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.
Publishers, to nominate your title(s), please:
- Contact SHARP Executive Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org to specify which title(s) you are nominating and to request mailing addresses.
- Mail 5 copies of each title (i.e., one copy of each title to each of the members of the jury, the Director of Awards and the Executive Assistant).
- Contact SHARP Executive Assistant at email@example.com to confirm that you have mailed 6 copies of each of your titles.
- Please note that submissions must be in the possession of all members of the jury by Friday, January 19, 2024 and that copies of books are non-returnable.
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 2023. (Translations of works originally copyrighted earlier are eligible, but the translations themselves must have been copyrighted in 2023.) 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.
The 2023 Winner
The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) is delighted to announce the award of the 2023 SHARP Book History Book Prize to Kirsten Silva Gruesz, for her Cotton Mather’s Spanish Lessons: A Story of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas (Harvard University Press, 2022), and to Michelle R. Warren, for her Holy Digital Grail: A Medieval Book on the Internet (Stanford University Press, 2022).
In announcing the Prize at SHARP’s virtual conference, judge Susan Pickford praised both books:
For the first time in its history, the DeLong prize committee has decided to honor joint winners. Professor Kirsten Silva Gruesz’s profound study returns to an often-studied figure in American history to shed stunning fresh light on his, and his culture’s, entanglements with Spanish Catholicism within a largely Indigenous New World. It is a deeply inventive work of scholarship, building on Cotton Mather’s authorship of Spanish-language religious tracts to take in a vast sweep of early modern history across the Old and New Worlds. Far-reaching in breadth and often moving in its attention to the minutiae of history, it is a fascinating account of colonial encounter in the early Americas and a significant contribution to understandings of modern-day Latinidad.
Professor Michelle Warren’s groundbreaking book telescopes past and present in the engaging study of one medieval manuscript’s new lease of life online. Drawing on a highly innovative multidisciplinary framework that incorporates rich insights from media theory and medieval studies, her engrossing account provides a convincing demonstration of the transformations material artefacts undergo when they move into the digital realm. Her infrastructural approach, highlighting the fundamentally collaborative nature of meaning-making, offers enticing perspectives for future scholarship and puts forward a significant new conceptualisation of what we mean by the word “book”. The prize panel congratulates Kirsten Silva Gruesz and Michelle Warren as worthy joint winners of the award.
- Elizabeth McHenry, To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice, and African American Authorship (Duke University Press, 2021)
- Highly Commended: Margaret Meserve, Papal Bull: Print, Politics, and Propaganda in Renaissance Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021)
- 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, 1770–1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
- Highly Commended: Robert Culp, The Power of Print in Modern China (Columbia University Press, 2019); Jennifer Richards, Voices and Books in the English Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2019); Fei-Hsien Wang, Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China (Princeton 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)