Alexander Prize

The Alexander Prize was endowed in 1897 by L.C. Alexander, Secretary of the Society at its foundation in 1868 and a Life Member from 1870. The original endowment offered “to provide yearly a Gold Medal to be called ‘The Alexander Medal'”. The gold medal was later changed to a silver medal and now the successful candidate is awarded a prize of £250.

The prize is awarded for an essay or article based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or those recently awarded their doctorate, published in a journal or an edited collection of essays.

Winners are invited to submit another paper to the RHS Literary Directors within nine months of the award, with a view to publication in the RHS journal Transactions.

The RHS is delighted to announce that the Alexander Prize for 2016 has been awarded to Mary Cox for her article, ‘Hunger Games: Or how the Allied Blockade in World War I Deprived German Children of Nutrition, and Allied Food Aid Subsequently Saved them’, Economic History Review, 68: 2, (2015), 600-31.

The judges commented:

Mary Cox

This important article examines the fact and the effect of the hunger blockade, examining a large body of data to determine conclusively that children’s growth was directly affected by Allied action.  Paradoxically, this same alliance provided the capacity to alleviate the effects of the blockade, as the article again demonstrates by looking at the changes to children’s bodies.  Cox takes a highly technical method and applies it rigorously, in a way that illuminates a new and significant source base, allowing it to be analysed in a succinct and highly convincing way. Her findings are important in methodological as well as historical terms and the judges were particularly impressed by the way in which a scholar at this stage in her career has made such an authoritative contribution to this important debate.”

The proxime accessit is Tom Johnson for his article ‘Medieval Law and Materiality: Shipwreck, Finders, and Property on the Suffolk Coast, ca. 1380-1410’, American Historical Review, 120: 2 (April 2015), 406-32.

The judges commented:

This article makes an original and imaginative contribution to scholarship by viewing medieval law through the lens of scholarship on materiality. An extensive discussion of various critical theories, drawn from studies across both periods and disciplines, as well as of the legal background, provides a framework for the illuminating case study that follows, namely an analysis of items ‘found’ on the shore registered in court rolls from Suffolk. Clearly structured and written throughout, the article not only reveals much about social structure and dynamics in later medieval coastal communities in England, but compels us to think about objects, agency, and how these are expressed in legal terms. The combination of conceptual sophistication, broad contextualization, grasp of legal history and empirical depth is impressive, and the judges have no hesitation in recommending that the article be selected as proxime accessit.”

How to enter

  • Candidates must be doctoral students in History in a UK institution, or be within two years of having completed a doctorate in History in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries.
  • The article or essay must have been published in a journal or edited collection during the calendar year 2017.
  • Please note that an electronic copy of your article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.
  • For further information on how to enter, please refer to the Guidelines.
  • Once you have read the guidelines, please complete the Entry Form.

Closing date for entries: 31 December 2017

Past Winners of the Alexander Prize

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Melanie Ransom, at: m.ransom@royalhistsoc.org