Peter J. Parish Dissertation Prize

British American Nineteenth Century Historians (BrANCH) and the Peter J. Parish Memorial Fund are pleased to announce their annual student dissertation prize for the best pieces of work on American nineteenth century history.

Call for Entries 2019

The prize will be awarded for the best dissertation (up to 15,000 words) by a currently registered undergraduate (UG) or taught postgraduate student (PGT), or by a person who received his or her undergraduate or taught postgraduate degree in 2019, at a university or equivalent institution in the UK.

The word limits exclude footnotes and bibliography. The work should offer some originality, either in its research or approach or argument, relating to the history of the United States between roughly 1789 and 1917. The value of the prize will normally be £200.

Candidates should email an electronic copy of their dissertation to by the closing date, and must include a letter from an institutional representative, tutor, teacher or supervisor attesting that the candidate is registered for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or received the appropriate degree in 2019 (this may be emailed separately). Candidate’s names should appear only on the covering letter and letter from the institutional representative.

All dissertations will be assessed anonymously by a committee appointed by the BrANCH committee.

The closing date for submissions for the 2019 prize is 06 December 2019. The results will be announced in February 2020.

Please send essays and enquiries to:

Dr. Rebecca Fraser (, Department of American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ.

Past Winners

  • 2018: Guy Levy (QMUL), ‘Inheritance Law and Social Identities in Late-Nineteenth Century Massachusetts.’
  • 2017: Benjamin Wild (Exeter), ‘”Goldbugs” versus “Silverites”: The Transatlantic Battle over the Fabric of the Global Economy, 1892-1898’
  • 2016: Katherine Birkbeck (UCL), ‘Soldiering in the Northern Imagination’.
  • 2015: Katherine Cassels (Southampton), ‘”A deed of the deepest atrocity”: Perceptions of romance homicide in nineteenth-century America’
  • 2014: William Brown (Oxford), ‘Shaking the Visible Hand: The Montana Improvement Company Timber Suits and the Culture of Lobbying, 1882-1917’ and Laura Kendall (Warwick),‘“At Christmas Santa Claus found his way to the Quarters”: A Study into Christmas Gift Giving on the Antebellum Southern Plantation’ (joint winners)
  • 2013: Robin Bates (Newcastle), ‘“The Ideal Home of the South”: The R. E. Lee Camp Soldiers’ Home and the development of Confederate Welfare’
  • 2012: Henrik Mathiesen (Queen Mary), ‘Foreigners in the West: Norwegian-Americans and Belonging, ca. 1830-1860’
  • 2011: Katherine Reed (Manchester), ‘American Civil War Graffiti (1861-1865): Conflict, Identity and Testimony’
  • 2010: Daniel Hale (Reading), ‘”Persons of Greatest Credit”: Executive Clemency in Texas, 1849-1865’
  • 2009: Joshua Matz (Oxford), ‘The Power to Embody Ghosts: Historical Theory, Practice and Pedagogy in the USA 1870-1914’
  • 2008: John Harris (Queens University Belfast), ‘An argument in proof of human depravity: the human story of the Echo Africans’
  • 2007: David Sim (Oxford), ‘The Peace Policy of Ulysses S. Grant’
  • 2006: Peter Dalton (Newcastle) Sylvania Association