Awards for 2010

Surrency Prize

The Surrency Prize, named in honor of Erwin C. Surrency, a founding member and first president of the Society and for many years the editor of its former publication, the American Journal of Legal History, is awarded annually for the best article published in the Society’s journal, the Law and History Review, in the previous year.

The 2010 Surrency Prize was awarded to Daniel Ernst for “The Politics of Administrative Law: New York’s Anti-Bureaucracy Clause and the O’Brian-Wagner Campaign of 1938,” which appeared in the Law and History Review 27:2. The citation read:

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to the Great Depression– the New Deal– ushered in a new era in American law. As happens when any profound social transformation is put in motion, individuals and groups within American society quickly saw themselves as either potential winners or losers in the emerging new world. Those who considered themselves powerful enough to take actions to support the transformation– or stop it– mobilized. In vivid prose, and with great clarity and intelligence, Daniel R. Ernst’s “The Politics of Administrative Law: New York’s Anti-Bureaucracy Clause and the O’Brian-Wagner Campaign of 1938” describes and analyzes how this process unfolded in the Empire State during the late 1930’s. Ernst identifies “two institutions, the political party and the legal profession” as having played leading roles in shaping the “peculiar way which administrative agencies were incorporated into the American polity.” He complicates the traditional narrative about reactions to the creation of modern administrative law, a narrative that casts the raging battles as a straight forward “clash of interests or ideas”. In Ernst’s able hands we see instead that the “emergence of the administrative state” caused sharp divisions within political parties and the legal profession, cleaving both institutions into factions that were often led into alliances that, on the surface, appear anomalous. Thus, the New Dealer par excellence, Felix Frankfurter, worked assiduously (and successfully) with John Foster Dulles, a vociferous opponent of the New Deal, to defeat the Anti-Bureaucracy Clause, a measure designed the curb the power of administrative agencies. And John Lord O’Brian, who ran against the great New Dealer Robert Wagner, could vigorously support the very powerful Tennessee Valley Authority while railing against the National Labor Relations Board as the prime culprit in the erosion of “due process in the midst of a growing administrative state.” Although O’Brien lost, his critique of the NLRB resonated with voters, suggesting that political actors focused on a relatively technical question of administrative law could involve members of the public in important constitutional matters and that citizens would respond with their votes. Presenting a nuanced definition of “interests” and a thorough description of the “ideas” in play, Ernst helps us to see how these early battles resulted in the “judicialization of administrative procedure” that we know today. Extensively and creatively researched, “The Politics of Administrative Law” tells us much that we need to know about a fascinating moment in American history.”

The selection of the winner of the Surrency Prize for 2011 is under the charge of the Society’s Committee on the Surrency Prize. The members of the Committee are as follows:

Stephen Siegel, Chair, DePaul University <email>
Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University <email>
Lewis Grossman, American University <email>
Kenneth F. Ledford, Case Western Reserve University <email>
Jed Shugerman, Harvard University <email>.


Sutherland Prize

The Sutherland Prize, named in honor of the late Donald W. Sutherland, a distinguished historian of the law of medieval England and a mentor of many students, is awarded annually, on the recommendation of the Sutherland Prize Committee, to the person or persons who wrote the best article on English legal history published in the previous year.

The Sutherland Prize for 2010 was awarded to Emily Kadens for her article, “The Puzzle of Judicial Education: The Case of Chief Justice William de Grey,” which appeared in the Brooklyn Law Review 75:1. The citation read:

“In this article Professor Kadens presents a cogent analysis of how an excellent but little-known judge, William de Grey, equipped himself to perform his office. De Grey was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in January 1771, a position he held for ten years. Having had little experience in Common Pleas during his years in practice, de Grey promptly began to buy reference books. Using de Grey’s accounts, held by the Norfolk Record Office, Professor Kadens reconstructs de Grey’s book purchases and shows how he used his expanding library to shape the first stage of his judicial education. She then explains in careful detail how de Grey creted a two-volume encyclopedic bench book by interleaving pages of his own notes with the pages of the 1772 edition of Francis Buller’s Introduction to the Law Relative to Trials at Nisi Prius. The Norfolk archives have only one volume of de Grey’s bench book, but Professor Kadens constructs a persuasive description of the full two-volume compilation and of de Grey’s extensive annotations. The marginalia, she states, “show that de Grey sought to have at his fingertips the various types of information that would help him decide questions of law, give explanations to juries, and engage with counsel.””

