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The George Washington Prize

The George Washington Prize recognizes the year’s best works on the nation’s founding era (1760-1820), especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history.

One of the nation’s largest literary awards, the $50,000 prize is sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Created in 2005, the George Washington Prize was presented that year to Ron Chernow for Alexander Hamilton. Subsequent winners have included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Nathaniel Philbrick.

Each year, a three-member jury chooses prize finalists, seeking work that combines depth of scholarship and expansive inquiry with vivid prose that reveals the complexities of our founding narrative. A selection committee reviews the finalists and chooses a winner. The prize is awarded at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon, and the winner also visits Chestertown to participate in an onstage conversation with the Starr Center’s director.

Past winners and finalists.