Alexander Prize

The Alexander 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.

The 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.

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

How to enter the Alexander Prize

  • Candidates must be doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or be within two years of having a submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries.
  • An electronic copy of the publisher’s version the article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.
  • The article or essay must have been published in a journal or edited collection during the calendar year 2020. Advanced access publisher versions are also eligible, but an item cannot be entered more than once in subsequent years
  • An electronic copy of the publisher’s version the article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.

Submit an Entry to the Alexander Prize.

Closing date for entries: 31 December 2020

2020 Winners

Meira Gold was named winner of the 2020 Alexander Prize for an article,  ‘Ancient Egypt and the Geological Antiquity of Man, 1847-1863’, History of Science, 57:2 (2019).

Judges’ citation:
“We felt that Meira’s article told a fascinating story in an engaging manner: one that drew in a number of different fields of enquiry and primary sources to demonstrate of ways in which the study of antiquities and the natural sciences were closely intertwined through the work of key individuals and the analysis of particular places – notably ancient Egypt. The article is both rich in its scholarship and broad in its ambition; importantly, it reached beyond its particular subject to engage with wider debates and about the generation of knowledge and the relationship between Europe and the wider world”.

Ian Stewart was named runner-up of the 2020 Alexander Prize for an article, ‘The mother tongue: historical study of the Celts and their language(s) in eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland’, Past and Present, 243 (2019).

Judges’ citation:
“The article is impressive in its ambition and its multi-linguistic source base, ranging across European scholarship in its analysis. It offers a major revision of the established picture of the historico-cultural significance of the Celts in the second half of the eighteenth century and has relevance beyond the particular points at issue”.

A list of all the past Alexander Prize winners is available here.

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the Administrative Secretary, Imogen Evans, at: