George Louis Beer

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George Louis Beer (1872 – 1920) was a renowned American historian of the "Imperial school".

Born in Staten Island, New York, he achieved success in the tobacco business. He studied at Columbia University and lectured on European History there from 1893 to 1897. After retiring from business, he wrote three books on the British-American colonial period. In 1913 he was the first Loubat Prize recipient for The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660, one of those books. His work The English Speaking Peoples, was published in 1917. He stressed the successful workings of the commercial dimensions of the British Empire and was part of the "Imperial School" which emphasized the economic benefits and efficient administration of the Empire. He was American correspondent of the British Round Table Journal.[1]

Beer served as colonial expert to President Wilson's American Commission of Inquiry during World War I[1] and attended the Paris Peace Conference as a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, for which he was chief of the Colonial Division in 1918-1919. He was also a member of the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, and was appointed director of the Mandatory Section of the League's Secretariat in 1919.

The George Louis Beer Prize[edit]

Beer left a bequest to establish a prize recognizing outstanding historical writing relating to European international history since 1895. American citizens or permanent residents are eligible, for books published in the year preceding the award. The George Louis Beer Prize has been awarded in most years since 1923.[2]


  • British Colonial Policy, 1754-65 (1907)
  • Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578-1660 (1908)
  • The Old Colonial System, 1660-1754 (1912) full text online.
  • African Questions at the Paris Peace Conference (1923)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b George Louis Beer, Louis Herbert Gray (1923). "Editor's Preface". African Questions at the Paris Peace Conference. The Macmillan Company. 
  2. ^ American Historical Association, accessed April 5, 2010