Abraham Lincoln Institute Winning Scholarship


The Abraham Lincoln Institute respects the commitment and talent required for significant research and presentation in dissertations and books. The purpose of the Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize is to recognize and encourage young scholars to conduct research on Abraham Lincoln and his times.

An annual prize of $1,000 is underwritten by the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Abraham Lincoln Association. A panel of scholars representing each organization serves as the jury.

2024 Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize Announcement

The Abraham Lincoln Association (ALA) and the Abraham Lincoln Institute (ALI) invite nominations and submissions for the 2024 Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize, which includes a $1000 honorarium.

Eligible doctoral dissertations must have been completed between 2021 and 2023. Preference will be given to Abraham Lincoln-focused dissertations, but studies that examine Lincoln’s history and political, cultural, and/or social legacy within a larger context (such as emancipation during the Civil War, Reconstruction, Lincoln administration policies involving indigenous peoples), will also be considered. Comparative studies (e.g., leadership studies, biographies) offering more than one chapter of Lincoln-related material will be considered, as well as studies of individuals traditionally associated with Abraham Lincoln. Submissions should offer new evidence or primary source materials, new interpretations, and/or a reevaluation of previously accepted conclusions.

Dissertations written in a language other than English between 2019 and 2023 are eligible, but must be translated and submitted in English.

Selection will be made by a joint ALA/ALI committee. The winner will be notified by January 2024, with the expectation of accepting in person (travel and lodging provided) at either the ALA Banquet in February 2024, in Springfield, IL, or the ALI Symposium in March 2024, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Dissertations must be submitted by email as a PDF to Dr. Dan Monroe and Dr. Michelle Krowl

Submissions must be received by 5:00pm Eastern Time on Saturday, October 7, 2023.


Ian Iverson, “Moderate Men and Conservative Influences: Illinois and the Politics of Union, 1854-1861,” University of Virginia


Scott Ackerman, “‘We are Abolitionizing the West’: The Union Army and the Implementation of Federal Emancipation Policy, 1861-1865,” City University of New York.


No Award Given


Robert O. Faith, “‘This Despotic and Arbitrary Power’: British Diplomacy and Resistance in the Habeas Corpus Controversy of the American Civil War,” University of Akron.


Thomas D. Mackie Jr., “A Shrine for President Lincoln: An Analysis of Lincoln Museums and Historic Sites, 1816-2015,” Western Michigan University.


Zachery A. Fry, “Lincoln’s Divided Legion: Loyalty and Political Culture of the Army of the Potomac 1861-1865,” Ohio State University.


Mark A. Neels, “Lincoln’s Conservatives: Conservative Unionism and Political Tradition in the Civil War Era,” Southern Illinois University.


Thomas J. Kernan, “Sounding ‘The Mystic Chords of Memory’: Musical Memorials for Abraham Lincoln, 1865-2009,” The University of Cincinnati.


Sarah Bischoff Paulus, “Abraham Lincoln’s Northwestern Apporach to the Secession Crisis,” Rice University.


Kimberly N. Kutz, “Lincoln’s Ghosts: The Posthumous Career of an American Icon,” The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Jared Peatman, “The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” Texas A&M University. The dissertation was then published as The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013).


Cynthia Nicoletti, “The Great Question of War: The Legal Status of Secession in the Aftermath of the American Civil War, 1865-1869,” University of Virginia.


John M. Barr, “The Anti-Lincoln Tradition in American Life,” The University of Houston. The dissertation was then published as Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present (Louisiana State University Press, 2014).


Jonathan W. White, “‘To Aid Their Rebel Friends’: Politics and Treason in the Civil War North,” University of Maryland at College Park. The dissertation was then published as Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman (Louisiana State University Press, 2011).


Robert J. Johnson, Jr., “Trial by Fire: Abraham Lincoln and the Law,” CUNY Graduate School and University Center.


No Award Given


Russell McClintock, “Shall it be Peace or a Sword? Northern Political Culture and the Crisis of Secession, 1860-1861,” Clark University. The dissertation was then published as Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession (University of North Carolina Press, 2008).  [VIDEO]


David Work, “Lincoln’s Political Generals,” Texas A & M University. The dissertation was then published as Lincoln’s Political Generals, (University of Illinois Press, 2009).  [VIDEO]


Jennifer Weber, “The Civil War and Northern Society,” Princeton University. The dissertation was then published as Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, (Oxford University Press, 2006).  [VIDEO]


Matthew Parks, “Self-Evident No More: American Political Thought, 1820-1850,” Boston University.


Graham A. Peck, “The Social and Cultural Origins of Sectional Politics: Illinois from Statehood to Civil War,” Northwestern University.


Brian Dirck, “Mystic Chords: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, American Imagined Community, 1808-1860,” University of Kansas. Books: Lincoln and Davis: Imagining America, 1809-1865 (2001), Waging War on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents (On Trial) (2003).


Stewart Winger, “Lincoln’s Religious Rhetoric: American Romanticism and the Antislavery Impulse,” University of Chicago. Book: Lincoln, Religion, and Romantic Cultural Politics (2003).
Deren Kellogg, “The Lincoln Administration and the Southwestern Territories,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.