The selection of the winner of the Sutherland Prize for 2011 is under the charge of the Society’s Committee on the Sutherland Prize. The members of the Committee are as follows:

Richard Helmholz, Chair, University of Chicago <email>
John Beattie, University of Toronto <email>
Jonathan Rose, Arizona State University <email>


J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History

The Society’s J. Willard Hurst Memorial Committee is charged with task of appropriately remembering the late J. Willard Hurst, who was for many years the dean of historians of American law. On the Committee’s recommendation, the Society, in conjunction with the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School has sponsored five biennial J. Willard Hurst Summer Institutes in Legal History. The purpose of the Hurst Summer Institute is to advance the approach to legal scholarship fostered by J. Willard Hurst in his teaching, mentoring, and scholarship. The “Hurstian perspective” emphasizes the importance of understanding law in context; it is less concerned with the characteristics of law as developed by formal legal institutions than with the way in which positive law manifests itself as the “law in action.” The Hurst Summer Institute assists young scholars from law, history, and other disciplines in pursuing research in legal history.

The fifth biennial Hurst Institute took place at the University of Wisconsin Law School on June 15 – June 27, 2009.

The next conference is scheduled for Summer 2011. The selected participants will be announced shortly. Elizabeth Hillman, University of California, Hastings, is chair of the selection committee. Other members include Lawrence M. Friedman, Stanford University; Jonathan Lurie, Rutgers University; Reuel Schiller; University of California, Hastings; Mitra Sharafi, University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Karl Shoemaker, University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Research Awards and Fellowships: Cromwell Fellowships

In 2011, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation will make available of a number of fellowship awards intended to support research and writing in American legal history. The number of awards to be made, and their amounts, is at the discretion of the Foundation. In the past four years, the trustees of the Foundation have made three to five awards, in amounts up to $5,000. Preference is given to scholars at the early stages of their careers. The Society’s Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the Foundation.

In 2010, Cromwell fellowships were awarded to:

Nate Holdren, a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Minnesota for a work currently entitled: “‘The Compensation Law Put Us Out of Work’: Workplace Injury Law, Medical Examinations, and Disability in the Early Twentieth Century United States.”

Howard Pashman, a JD/PhD Candidate in History at Northwestern University for a work currently entitled: “Enforcing the Revolution: Law and Politics in New York, 1776-1783.”

Gautham Rao, who has a PhD in History from the University of Chicago (2008) and is an Assistant Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology/Rutgers-Newark for a work currently entitled: “At the Water’s Edge: Politics and Governance in Revolutionary America.”

Karen M. Tani, who has a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (2007) and is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Pennsylvania and a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the New York University School of Law for a work currently entitled: “Welfare Rights Before the Movement: Public Assistance Administration and the Rule of law, 1938-1961.”

The Cromwell Foundation was established in 1930 to promote and encourage scholarship in legal history, particularly in the colonial and early national periods of the United States. The Foundation has supported the publication of legal records as well as historical monographs.

Application Process for 2011

Michael Grossberg of Indiana University <email> is the chair of the Society’s Committee for Research Fellowships and Awards, with members: Constance Backhouse (ex officio) (President) University of Ottawa <email>; Cornelia Dayton (2010), University of Connecticut <email>; Linda Kerber (2009), University of Iowa <email>; William E. Nelson (2010), New York University <email>; Chris Tomlins (2009), University of California, Irvine <email>. There is no application form.

Applicants should submit a three to five page description of a proposed project, a budget, a timeline, and two letters of recommendation from academic referees.

Applications must be submitted electronically, including the letters of reference, and received no later than July 15, 2011. Successful applicants will be notified after the annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place in the second week of November. An announcement of the awards will also be made at the annual meeting of the American Society of Legal History in Atlanta, GA, November 10-13, 2011.

To apply please send all materials to the chair of the Committee: Professor Michael Grossberg <email>


Cromwell Prizes

Cromwell Book Prize

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation awards annually a $5000 book prize for excellence in scholarship in the field of American Legal History by a junior scholar. The prize is designed to recognize and promote new work in the field by graduate students, law students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty not yet tenured. The work may be in any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies, but scholarship in the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. The prize is limited to “first books,” i.e., works by a junior scholar that constitute his or her first major undertaking. Books that are not first books are eligible for the Reid Prize described below. Doctoral dissertations and articles have their own separate competition.

The Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History. The Committee will consider books published in the previous calendar year. The Society will announce the award after the annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place early in November.

In 2010 the Cromwell Book Prize was awarded to Margot Canaday, for The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America , published by the Princeton University Press in 2009. The committee’s citation read as follows:

“Canaday’s book will surely become a standard source for anyone who wants to understand the regulation of sexual orientation during the twentieth century. Her description of the symbiotic relationship between the rise of the bureaucratic state and the growth of the law on sexual status, as revealed through an exhaustive examination of military, immigration, and welfare policy, is compelling, original and illuminating.”

For a brief description of the Foundation, see above Cromwell Fellowships .

Cromwell Dissertation Prize

The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation has generously funded a prize of $2500 for dissertations accepted in the previous calendar year. The Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History. The Society announces the award after the annual meeting of the Cromwell Foundation, which normally takes place early in November.

