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The Caroline Bancroft History Prize

Past Award Winning Books

Past Honor Books


The Western History and Genealogy Department of the 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 2018 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 the Denver Public Library as current employees, volunteers, or Library Commission members. The winner of the 2018 prize will be announced in the fall of 2018.

Only books published in 2017 will be considered for the 2018 prize. Books published in 2018 will be considered for the 2019 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 staff of the Western History and Genealogy Department will consider books that make 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 a high literary quality. The winning book/author will be selected by employees of the Western History and Genealogy Department and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

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 not later than May 1, 2018. The Denver Public Library requests two copies of each book along with a letter that states that they are for the Caroline Bancroft Prize competition so that the Library can send an acknowledgment. All submitted copies will become property of the Denver Public Library.

Questions regarding the process used by the Library for prize selection can be addressed to:

Jim Kroll, Manager of the Western History and Genealogy Department,




  • An American Genocide: The United States And The California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley (Yale University Press)
  • As Precious As Blood: The Western Slope In Colorado's Water Wars, 1900-1970 by Steven C. Schulte (University Press of Colorado)
  • Asians in Colorado: A History of Persecution and Perseverance in the Centennial State by William Wei (University of Washington Press) 
  • Bayonets in Paradise: Martial Law in Hawaiʻi During World War II by Harry N. Scheiber; Jane L. Scheiber (University of Hawaiʻi Press)
  • Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West by Erasmo Gamboa (University of Washington Press)
  • California Mission Landscapes: Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage by Elizabeth Kryder-Reid (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Cass Hite: The Life of an Old Prospector by James H. Knipmeyer (The University of Utah Press)
  • Charles K. McClatchy and the Golden Era of American Journalism by Steven M. Avella (University of Missouri Press)
  • Colorado Excursions with History, Hikes and Hops by Ed Sealover (The History Press)
  • A Compendium of Curious Colorado Place Names by Jim Flynn (The History Press)
  • Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering by Maurice Isserman (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan L. Flores (Basic Books) 
  • The Disappearances: A Story of Exploration, Murder, and Mystery in the American West by Scott Thybony (The University of Utah Press)
  • The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West by Peter Cozzens (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Eternity Street: Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles by John Mack Faragher (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West by Ryan Dearinger (University of California Press)
  • Historic Tales of Colorado's Grand Valley: Heroes, Heroines, Hucksters and Hooligans by Kate Ruland-Thorne (The History Press)
  • Horsehair Bridles: A Unique American Folk Art: Volume 3 of the Bridles of the Americas by Ned Martin; Charlie Robson; Jody Martin; Winfield Coleman (Hawk Hill Press)
  • The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City by Tyina L. Steptoe (University of California Press)
  • How Myth Became History: Texas Exceptionalism in the Borderlands by John E. Dean (The University of Arizona Press)
  • Making the White Man's West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West by Jason E. Pierce (University Press of Colorado)
  • The Man Who Thought He Owned Water: On The Brink With American Farms, Cities, and Food by Tershia D'Elgin (University Press of Colorado)
  • Massacre, Murder and Mayhem in the Rocky Mountain West by Tim Blevins; Dennis Daily; Chris Nicholl; William G. Thomas; Michael L. Olsen (Pikes Peak Library District)
  • Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awatovi Massacre by James F. Brooks (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Narrating The Landscape: Print Culture and American Expansion in the Nineteenth Century by Matt Johnston (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Nicodemus: Post-Reconstruction Politics and Racial Justice in Western Kansas by Charlotte Hinger (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Picture Bride Stories by Barbara F. Kawakami (University of Hawaiʻi Press)
  • Powder River: Disastrous Opening Of The Great Sioux War by Paul L. Hedren (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency by David Greenberg (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips (Oxford University Press)
  • Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill by Mark Lee Gardner (William Morrow)
  • Sea Of Sand: A History Of Great Sand Dunes National Park And Preserve by Michael M. Geary (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • A Short History of Denver by Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel (University of Nevada Press)
  • Soap Suds Row: The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses, 1802-1876 by Jennifer J. Lawrence (High Plains Press)
  • Soldiering In The Shadow Of Wounded Knee: The 1891 Diary Of Private Hartford G. Clark, Sixth U.S. Cavalry by Hartford G. Clark; Jerome A. Greene (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Southwest Denver by Shawn M. Snow, Jeanne Faatz (Arcadia Publishing, a division of The History Press)
  • The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire by Karl Jacoby (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Surviving Wounded Knee: The Lakotas and the Politics of Memory by David Grua (Oxford University Press)   
  • The Texas Frontier and the Butterfield Overland Mail, 1858-1861 by Glen Sample Ely (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Three Roads to Magdalena: Coming of Age in a Southwest Borderland, 1890-1990 by David Wallace Adams (University Press of Kansas)
  • Treason in the Rockies: Nazi Sympathizer Dale Maple's POW Escape Plot by Paul N. Herbert (The History Press)
  • The Vanishing Messiah: The Life and Resurrections of Francis Schlatter by David N. Wetzel (University of Iowa Press)
  • Wilderness Fever: A Family's Adventures Homesteading in Early Jackson Hole, 1914-1924 by Linda Preston McKinstry and Harold Cole McKinstry (High Plains Press)