William L. Mitchell Prize
The Mitchell Prize for research on British serials was endowed to honor William L. Mitchell, former librarian at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, where he was curator of the Richmond P. and Marjorie N. Bond Collection of 18th-Century British Newspapers and Periodicals and of the Edmund Curll Collection. The Prize serves as an encouragement to scholars engaged in bibliographical scholarship on 18th-century periodicals published in English or in any language but within the British Isles and its colonies and former colonies.
The Bibliographical Society of America invites submissions for its seventh William L. Mitchell Prize for Bibliography or Documentary Work on Early British Periodicals or Newspapers. The next competition has the deadline of 15 October 2020 and will consider works (including theses, articles, books, and electronic resources) published after 31 December 2017. The winner of the William L. Mitchell Prize will receive a cash award of $1,000 and a year’s membership in the Society.
Submissions & Eligibility
Submissions for the Mitchell Prize may concentrate on any periodicals or newspapers printed before 1800 in English-speaking countries, but should involve research into primary sources of historical evidence, such as the analysis of the physical objects, whether for establishing a text or understanding the history of the production, distribution, collecting, or reading of serial publications. For examples of the kind of scholarship falling within the Prize’s survey, please see the descriptions of previous winners.
Eligible scholarship may take the form of a book or article, a Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation defended and approved, or research results distributed in another manner, such as on a website or a CD-ROM. Eligible scholarship must have been published or, if a dissertation or thesis, approved during the year of the deadline or the three previous calendar years. If a publication has an incorrect nominal date disqualifying it for submission but an actual date of publication within the prize period, it may be nominated with a letter by the publisher or editor testifying to the actual date of publication. Unpublished dissertations and theses must be accompanied by a letter from their authors’ directors attesting to their having been approved.
All scholars are eligible to apply for the Mitchell Prize without regard to their membership in the Bibliographical Society of America or any other society, and without regard to their citizenship or academic affiliation, degree, or rank. The Prize will be awarded to the author of a particular work of scholarship without regard to the author’s prolonged or repeated contributions to the field. Since the Prize is designed to promote research on the history of the periodical and the periodical press, the Prize Committee encourages applications by young or junior scholars who have not as yet published extensively. Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by other persons, including publishers, journal editors, and dissertation and thesis directors.
How to Apply
Applications must contain the following items: a letter of intent addressed to the “Mitchell Prize Committee,” three copies (or one electronic copy as a PDF) of the work placed in nomination, a one-page curriculum vitae, and, if required, any documentation regarding the approval of a theses or a dissertation or confirming the date of a publication. Web-based nominations do not require the submission of three copies, but free access to the web-site and instructions regarding its use must be offered, along with a statement regarding plans for maintaining and/or archiving the website. Letters of recommendation are not requested.
Detailed instructions to applicants will be posted in the summer of 2020.
Before the prize is awarded at the BSA’s annual meeting, held in New York in late January, the winner will be contacted in advance and invited to receive the award at the meeting. Questions regarding the award should be addressed to the Mitchell Prize Coordinator:
Dr. Jill Gage
Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing
Newberry Library, Chicago IL