Abraham Lincoln Institute Winning Scholarship

Dissertation Prize Winners

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 five scholars representing each organization serves as the jury.

Annual Dissertation Prize Winners


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.

2008 – 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.