The American Historical Print Collectors Society Announces the winner of the Ewell L. Newman Award for 2023

For more than thirty years, the American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) has recognized significant scholarship in the field of American historical prints with its Ewell L. Newman Book Award. Newman (1905-1992) was among the co-founders of AHPCS in 1975. He served as the inaugural editor of both the AHPCS News Letter and the journal Imprint. The book award was established in 1989. After Newman’s death his widow, Lois Wiggins Newman (1907-2009), herself a founding member, continued as a generous supporter of the Society and the publication awards.

2023 Recipient

photograph of catalogue cover

Imperfect History Catalogue

This year’s award recognizes Imperfect History: Curating the Graphic Arts Collection at Benjamin Franklin’s Public Library.  (Philadelphia, PA: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 2021). 84 pp. Paper. The publication is free, but mailing fees will apply. To request a copy, please contact

Five essays by Sarah Weatherwax, Erika Piola, and Kinaya Hassane explore the development of the graphic arts collection within the Library Company. It begins in 1731 with its founding by Benjamin Franklin. Essays include its role as a national library for Congress when Philadelphia was the seat of government in the United States  [1790 – 1800]. By the 1850s it was the largest public library in America. One hundred years later it became a renowned research library. The authors consider the collection’s development in light of the historical and cultural emphases and biases within this long span of American history.

Imperfect History offers readers a rich understanding of how historical trends in the acquisition and exhibition of the graphic arts mirror attitudes about the role of visual cultural within a single collecting institution as well as American society as a whole. We see how the ever-shifting views on race, gender, urban development, and national identity impacted image-makers, collectors (and their libraries).

New Publication Awards

In May, 2023, the AHPCS Board voted to add two essay awards. Each recognizes shorter works found in journals and edited volumes. This includes exhibition catalogues and digital formats. Essay length is between 3,000 and 10,000 words. Submissions must be in published form as a hard copy or digital attachment. The Society’s present Newman Award Committee will serve as the jury to evaluate these additional submissions. Jurors are all AHPCS members and include collectors, curators, and scholars of American prints.

Coverage can include original research, fresh assessments, and the fluent synthesis of known material. The emphasis is on quality and on making an outstanding contribution to the subject. Publications remain eligible from the year of publication through the following year, a period of approximately two years. Once reviewed by the jury, a work can not be considered in a subsequent cycle except in a substantially revised edition. Submissions are due December 1st   with awards announced each spring.

The purpose of the book and essay awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding scholarship in the field, as defined in our mission statement: prints depicting or reflecting North American history and culture, made either in America or elsewhere. Each annual cycle typically will result in one Book Award in the amount of $2,000 and two Essay Awards in the amount of $750 each. The designation of the best article in the AHPCS journal Imprint is awarded to one of the essays. The Committee reserves the right not to present awards in a particular year. Awards are determined by the quality of available submissions. Occasionally, there may be multiple winners in an individual year.

Submissions & contact information

To submit material to the Jury for consideration, please mail a copy to: Helena E. Wright, 4628 49th Street NW, Washington, DC 20016

For additional information, please contact the Committee chair at:

Publishers and authors, please note: if it is possible to provide multiple copies, it would facilitate distribution of the publications among the Committee and speed their work. Please contact the Committee chair for individual addresses. Thank you.

The AHPCS is a non-profit corporation that encourages the collection, preservation, study, and exhibition of prints depicting or reflecting North American history and culture, made either in America or elsewhere. For further information about the Society, please visit our website at .

For a list of all Newman Book Award winners