The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History awards five prizes for outstanding work in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, 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, transgendered, transsexual, 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, transgendered, transsexual, 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The Gregory Sprague Prize for an outstanding published or unpublished paper, article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, and/or queer history completed in English by a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, transgendered, transsexual, 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. (Even-numbered years, covering the previous two years.)

Click here for information on current calls for submissions for these prizes.

Recent Winners

John Boswell Prize

CO-WINNER: Clare Sears, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press).

Grounded in substantial and dynamic archival work, Arresting Dress historicizes the very production of normativity and marginality within the changing political and social climate of 19th century San Francisco and the broader United States. Sears effectively demonstrates how cross-dressing laws constructed nationhood in terms of race, sexuality, and gender and laid the groundwork for the 20th century policing of gender and sexuality. Using a methodology she terms “trans-ing analysis” to focus on the production of normative and non-normative dress practices, Sears highlights the fluidity of such practices rather than the fixed identities of individuals. This monograph is analytical intersectionality at its best, building on and contributing to studies of race, immigration, citizenship, gender, sexuality, and urban history.

CO-WINNER: Timothy Stewart-Winter, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press).

Especially admirable is Stewart-Winter’s attention to how queer activism in Chicago was always coalitional, involving work across races, genders, and sexual identities. Stewart-Winter deftly examines how the defining moments of queer political ascendancy in Chicago—protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the 1983 electoral victory of Harold Washington as Chicago’s first African American mayor—were collaborative operations built on shared commitments to end police brutality and to overcome political exclusion. Such focus allows Stewart-Winter to rework the somewhat familiar narrative of queer urban history, opening up fresh opportunities for future scholars to examine how the rise of queer political power was a collaborative venture.

Joan Nestle Prize

WINNER: Ben Eshelman, “Trans Rochester Speaks”:

Conducted under the guidance of Professor Tamar Carroll, Eshelman’s website boasts an engaging and insightful collection of oral histories with members of Rochester’s trans community. Eshelman has divided his project to cover various facets of trans life–activism, work, parenting, healthcare, community, and visibility–allowing a rich coverage of how trans identity shapes one’s relationship with the world. The committee is deeply impressed with Eshelman’s exemplary engagement with primary sources (especially oral histories) and his impressive synthesis of these narratives into a cogent and highly accessible rendering of trans life in his community.

Prize committees

2017: Phil Tiemeyer*, Carson Morris, Afsaneh Najmabadi
2016: 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
2014: 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
2012: Sprague and Lorde: Thomas A. Foster*, Julio Cesar Capo, Claire Potter; Bérubé Committee: Kevin P. Murphy*, Marcia Gallo, Lauren Jae Gutterman, Joey Plaster
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

* chair