Abraham Lincoln Institute Winning Scholarship

Dissertation Prize Winners

The Abraham Lincoln Institute respects the commitment and talent required for significant research and presentation in dissertations and books. The purpose of the Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize is to recognize and encourage young scholars to conduct research on Abraham Lincoln and his times. 

An annual prize of $1,000 is underwritten by the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Abraham Lincoln Association. A panel of five scholars representing each organization serves as the jury.

Annual Dissertation Award Winners


Kimberly N. Kutz,  "Lincoln's Ghosts: The Posthumous Career of an American Icon," The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina


Jared Peatman,  "The Long Shadow of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address," Texas A &M University.


Cynthia Nicoletti,  "The Great Question of War: The Legal Status of Secession in the Aftermath of the American Civil War, 1865-1869," University of Virginia.


John Barr, "The Anti-Lincoln Tradition in American Life." Dr. Barr is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University.


Jonathan W. White,  "'To Aid Their Rebel Friends': Politics and Treason in the Civil War North," University of Maryland at College Park. The dissertation will be published by Louisiana State University Press. Dr. White is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.


Robert J. Johnson, Jr.,  "Trial by Fire: Abraham Lincoln and the Law," ," CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor in Liberal Arts at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

2008 – No award given.


Russell McClintock,  "Shall it be Peace or a Sword? Northern Political Culture and the Crisis of Secession, 1860-1861,"," Clark University. The dissertation was then published as Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession (University of North Carolina Press, 2008). Dr. McClintock teaches at Saint John's High School in Massachusetts.  VIDEO


David Work,  "Lincoln's Political Generals," Texas A & M University.  The dissertation was then published as Lincoln's Political Generals, (University of Illinois Press, 2009). Dr. Work is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Texas A & M University at Qatar.  VIDEO


Jennifer Weber,  "The Civil War and Northern Society," Princeton University.  The dissertation was then published as Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln's Opponents in the North, (Oxford University Press, 2006). Dr. Weber is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Kansas.  VIDEO


Matthew Parks,  "Self-Evident No More: American Political Thought, 1820-1850," Boston University.  Dr. Parks is Assistant Provost and a Lecturer in Politics at The King's College in New York City.


Graham A. Peck,  "The Social and Cultural Origins of Sectional Politics: Illinois from Statehood to Civil War," Northwestern University.  Dr. Peck is Associate Professor of History at St. Xavier University (Chicago, Illinois)


Brian Dirck,  "Mystic Chords: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, American Imagined Community, 1808-1860," University of Kansas.  Dr. Dirck is Professor of History at Anderson University (Indiana).

Lincoln and Davis: Imagining America, 1809-1865 (2001)
Waging War on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents (On Trial) (2003)


Stewart Winger,  "Lincoln's Religious Rhetoric: American Romanticism and the Antislavery Impulse," University of Chicago.  Dr. Winger is Associate Professor of History at Illinois State University.

Book:  Lincoln, Religion, and Romantic Cultural Politics (2003)

Deren Kellogg,  "The Lincoln Administration and the Southwestern Territories," University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.