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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 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 2021 prize will be in the amount of $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 2021 prize will be announced in the fall of 2021.

Only books published in 2020 will be considered for the 2021 prize. Books published in 2021 will be considered for the 2022 prize.

"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 and volunteers - 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 winning book/author will be selected by the Caroline Bancroft History Prize committee.

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 June 1, 2020. 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 property of Denver Public Library.



  • America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee (Basic Books)
  • Animal City: the Domestication of America by Andrew A Robichaud (Yale University Press)
  • Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America by Darren Dochuk (Basic Books)
  • Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz (Basic Books)
  • Choosing to Care: A Century of Childcare and Social Reform in San Diego, 1850-1950 by Kyle Ciani (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Collisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race by Genevieve Carpio (University of California Press)
  • Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa by Rachelle Chase (Arcadia)
  • The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California by Mark Arax (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Ecology and Ethnogenesis: An Environmental History of the Wind River Shoshones, 1000-1868 by Adam R Hodge (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Esther Hobart Morris: The Unembellished Story of the Nation's First Female Judge by Kathryn Swim Cummings (High Plains Press)
  • Fighting Invisible Enemies: Health and Medical Transitions Among Southern California Indians by Clifford E. Trafzer (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Legacies of Dust Land Use and Labor on the Colorado Plains by Douglas Sheflin (University of Nebraska Press)
  • The Mormon Handcart Migration: "Tongue nor pen can never tell the sorrow" by Candy Moulton (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Montanans in the Great War: Open Warfare Over There by Ken Robinson (Arcadia)
  • Natural Rivals: John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and the Creation of America's Public Lands by John Clayton (Pegasus Books)
  • Navajo Scouts During the Apache Wars by John Lewis Taylor (Arcadia)
  • Nighthawk Rising: A Biography of Accused Cattle Rustler Queen Ann Bassett of Browns Park by Diana Allen Kouris (High Plains Press)
  • Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory by Cynthia Culver Prescott (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Slavery's Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State by Christopher P. Lehman (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
  • Sovereign Schools: How Shoshones and Arapahos Created a High School on the Wind River Reservation by Martha Louise Hipp (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Speaking American: Language Education and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles by Zevi Gutfreund (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Starring Red Wing!: The Incredible Career of Lilian M. St. Cry, the First Native American Film Star by Linda M Waggoner (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Theodore Roosevelt & Bison Restoration on the Great Plains by Keith Aune, Glenn Plumb and Leroy Littlebear, Jim Posewitz, Kent Redford, Amethyst First Rider, Jim Deer, and Dave Hunter (Arcadia)
  • Western Art, Western History: Collected Essays by Ron Tyler (University of Oklahoma Press)