The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation offers an annual prize of $5,000 for the best article in American legal history published by an early career scholar.  Articles published in the preceding calendar year in the field of American legal history, broadly conceived, will be considered.  There is a preference for articles in the colonial and early national periods.

A subcommittee of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History (the “ASLH”) reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation.  This subcommittee invites nominations for the article prize.  Authors are invited to nominate themselves or others may nominate works meeting the criteria that they have read and enjoyed.

Application Procedure:

The application procedure is described on the ASLH website, which may be accessed by clicking the following link:

Past Recipients

Year Winner
2023 Emilie Connolly, Fiduciary Colonialism: Annuities and Native Dispossession in the Early United States, The American Historical Review 127 (March 2022): 223 – 253.
2022 Christopher Clements, There isn’t no trouble at all if the state law would keep out,’ Indigenous People and New York’s Carceral State, Journal of American History, 108 (September 2021): 296 – 319.
2021 Gloria McCahon Whiting, Race, Slavery and the Problem of Numbers in Early New England: A View from Probate Court, William and Mary Quarterly, 77, no. 3 (2020): 405-440.
2020 Maureen E. Brady, The Forgotten History of Metes and Bounds, 127 Yale L.J. 872 (2019).
2019 Maggie McKinley, Petitioning and the Making of the Administrative State, 127 Yale L.J. 1538, 1637 (2018).
2018 Noam Maggor, To Coddle and Caress These Great Capitalists: Eastern Money, Frontier Populism, and the Politics of Market-Making in the American West, American Historical Review 122 (2017): 55-84.
2017 Sara Mayeux, What Gideon Did, 116 Colum. L. Rev. 15 (2016).
2016 Daragh Grant, The Treaty of Hartford (1638): Reconsidering Jurisdiction in Southern New England, William and Mary Quarterly 72 (2015): 461-498.
2015 Gregory Ablavsky, The Savage Constitution. 63 Duke L.J. 5 (Feb. 2014).
2014 Nicholas Parillo, Leviathan and Interpretive Revolution: The Administrative State, the Judiciary, and the Rise of Legislative History, 1980-1950, 123 Yale L.J. 266 (2013).
2013 Justin Driver, The Constitutional Conservatism of the Warren Court, 100 Cal. L. Rev. 1101 (2012).
2012 David Freeman Engstrom, The Lost Origins of American Fair Employment Law: Regulatory Choice and the Making of Modern Civil Rights, 1943-1972, 63 Stan. L. Rev. 1071 (2011).
2011 Krishanti Vignarajah, The Political Roots of Judicial Legitimacy: Explaining the Enduring Validity of the Insular Cases, 77 U. Chi. L. Rev. 781 (2010).