The Caroline Bancroft History Prize

Past Award Winning Books

Past Honor Books


The Western History and Genealogy Department of Denver Public Library awards the Caroline Bancroft History Prize annually. According to the terms of the will of the late Caroline Bancroft, provision is made for an annual prize "to be awarded to the author of the best book on Colorado or Western American History published during the current year, to be known as the Caroline Bancroft History Prize." The 2024 prize will be for $1,000. Honor books may be named but will not receive a monetary prize.

The competition is open to all United States and foreign citizens, except those persons directly affiliated with Denver Public Library as current employees, volunteers, or Library Commission members. The winner of the 2024 prize will be announced in December 2024.

Only books published in 2023 will be considered for the 2024 prize. Books published in 2024 will be considered for the 2025 prize. To be accepted into the competition, books must include footnotes or endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.

"Colorado or Western American History" is defined geographically as being inclusive of the trans-Mississippi West from prehistoric times to the present. This includes all states west of the Mississippi River, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canadian and Mexican borderlands.

In defining the term "best book," the Caroline Bancroft History Prize committee - which is comprised of Denver Public Library employees - will consider books that make a significant contribution to historical knowledge, that present thorough and original research, that bring a new perspective to some well-known question, and that are of high literary quality. The Caroline Bancroft History Prize committee will select the winning book/author.

Publishers and authors can submit entries to:

The Caroline Bancroft Prize
Western History and Genealogy Department,
Denver Public Library
10 West Fourteenth Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204

preferably as soon as they are published, but no later than May 1, 2024. Denver Public Library requests two copies of each book along with a letter stating they are for the Caroline Bancroft Prize competition so the library can send an acknowledgment. All submitted copies will become the property of Denver Public Library.



The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky: A History of the Chinese Experience in Montana by Mark T. Johnson. University of Nebraska Press


A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles Nourished its Community by Natalia Molina. University of California Press


  • An Archive of Skin, An Archive of Kin: Disability and Life-Making During Medical Incarceration by Adria L. Imada. University of California Press
  • A Big History of North America: From Montezuma to Monroe by Kevin Jon Fernlund. University of Missouri Press
  • Big Nose George : His Troublesome Trail by Mark E. Miller. High Plains Press
  • Both Sides Now: Writing the Edges of the North American West by Sheila McManus. Texas A&M University Press
  • Cattle Beet Capital: Making Industrial Agriculture in Northern Colorado by Michael Weeks. University of Nebraska Press
  • Colorado's Historic Schools by Linda Wommack with a foreword by Chris Enss. TwoDot
  • Earth Works Rising: Mound Building in Native Literature and Arts by Chadwick Allen. University of Minnesota Press
  • The Earth is All That Lasts : Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the Last Stand of the Great Sioux Nation by Mark Lee Gardner. Mariner Books
  • Educating the Enemy : Teaching Nazis and Mexicans in the Cold War Borderlands by Jonna Perrillo. The University of Chicago Press
  • A Failed Vision of Empire: The Collapse of Manifest Destiny, 1845-1872 by Daniel Burge. University of Nebraska Press
  • From Sand Creek to Summit Springs: Colorado's Indian Wars by Linda Wommack. Caxton Press
  • Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom by R. Isabela Morales.Oxford University Press
  • Imperial Zions: Religion, Race, and Family in the American West and the Pacific by Amanda Hendrix-Komoto. University of Nebraska Press
  • Imposing Order Without Law: American Expansion to the Eastern Sierra, 1850-1865 by Michael J. Makley. University of Nevada Press
  • Making a Modern U.S. West: The Contested Terrain of a Region and Its Borders, 1898-1940 by Sarah Deutsch. University of Nebraska Press
  • Montana's Visionary Mayor: Willard E. Fraser by Lou Mandler. Montana Historical Society Press
  • New Mexico's Moses: Reies López Tijerina and the Religious Origins of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by Ramón A. Gutiérrez. University of New Mexico Press
  • The North American West in the Twenty-First Century by Brendan W. Rensink. University of Nebraska Press
  • Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon by Peter Boag. University of Washington Press
  • Racial Uncertainties: Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post-Civil Rights America by Danielle R. Olden. University of California Press
  • When a Dream Dies: Agriculture, Iowa, and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg. University Press of Kansas