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William L. Mitchell Prize

The Mitchell Prize for research on British serials was endowed to honor William L. Mitchell, former librarian at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, where he was curator of the Richmond P. and Marjorie N. Bond Collection of 18th-Century British Newspapers and Periodicals and of the Edmund Curll Collection. The Prize serves as an encouragement to scholars engaged in bibliographical scholarship on 18th-century periodicals published in English or in any language (including indigenous languages) within the British Isles, its colonies, former colonies, and occupied territories including those in North America, Australia, the Caribbean, South Africa, and modern-day Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. 18th-century periodicals are defined as serial publications produced no earlier than 1688, and no later than the first decade of the 19th century; subject materials must be firmly rooted within the 1700-1800 time period.

Awarded every three years, the prize brings a cash award of $1,000 and a year’s membership in the Society.

The 2021 Mitchell Prize was awarded to Dr. Megan Peiser (Oakland University) for her article in Romantic Textualities, “William Lane and the Minerva Press in the Review Periodical, 1790–1820.” Peiser’s article shows what periodical studies can do: it uses two lamentably understudied genres (the review and the Minerva output) and demonstrates that not only do both reward study, but they do so by illuminating new directions for each other.

The committee also recognized Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture, the 1690s-1820sedited by Jennie Batchelor and Manushag Powell with an honorable mention.

The next Mitchell Prize will be awarded in 2024, and the deadline for submissions is October 2, 2023. Please scroll down for eligibility and submission information.

Submissions & Eligibility

Submissions for the Mitchell Prize may concentrate on any periodicals or newspapers printed during the 18th-century in British colonies, former colonies, and occupied territories, but should involve research into primary sources of historical evidence, such as the analysis of the physical objects, whether for establishing a text or understanding the history of the production, distribution, collecting, or reading of serial publications. For examples of the kind of scholarship falling within the Prize’s survey, please see the descriptions of previous winners.


Eligible scholarship may take the form of a book or article, a Master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation defended and approved, or research results distributed in another manner, such as on a website. Eligible scholarship must have been published or, if a dissertation or thesis, approved during the year of the deadline or the three previous calendar years. If a publication has an incorrect nominal date disqualifying it for submission but an actual date of publication within the prize period, it may be nominated with a letter by the publisher or editor testifying to the actual date of publication. Unpublished dissertations and theses must be accompanied by a letter from their authors’ directors attesting to their having been approved.

All scholars are eligible to apply for the Mitchell Prize without regard to their membership in the Bibliographical Society of America or any other society, and without regard to their citizenship or academic affiliation, degree, or rank. The Prize will be awarded to the author of a particular work of scholarship without regard to the author’s prolonged or repeated contributions to the field. Since the Prize is designed to promote research on the history of the periodical and the periodical press, the Prize Committee encourages applications by young or junior scholars who have not as yet published extensively. Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by other persons, including publishers, journal editors, and dissertation and thesis directors.

How to Apply by October 2, 2023

Please send the following as separate PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) files to Mailed copies of these documents will not be accepted.

  • a letter of intent addressed to the “Mitchell Prize Committee;”
  • a curriculum vitae, and;
  • any documentation regarding the approval of a theses or a dissertation or confirming the date of a publication.

Web-based nominations do not require the submission of print copies, but free access to the web-site and instructions regarding its use must be offered, along with a statement regarding plans for maintaining and/or archiving the website.

If you are submitting a book for consideration, please also secure delivery of four (4) print copies of the nominated work to:
Erin McGuirl
Executive Director, Bibliographical Society of America
67 West Street, Suite 401 #C17
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Letters of recommendation are not requested.

Before the prize is awarded at the BSA’s Annual Meeting, held in New York in late January, the winner will be contacted in advance and invited to receive the award at the meeting. Questions regarding the award should be addressed to the Chair of the Mitchell Prize Jury, Dr. Jill Gage:

Dr. Jill Gage, Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing
Newberry Library, Chicago IL