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 Literary Directors within nine months of the award, with a view to publication in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.

2020 Winner

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 proxime accessit 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.

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 2020.
  • 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 2020


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