SHARP Book History Book Prize

Each year, SHARP recognizes the best book published on any aspect of the creation, dissemination, or uses of script or print with a US$1,000 award to its author.

Begun in 1997, with the origin of SHARP itself, the prize was supported from 2004 through 2022 with support from the DeLong family and was known as the George A. and Jeanne S. DeLong Book History Book Prize. The award is now supported by SHARP’s funds and continues to recognize outstanding work published in our field as the SHARP Book History Book Prize.

Submissions for the 2023 Prize

Submissions for the 2023 prize are now closed. Information on the 2024 prize will be posted by spring 2023.

Publishers are invited to nominate books in or related to the field of book history. All submissions must be in English and must have been copyrighted in 2022. (Translations of works originally copyrighted earlier are eligible, but the translations themselves must have been copyrighted in 2022.) Because the purpose of the prize is to honor the work of an individual scholar or of scholars working closely together writing a jointly-authored monograph, collections of essays, reference works, bibliographies, and other collaborative projects are not eligible and will not be considered.

Submissions must be in the possession of all members of the jury by Friday, January 13, 2023. Please submit six print copies of each entry, one to each member of the jury and administrative team; email the SHARP Executive Assistant (, for addresses and to confirm that you have submitted your title(s). General queries regarding the prize should be directed to the same email. Please note that copies of books are non-returnable.

The members of this year’s jury are:

The 2023 winner will be announced at SHARP’s annual conference in June 2023.

The 2022 Winner

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) is delighted to announce the award of the 2022 DeLong Book History Book Prize to Elizabeth McHenry, Professor of English at New York University, for her To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice, and African American Authorship (Duke University Press, 2021).

In announcing the Prize at SHARP’s virtual conference, judge Professor Jennifer Richards commented:

Professor McHenry’s deeply researched, engagingly written, and often moving book recovers the commitment of writers and readers in the decade following the 1896 legalization of segregation to build and enable African-American literacy and literary culture. It elevates and makes meaningful the most quotidian of forms of writing – the book list for example – and of literary activities, the creation of Bibliographical societies, and invites us to think differently about how a literary tradition is created and by who. This book also asks us to reconsider the category of literary success from the perspective of an author like, say, Mary Church Terrell, who struggled to publish her work in a culture that was defined by its gate-keeping, even as it recovers, shares and interprets her many unpublished short stories from the archive. The final chapter on Terrell is an incredible story about the challenge and craft of story-telling. We congratulate Elizabeth McHenry as a worthy winner of this award.

A commendation was also made to Margaret Meserve, Glynn Family Honors Associate Professor of History Arts, University of Notre Dame for Papal Bull: Print, Politics, and Propaganda in Renaissance Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021).

Previous awardees


  • Kathy Peiss, Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe (Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • Highly Commended: Robert Goree, Printing Landmarks: Popular Geography and Meisho Zue in Late Tokugawa Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2020)


  • Jeffrey T. Zalar, Reading and Rebellion in Catholic Germany, 17701914 (Cambridge University Press, 2019)


  • Brent Nongbri, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts (Yale University Press, 2018)
  • Highly Commended: David McKitterick, The Invention of Rare Books: Private Interest and Public Memory, 1600–1840 (Cambridge University Press, 2018); Adam Smyth, Material Texts in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2018)


  • Eric Marshall White, Editio Princeps: A History of the Gutenberg Bible (Brepols, 2017)
  • Highly Commended: Tom Mole, What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History (Princeton University Press, 2016)


  • Eva Mroczek, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • Highly Commended: Jonathan G Alexander, The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy, 1450–1650 (Yale University Press, 2016); Noah Millstone, Manuscript Circulation and the Invention of Politics in Early Stuart England (Cambridge University Press, 2016)


  • Kristina Lundblad, Bound to be Modern: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings and the Material Culture of the Book, 1840-1914 (Oak Knoll Press, 2015; translated by Alan Crozier)
  • Highly Commended: Nick Hopwood, Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud (University of Chicago Press, 2015); Kate Loveman, Samuel Pepys and His Books: Reading, Newsgathering, and Sociability, 1660-1703 (Oxford University Press, 2015)


  • Daniel Wakelin, Scribal Correction and Literary Craft: English Manuscripts 1375-1510 (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Highly Commended: Paula Rabinowitz, American Pulp: How Paperbacks brought Modernism to Main Street (Princeton University Press, 2014)


  • David McKitterick, Old Books, New Technologies. The Representation, Conservation and Transformation of Books since 1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Highly Commended: Ellen Gruber Garvey, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2013)


  • Helen Smith, ‘Grossly Material Things’: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Highly Commended: Sachiko Kusukawa, Picturing the Book of Nature: Image, Text, and Argument in Sixteenth-Century Human Anatomy and Medical Botany (University of Chicago Press, 2012); Mary Franklin-Brown, Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age (University of Chicago Press, 2012)


  • Barbara Hochman, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and the Reading Revolution (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011)


  • John B. Hench, Books as Weapons: Propaganda, Publishing, and the Battle for Global Markets in the Era of World War II (Cornell University Press, 2010)


  • Catherine J. Golden, Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing (University Press of Florida, 2009)


  • Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (MIT Press, 2008)


  • James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade 1450-1850 (Yale University Press, 2007)


  • Rimi B. Chatterjee, Empires of the Mind: A History of the Oxford University Press in India During the Raj (Oxford University Press, 2006)


  • Heather Andrea Williams, Self-Taught: African American Education in Freedom and Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, 2005).


  • Simone Murray, Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2004)


  • Janine Barchas, Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


  • Elizabeth McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (Duke University Press, 2002)


  • Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (Yale University Press, 2001)


  • Kevin Sharpe, Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England (Yale University Press, 2000)


  • Scott Caspar, Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-century America (University of North Carolina Press, 1999)


  • Adrian Johns, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (University of Chicago Press, 1998)


  • Marianna Shreve Simpson, Sultan Ibrahim Mirza’s Haft Awrang: A Princely Manuscript from Sixteenth-Century Iran (Yale University Press, 1997)


  • Ellen Gruber Garvey, The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s-1910s (Oxford University Press, 1996)