The Cromwell Dissertation Prize for 2010 was awarded to Anna Leah Fidelis T. Castañeda for “Creating Exceptional Empire: American Liberal Constitutionalism and the Construction of the Constitutional Order of the Philippine Islands, 1898-1935″—a dissertation submitted for the SJD degree at Harvard University in 2009. The Committee’s citation read as follows:

“This dissertation is a groundbreaking study of the foundational period of the modern Philippine state. Drawing on an extraordinary range of American and Philippine sources, Castañeda shows how the introduction of liberal and progressive constitutional institutions to a colonial context – separated powers, expanded administrative discretion, even democratic principles of governance – actually facilitated authoritarian rule, reinforcing local patterns of class domination while also smoothing the path for powerful foreign economic interests to control development. Imagined and executed on a large scale, this study makes an original and extraordinary contribution both to Filipino legal history and to the study of the legal machinery of colonialism and empire more generally.”

For a brief description of the Foundation, see above Cromwell Fellowships.

Cromwell Article Prize

In the past, the Cromwell Dissertation prize has also been open to articles of “comparable scope” as a dissertation. With the decline, however, of the “monster” article that used to grace the pages of law reviews, there are relatively few articles that meet that criterion. The Cromwell Advisory Committee has read a number of articles that have been submitted for the Dissertation/Article prize, some of very high quality indeed, but they did not stand much of a chance of winning when compared to the doctoral dissertations that were also submitted. The Committee brought this to the attention of the Cromwell Foundation, and the Foundation generously agreed to fund a separate prize of $2,500 for articles in the year 2011. The article should have been published in the year 2010, once more in the general field of American legal history (broadly conceived), with some preferance for those in the area of early America or the colonial period. A substantial preference will be given to first articles, written by scholars who are not yet tenured. An Article published in the Law and History Review is eligible for the Surrency Prize and will not be considered for the Cromwell Article Prize.

Nomination Process for 2011

The Reid Award and the Cromwell Book Prize are mutually exclusive. The Reid Award is for a book by a mid-career or senior scholar, and the Cromwell Book Prize is for a “first book” by a junior scholar. If you are uncertain which category fits a book that you wish to nominate, please consult the chairs of the Reid and Cromwell committees.

The chair of this year’s Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee is John D. Gordan, III (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP) 1133 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10128 .

Three prizes will be awarded – one for a book, one for an article, and one for a dissertation. The Committee will accept nominations from authors, dissertation advisors, publishers, or anyone else. Nominations for this year’s prizes should include a resume of the author and be accompanied by a hard copy version of the work (no electronic submissions, please) sent to each member of the relevant subcommittee and to John Gordan, postmarked no later than May 31, 2011:

Professor Daniel R. Ernst (Book Subcommittee)
Georgetown Law Center
600 New Jersey Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Professor Christian McMillen (Book Subcommittee)
Department of History
Randall Hall
PO Box 400180
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Professor Tony Freyer (Book Subcommittee)
University of Alabama School of Law
101 Paul Bryant Drive, East
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0382

Professor Laura Kalman (Book Subcommittee)
Department of History
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410

Professor Carlton Larson (Article Subcommittee)
UC Davis Law School
400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA 95616-5201

Professor Renee Lettow Lerner (Article Subcommittee)
George Washington University Law School
2000 H. St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20052

Professor Robert W. Gordon (Article Subcommittee)
Yale Law School
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520

Professor Mary Sarah Bilder (Article Subcommittee)
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163

Professor Claire Priest (Dissertation Subcommittee)
Yale Law School
127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06520

Professor Risa L. Goluboff (Dissertation Subcommittee)
University of Virginia School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Dr. Maeva Marcus (Dissertation Subcommittee)
Institute for Constitutional History
The New-York Historical society and
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20052

Professor Michael Ross (Dissertation Subcommittee)
Department of History
2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars

Named after the late Kathryn T. Preyer, a distinguished historian of the law of early America known for her generosity to young legal historians, the program of Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars is designed to help legal historians at the beginning of their careers. At the annual meeting of the Society two younger legal historians designated Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will present what would normally be their first papers to the Society. (Whether there is a Kathryn T. Preyer Memorial Panel at the meeting, as there was this year, or whether the Preyer Scholars present their papers as part of other panel depends on the subject-matter of the winning papers and on what is on the rest of the program.) The generosity of Professor Preyer’s friends and family has enabled the Society to offer a small honorarium to the Preyer Scholars and to reimburse, in some measure or entirely, their costs of attending the meeting. The competition for Preyer Scholars is organized by the Society’s Kathryn T. Preyer Memorial Committee.

