The Library Company of Philadelphia Biennial First Book Award

We are delighted to open nominations for the 2022 Library Company of Philadelphia Biennial First Book Award, which will recognize an extraordinary contribution to American studies by an author who has published their first book-length study within the last two years that relied upon significant research conducted in the Library Company’s collections.

The award carries a prize of $2,500 and recognition at the Library Company’s 291st Annual Dinner in December 2022.


  • The book must have been published between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022.
  • It must be the author’s first book-length publication.
  • We welcome nominations in any field of study relating to the history and culture of the United States and the Atlantic world from the 17th through the 20th centuries provided that the author made significant use of Library Company holdings.
  • All categories of books (e.g., scholarly monographs, collected letters, new editions of historic texts) are eligible.


Nominations may be submitted by August 31, 2022, by email to Christine Nelson, Fellowships Manager ( Please provide the book’s details (author, title, publisher, year of publication). You may (but are not required to) include a brief statement supporting the nomination. If you are not certain if the book meets the eligibility requirements, feel free to submit a nomination and Library Company staff will verify the publication date and other details. Self-nominations are welcome.

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The Library Company of Philadelphia’s 2022 Biennial First Book Award is made possible with the generous support of Maria and Radclyffe Thompson.

Recipient of the 2020 First Book Award

Lindsay DiCuirci’s Colonial Revivals: The Nineteenth-Century Lives of Early American Books (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) examines the rise of American antiquarianism and historical reprinting in antebellum America. Not merely vehicles for preserving the past, reprinted colonial books testified to the inveterate regional, racial, doctrinal, and political fault lines in the American historical landscape. Lindsay DiCuirci is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she specializes in early American literature and the history of the book.

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2020 Honorable Mention

Nora Doyle’s Maternal Bodies: Redefining Motherhood in Early America (UNC Press, 2018) explores the ways in which ideas about the body were central to defining motherhood, both as a lived experience and as a cultural symbol. Nora Doyle is Assistant Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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Recipient of the 2018 First Book Award

Zara Anishanslin’s Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2016).