Two Women Scholars Win the Bancroft Prize

The Bancroft Prize is one of the nation’s top honors in the field of American history. The prizes are awarded annually by Columbia University for books published in the previous year, and judged by a panel of distinguished historians “in terms of scope, significance, depth of research, and richness of interpretation that they present in the areas of American history and diplomacy.” The prize includes a $10,000 award.

This year, two of the three winners are women faculty members.

Beverly Gage is a professor of 20th-century U.S. history at Yale University. Her courses focus on American politics, government, and social movements. She was honored for her book G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century (Viking Books, 2022), a biography of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

The prize committee stated that with “the first biography of Hoover written in 30 years, Gage has done exhaustive research in recently released materials that earlier biographers could not access and deftly used the Freedom of Information Act as well. The result of this hard sleuthing, as well as of Gage’s formidable interpretive skill, is a Hoover pulled back from the villainous caricature that we thought we knew.”

Professor Gage is a graduate of Yale University, where she majored in American studies. She earned a Ph.D. in history at Columbia University.

Kelly Lytle Hernández holds the Thomas E. Lifka Chair of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was honored for her book Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (W.W. Norton, 2022). The book is an “ambitious and exciting study of the Mexican Revolution as both Mexican and American history focused on the liberal-turned-anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón and the radical men and women that surrounded him,” according to the prize committee.

Dr. Lytle Hernández is also the director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. Currently, Professor Lytle Hernández is the director and principal investigator for Million Dollar Hoods, a university-based, community-driven research project that maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.

Professor Lytle Hernández is s graduate of the University of California, San Diego and earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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