Essential’: Rewriting Incan History at the Parisian Jardin du Roi”


Rebecca Rego Barry, “The Neo-Classics: (Re)Publishing the ‘Great Books’ in the United States in the 1990s”


Matt Cohen, “Morton’s Maypole and the Indians: Publishing in Early New England”


Eric Lupfer, “Before Nature Writing: Houghton, Mifflin and Company and the Invention of the Outdoor Book, 1880-1900”