Awards / Book Awards and Prizes

Richard W. Leopold Prize

Recognizing historical scholarship that focuses on America and the world, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government, documentary histories, or biography created by a US government historian or federal contract historian.



The Richard W. Leopold Prize is given biennially by the Organization of American Historians to historical scholarship that focuses on America and the world, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government, documentary histories, or biography created by a U.S. government historian or federal contract historian. These subjects cover the concerns and the historical fields of activity of the late Professor Leopold, who was president of the OAH from 1976–1977.

Eligible projects for the Leopold Prize can be books or edited volumes, but they can also include other forms of historical scholarship and documentation including public history projects, exhibitions, podcasts, documentary film, and digital history projects. We invite entries that explore the multiple forms of engagement in the spheres of America in the world and US military history or address the diversity of federal government activities and of biographical subjects. Entries could explore, but are not limited to, high politics, the state and political economies along with social and cultural history, imperial history, Indigenous history, and transnational histories of racial formation, gender and sexuality, or labor.

The prize was designed to improve contacts and interrelationships within the historical profession where an increasing number of history-trained scholars hold distinguished positions in governmental agencies and museums. The prize recognizes the significant historical work being done by historians outside the academy.


Each entry must be published, uploaded, or installed during the two-year period January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2023.

Verification of current or past employment with the US government (in the form of a letter or e-mail sent to the publisher from the office that employs or has employed the author) must be included with each entry for the Leopold Prize.

The entrants must have been employed as a full-time historian or federal contract historian in a US government agency or museum for a minimum of five years prior to the submission. If the author has accepted an academic position, retired, or otherwise left federal service, the submission must have been created within two years of their separation date.

Submission Process

One copy of each entry, clearly labeled “2024 Richard W. Leopold Prize Entry,” must be mailed directly to the committee members listed below. Each committee member must receive all submissions postmarked by October 1, 2023.

For books and edited volumes, bound page proofs may be used if they are to be published after October 1, 2023, and before January 1, 2024. If a bound page proof is submitted, a bound copy of the book must be sent to each committee member postmarked no later than January 7, 2024.

If a book carries a copyright date that is different from the publication date, but the actual publication date falls during the correct time frame making it eligible, please include a letter of explanation from the publisher with each copy of the book sent to the committee members.

For nonbook entries, appropriate documentation of the project along with evidence that it was publicly available from October 1, 2023, and before January 1, 2024, should be sent to each member of the committee. That documentation will necessarily vary by genre of entry but could, for example, include a catalog for an exhibition, a URL for a digital history project, active links to discrete episodes of a podcast, or documentary film instructions for streaming.

Please mail submissions to the committee members listed below:

John Worsencroft (Committee Chair)
16 Lake Forest Hills
Shreveport, LA 71109
Email titles that will be submitted to ensure all are received: [email protected]

Chad Parker
University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Department of History
554 Griffin Hall
141 Rex St.
Layfayette, LA 70503

Nicole Sackley
3209 Kensington Ave.
Richmond, VA 23221

Past Winners


Christian Friedrich Ostermann, Woodrow Wilson Center, Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany (Stanford University Press)


Anand Toprani, U.S. Naval War College, Oil and the Great Powers: Britain and Germany, 1914–1945 (Oxford University Press)


Richard S. Faulkner, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Pershing’s Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I(University Press of Kansas)


Jacqueline E. Whitt, Air War College, Bringing God to Men: American Military Chaplains and the Vietnam War (University of North Carolina Press)


S.C.M. Paine, US Naval War College, The Wars for Asia, 1911–1949 (Cambridge University Press)


William A. Dobak, The United States Army Center of Military History (retired), Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862–1867 (The United States Army Center of Military History)


J. Samuel Walker, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, The Road to Yucca Mountain: The Development of Radioactive Waste Policy in the United States (University of California Press)


Michael J. Neufeld, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War (Alfred A. Knopf)


Robert J. Schneller Jr., Naval Historical Center, Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy’s First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality (New York University Press)


Peter S. Kindsvatter, U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School, American Soldiers: Ground Combat in the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam (University Press of Kansas)


Dale Andradé, U.S. Army Center of Military History, and Kenneth Conboy, Control Risks Group, Indonesia, Spies and Commandos: How America Lost the Secret War in North Vietnam (University Press of Kansas)

Gary E. Weir, U.S. Naval Historical Center, An Ocean in Common: American Naval Officers, Scientists, and the Ocean Environment(Texas A & M University Press)


William M. Hammond, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War (University Press of Kansas)


Andrew J. Butrica, To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)


Barton C. Hacker, Elements of Controversy: The Atomic Energy Commission and Radiation Safety in Nuclear Weapons Testing, 1947–1974 (University of California Press)


Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI, 1944–1983 (University Press of Kansas)


Donald A. Ritchie, Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents (Harvard University Press)


Richard Greening Hewlett and Jack M. Holl, Atoms for Peace and War 1953–1961: Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission(University of California Press)


James Edward Miller, The United States and Italy, 1940–1950: The Politics and Diplomacy of Stabilization (The University of North Carolina Press)


Steven L. Rearden, History of the Office of the Secretary of Defense: The Formative Years, 1947–1950


J. Merton England, A Patron for Pure Science, The National Science Foundation’s Formative Years, 1945–1957