David Nasaw: Historian to Receive $50,000 Prize and Title of American Historian Laureate

Historians in the News

Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society announced today that David Nasaw would receive the second annual New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize for Andrew Carnegie. The award will be presented at a ceremony during the annual Chairman’s Council Weekend with History on April 27, where Nasaw will also be named American Historian Laureate.

“David Nasaw’s thoroughly researched biography makes Carnegie relevant and compelling to a 21st century audience,” said Dr. Mirrer. Drawing upon new documentation and research, Andrew Carnegie (The Penguin Press) chronicles the rags-to-riches story of the son of an impoverished Scottish weaver who became an American steel baron and the richest man in the world. It also explains how and why this pioneering philanthropist decided to give away his vast fortune.

“David Nasaw’s magisterial biography of Andrew Carnegie isn’t a great story because it’s about a self-made man who died almost 100 years ago. It’s a great story because it’s about a man whose life had extraordinary purpose,” said Roger Hertog, Chairman of the N-YHS Board of Trustees. “At the age of 33, Carnegie decided to radically change course. From that point on, rather than simply amassing more wealth, he would dedicate his life to self-education and philanthropy. He set himself the ultimate goal of donating all his wealth to society, and at the same time he became a devoted advocate of world peace. The example set by this extraordinary life is remarkably relevant to us today.”

“Andrew Carnegie reminds us why David Nasaw has emerged in the last dozen years as one of the finest and most influential historians in the United States. It is meticulously researched, beautifully written and persuasively argued,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, member of the Society's prize committee.

The purpose of the New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize is to encourage the general public to read works on American history. The prize is awarded to a non-fiction book on American history or biography that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to both a general and an academic audience. Andrew Carnegie was selected from a field of more than 100 submissions by a Prize Committee comprised of historians and New-York Historical Society leadership. Last year, the inaugural American History Book Prize was awarded to Doris Kearns Goodwin for Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Nasaw will accept the $50,000 award on April 27 at the Society's annual Weekend With History, where he is a presenter. The Weekend with History features a two-day program of informal conversations and presentations by some of America's leading historians as well as Cokie Roberts, Lesley Stahl and Robert A.M. Stern.

The Chairman's Council, chaired by Pam Schafler, is comprised of the Society’s most committed supporters. Council members are invited to join by N-YHS Board and senior staff and by members of the Council. Annual dues are $5,000 (member), $10,000 (vice-chair), and $25,000 (co-chair).

For more information on the Weekend with History or the Chairman’s Council, please call 212-485-9279 or email alohse@nyhistory.org.

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