In 2010, the Preyer Memorial Committee chose two Preyer Scholars:

Katherine Turk (University of Chicago) for her paper “‘Our Militancy is in Our Openness’: The Forgotten History of Gay Employment Activism and the Limits of Title VII” and

Melissa Hayes (Northern Illinois University) for her paper “Sex in the Witness Stand: Intimate Storytelling and Legal Culture in Illinois during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century”
The Preyer Scholars presented their papers at a special panel, chaired by Aviam Soifer (University of Hawaii) with Robert W. Gordon (Yale University) and Sarah Barringer Gordon (University of Pennsylvania) serving as commentators.
Application Process for 2011

The members of the Preyer Memorial Committee for 2011 are:

Christine Desan, Chair, Harvard University <email>
Lyndsay Campbell, University of Calgary <email>
Sally Hadden, Western Michigan University <email>
Christopher W. Schmidt, Chicago-Kent College of Law <email>
Gautham Rao, Rutgers University, Newark, and New Jersey Institute of Technology <email>

Submissions are welcome on any legal, institutional and/or constitutional
aspect of American history and the history of the Atlantic World. Early
career scholars, including those pursuing graduate or law degrees, those
who have completed their terminal degree within the previous year, and those
independent scholars at a comparable state, are eligible to apply. Papers
already submitted to the ASLH Program Committee–whether or not accepted for
an existing panel–and papers never previously submitted are equally

Submissions should include a curriculum vitae of the author, contact
information, and a complete draft of the paper to be presented. The draft
may be longer than could be presented in the time available at the meeting
(twenty minutes) and should contain supporting documentation, but one of the
criteria for selection will be the suitability of the paper for reduction to
a twenty-minute oral presentation. The deadline for submission is June 15,
2011. The Preyer Scholars will be named by August 1.

Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will receive a $250 cash award and reimbursement
of expenses up to $750 for travel, hotels, and meals. Each will present the
paper that s/he submitted to the competition at the Society’s annual meeting
in Atlanta, GA, on November 10-13, 2011.

Please send electronic submissions to the chair of the Preyer Committee,
Christine Desan <email>, with a copy to She
will forward them to the other committee members.


John Phillip Reid Book Award

Named for John Phillip Reid, the prolific legal historian and founding member of the Society, and made possible by the generous contributions of his friends and colleagues, the John Phillip Reid Book Award is an annual award for the best monograph by a mid-career or senior scholar, published in English in any of the fields defined broadly as Anglo-American legal history. The award is given on the recommendation of the Society’s John Philip Reid Prize Committee.

In 2010 the Reid Prize was awarded to Catherine L. Fisk, for Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. The committee’s citation read:

“Catherine Fisk’s Working Knowledge is a book of many different virtues. It takes on a novel question—when, how, and why did corporations come pervasively to own and control the intellectual property created by their employees?—and it brings to bear prodigious primary research, not just in case law but in corporate archives as well. By combining these two types of sources, among others, Fisk delivers a compelling story of doctrinal development—especially in the areas of patent, copyright, and trade secrets—but also grounds that story in a textured history of the internal practices and cultures of DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and other companies known for innovation in the early 20th century. Moreover, Fisk brings together a range of literatures that do not always make contact with each other: the literatures of legal history, of business history, of labor history, and of cultural history, among others. Adroitly deploying all of this research, she delivers a highly readable narrative that exposes the mutability of historical perspectives on identity and creativity. She offers us both a big, satisfying narrative arc and a collection of smaller arguments and speculations. The big story takes us from an early republic in which creativity and intellectual property rights were presumed to lie in the independent man that was idealized by free labor ideology (even when that independent man was an employee for the moment) to a 20th-century America where the ideals of secure corporate employment and consumer satisfaction encouraged identification of employees’ innovations—and thus the copyrights and patents that went with them–with the corporation itself. Fisk’s many subordinate narratives and arguments enrich the story further, leading the reader finally to lament the absence of Catherine Fisk’s name from the book’s copyright notice, where only that of the publisher appears. ”

Nomination Process for 2011

The Reid Award and the Cromwell Book Prize are mutually exclusive. The Reid Award is for a book by a mid-career or senior scholar, and the Cromwell Book Prize is for a first book by a junior scholar. For the 2010 prize, the Reid Award Committee will accept nominations from authors, presses, or anyone else, of any book that bears a copyright date in 2010. Nominations for the Reid Award should be submitted by May 27, 2011, by sending a curriculum vitae of the author and one copy of the book to each member of the committee:

Professor Gerald Leonard
Chair, ASLH Committee on the John Phillip Reid Book Award
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215


Professor Susanna Blumenthal
University of Minnesota Law School
229 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Professor Philip Girard
Schulich School of Law
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia


Catharine MacMillan
Department of Law
Queen Mary College, University of London
Mile End Road
LondonE1 4NS


Professor Reva Siegel
Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520