The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History awards five prizes for outstanding work in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history; prize descriptions are below. Calls for prizes are announced in the early summer of each year; submissions are due to prize committee members in the fall. The prizes are awarded each year in early January at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. The Boswell and Nestle Prizes are awarded in January of odd-numbered years for work published or written in the prior two years. The Bérubé, Lorde, and Sprague Prizes are awarded in January of even-numbered years for work produced, published, or written in the prior two years. Each prize comes with an award of $200. The CLGBTH funds the prizes, with the exception of the Bérubé Prize, which is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

The John Boswell Prize for an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English. (Odd-numbered years, covering previous two years.)

The Joan Nestle Prize for an outstanding paper on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by an undergraduate student. (Odd-numbered years, covering previous two years.) The undergraduate paper prize is funded through a special fund established by CLGBTH’s lifetime members.

The Gregory Sprague Prize for an outstanding published or unpublished paper, article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by a graduate student. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.)

The Audre Lorde Prize for an outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.)

The Allan Bérubé Prize for outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.) The Bérubé Prize is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, CA.

The Don Romesburg Prize for outstanding K-12 curriculum in LGBT history. (Odd-numbered years, covering the previous two years.)

Congratulations to all our recent prize winners!

The following prizes were awarded at the American Historical Association Meeting held this past January, 2023 in Philadelphia. All three awards are awarded in odd-numbered years, covering the previous two years.

John Boswell Prize
For an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English:

Winner: Ryan Lee CartwrightPeculiar Places: A Queer Crip History of White Rural Nonconformity

Prize Committee statement:

Peculiar Places is a highly original interdisciplinary historical analysis that examines sexual nonconformity, disability, and poverty as layers of transgression at the margins of rural communities. Ryan Lee Cartwright’s theoretical interventions in tracing the genealogy of the anti-idyll produce an intriguing intersectional study that illustrates what there is to learn when we closely inspect the mundane. Innovative sources—records of eugenics researchers, poverty tourists, documentary film and photography, and horror films, among others—allow Cartwright to trace the blurring and subsequent policing of boundaries in marginal communities throughout the 20th century. This monograph is an inventive model of working at the intersections of historical analysis, queer theory, and disability studies.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Leah DeVun, The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance
  • Anna Lvovsky, Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, and the Struggle over Urban Gay Life Before Stonewall

Don Romesburg Prize
For outstanding K-12 curriculum in LGBT history:

Winner: Olive Garrison, “Queer lives during the Great Depression”

Prize Committee statement:

Olive Garrison’s lessons weave LGBTQ+ experiences into topics and eras often taught in the US history curriculum. In doing so, they not only ask students to consider a more complete and comprehensive picture of the time periods they cover, but they also focus on people’s day-to-day lived experiences in time periods that can seem removed from students’ twenty-first century lives. In particular, Garrison’s lesson, “Ordinary Queers with Extraordinary Stories in the 1930s” prompts students to consider the ways in which the Great Depression affected queer Americans and how the structures and movement of the time period changed people’s lives. Lessons on queer individuals’ experiences in WWII and gender roles during the Gilded Age similarly offer students opportunities to consider history from new, more representative, perspectives.

Joan Nestle Prize
For an outstanding paper on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by an undergraduate student:

Winner: Arjan Walia, “BY AND FOR OURSELVES: Gay Men of Color and the Fight Against HIV/AIDS in San Francisco, 1970-1998.”

Prize Committee statement:

This exceptionally written senior thesis expands on histories of anti-racist organizing to examine the responses of API, Black, Latino, and Native American queer people to HIV/AIDS in San Francisco. The unique challenges faced by queer people of color necessitated imaginative responses to HIV/AIDS, particularly in reshaping safer sex education from an intersectional perspective. Walia reconstructs the contributions of these groups through an impressive array of archival sources bolstered by an extensive list of secondary sources. Walia’s compelling and cogent work illuminates the cooperation and commonalities as well as the myriad ways these groups diverged. This important work challenges us to think more critically about queer of color organizing at the end of the twentieth century.

Prize Committees:

Lorde Committee: Marc Stein*, Patrizia Gentile, and Nic John Ramos
Allan Bérubé Committee:  Sarah Watkins*, Hugh Ryan, and Stefanie Snider
Sprague Committee: Cookie Woolner*, Samuel Clowes Huneke, and Beans Velocci

Lorde/Sprague Committee: Zeb Tortorici*, Elliott Powell, Sarah Watkins
Allan Bérubé Committee: Jennifer Brier*, Rachel Corbman, Eric Gonzaba
Boswell/Nestle Committee: Rachel Hope Cleves*, J.T. Roane, Caroline Radesky
Romesburg Committee: Don Romesburg*, David Duffield, Wendy Rouse

Lorde/Sprague Committee: Emily Skidmore*, Abraham J. Lewis, Linda Velasco
Bérubé Committee: Jennifer Tyburczy*, Joshua Buford, Katherine Ott

2017: Phil Tiemeyer*, Carson Morris, Afsaneh Najmabadi

Lorde/Sprague Committee: James Green*, Chelsea del Rio, Stephen Vider
Bérubé Committee: Amy Sueyoshi*, Mark Bowman, Victor Salvo.

2015: Estelle Freedman*, T.J. Tallie, Mir Yarfitz

Lorde/Sprague Committee: Kevin Mumford*, Emily K. Hobson, Anita Kurimay
Bérubé Committee: Jill Austin*, JD Doyle, Maria-Anna Tesliou

2013: Margot Canaday*, Cookie Woolner, Ben Cowan

Lorde/Sprague Committee: Thomas A. Foster*, Julio Cesar Capo, Claire Potter;
Bérubé Committee: Kevin P. Murphy*, Marcia Gallo, Lauren Jae Gutterman, Joey Plaster

Prize Committees (prior to 2012):

2011: Ellen Herman*, Chris Waters, Stephanie Gilmore
2010: Marc Stein*, Nicholas Syrett, Ellen Zitani
2009: John D’Emilio*, Amy Sueyoshi, Red Vaughan Tremmel
2008: Moshe Sluhovsky*, Christolyn Williams, Phil Tiemeyer
2007: Ramon Gutierrez*, Jennifer Evans, Daniel Rivers
2006: Vicki Eaklor*, Nan Alamilla Boyd, Don Romesburg
2005: John Howard*, Margaret McFadden, Pablo Ben
2004: Margaret Hunt*, Anne Rubenstein, Tim Retzloff
2003: John D’Emilio*, Lori Ginzberg, Robert Frame
2002: Chuck Middleton*, Margot Canaday, David Serlin
2001: Michael Sibalis*, Leisa Meyer, Christopher Capozzola
2000: Ellen Herman*, James Green, Victoria Thompson
1999: Allida Black, Bill Drummond, Terence Kissack
1998: John Fout, John Howard, Nancy Unger
1997: Linda Heidenreich, Leila Rupp, Michael Sherry
1996: Barry Adam, Leisa Meyer, Randolph Trumbach
1995: Vicki Eaklor, James Steakley, Marc Stein
1994: Steven Maynard, Eugene Rice, Leila Rupp

* indicates chair position