Langum Prizes

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The David J. Langum Sr. Prizes are American literary awards for historical fiction, biography and legal history. They have been awarded annually since 2001 by the Langum Charitable Trust.

The Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction (or David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction) is awarded for historical fiction and given since 2003.[1] The prize is for $1,000 and is awarded annually at Wheeler Theater, Port Townsend, Washington, in conjunction with Centrum Foundation’s annual Writers Conference.[1] The trust asks publishers to submit titles over the course of the year.[1] Titles submitted are pre-selected by the trust based on what the trust believes would be appropriate for the prize.[1]

The David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History or Biography (or Langum Prize for Legal History or Biography) is awarded for legal history or biography and given since 2001.[2] The prize is for $1,000 and is awarded annually at the Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, Alabama.[2] The ceremony is sponsored by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library and the Birmingham Public Library.[2]


Past winners and honorees of the David J. Langum Sr. Prizes.

  • 2016 (Historical Fiction Prize): Michele Moore, The Cigar Factory
    • (Historical Fiction Finalist): Chad Dundas, Champion of the World
  • 2016 (Legal History/Biography): Risa Goluboff, Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s
    • (Legal History/Biography Finalist): Edward B. Foley, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States
    • (Legal History/Biography Finalist): Charles F. Hobson, The Great Yazoo Lands Sale: The Case of Fletcher v. Peck

  • 2015 (Historical Fiction Prize): Faith Sullivan, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse
  • 2015 (Legal History/Biography): Leonard L. Richards, Who Freed the Slaves? The Fight over the Thirteenth Amendment
    • (Legal History/Biography Honorable Mention): Nancy Woloch, A Class by Herself: Protective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s

  • 2014 (Historical Fiction Prize): Kimberly Elkins, What is Visible
  • 2014 (Legal History/Biography): Nathaniel Grow, Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption
    • (Legal History/Biography Honorable Mention): Lori Sturdevant, Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women's Movement

  • 2013 (Historical Fiction Prize): Gary Schanbacher, Crossing Purgatory
  • 2013 (Legal History/Biography): Whitney Strub, Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression
    • (Legal History/Biography Honorable Mention): Alexander Wohl, Father, Son, and Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark and Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy

  • 2012 (Historical Fiction Prize): Ron Rash, The Cove
    • (Historical Fiction Honorable Mention): Steve Wiegenstein, Slant of Light: A Novel of Utopian Dreams and Civil War
  • 2012 (Legal History/Biography): Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama: A Story of Poor Custodians
    • (Legal History/Biography Honorable Mention): R. Kent Newmyer, The Treason Trial of Aaron Burr: Law, Politics, and the Character Wars of the New Nation

  • 2008 (Historical Fiction Prize): Kathleen Kent, The Heretic’s Daughter (Little, Brown)
    • (Historical Fiction Honorable Mention): Elisabeth Payne Rosen, Hallam’s War (Unbridled Books)
    • (Historical Fiction Director’s Mention): Jack Fuller, Abbeville (Unbridled Books)
  • 2008 (Legal History): Ernest Freeberg, Democracy’s Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent (Harvard University Press)
    • (Legal History Honorable Mention): Peter Charles Hoffer, The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr (University Press of Kansas)

  • 2007 (Historical Fiction Prize): Kurt Andersen, Heyday (Random House) [4]
  • 2007 (Legal History): Bruce J. Dierenfield, The Battle over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America (University Press of Kansas)

  • 2005 (Historical Fiction Prize): Peter Donahue, Madison House: A Novel (Hawthorne Books) [5]
  • 2005 (Legal History): Richard J. Ellis, To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance (University Press of Kansas)
    • (Legal History Honorable Mention): John W. Johnson, Griswold v. Connecticut: Birth Control and the Constitutional Right of Privacy (Kansas University Press

  • 2004 (Historical Fiction Prize): Linda Busby Parker, Seven Laurels: A Novel (Southeast Missouri State University Press)
    • (Historical Fiction Honorable Mention): Sanora Babb, Whose Names Are Unknown: A Novel (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • 2004 (Legal History): John M. Ferren, Salt of the Earth, Conscience of the Court: The Story of Justice Wiley Rutledge (University of North Carolina Press)

  • 2002 (Historical Fiction Prize): No Award
  • 2002 (Legal History): Stuart Banner, The Death Penalty: An American History (Harvard University Press)
  • 2002 (Legal History): Lawrence M. Friedman, American Law in the 20th Century (Yale University Press)

  • 2001 (Historical Fiction Prize): No Award
  • 2001 (Legal History): Elizabeth Urban Alexander, Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines (Louisiana State University Press)


  1. ^ a b c d David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction, official website
  2. ^ Poets & Writers Magazine. 38.4 (July-August 2010): p83. From Literature Resource Center. Last accessed Oct. 8, 2012.
  3. ^ Van Gelder, L. (2008, April 10). Footnotes. New York Times. p. 2. Last accessed Oct. 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "Indie press book nabs Langum Prize." Publishers Weekly 6 Feb. 2006: 12. Literature Resource Center. Gale Document Number: GALE|A141994144. Accessed: 8 Oct. 2012.
  5. ^ "Honors." (2004, Mar 21). Advocate [Baton Rouge, La]. Last accessed Oct. 8, 2012

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