Abraham Lincoln Institute Winning Scholarship

Dissertation Prize Winners

Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Award 2015

Deadline September1, 2014

The Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) and the Abraham Lincoln Institute (ALI) invite nominations, self-nominations, and submissions for the 2015 Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Award.

Eligible doctoral dissertations must have been completed in 2012-2014 and must focus primarily on Abraham Lincolnís life, career and/or legacy, preferably offering new interpretations, grounded in new evidence or primary source materials, and/or reevaluating previously accepted conclusions.

Comparative studies (e.g., leadership studies, biographies) will be considered as long as Abraham Lincoln is the main focus of more than one chapter; studies of individuals traditionally associated with Abraham Lincoln will also be considered.

Selection Process

Selection is made by a joint ALA/ALI committee. The winner will be notified in December 2014, with the expectation of accepting in person at the ALA Banquet in February in Springfield, IL, or the ALI Symposium in March in College Park, Maryland (travel and lodging provided).


To nominate, submit, or inquire, contact the chair of the selection committee, Prof. Scott A. Sandage. Submission of dissertations by email in PDF format strongly preferred.

Prof. Scott A. Sandage
Department of History BPH240
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

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 Lehrman Institute. The Abraham Lincoln Association and the Abraham Lincoln Institute, Inc. select the recipients. The first year, both organizations selected recipients. The award alternates between each organization from year to year. A panel of five scholars representing each organization serves as the jury.

Annual Dissertation Award Winners


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


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.