The Pulitzer Prize for History, administered by Columbia University, is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished book about the history of the United States. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year. The Pulitzer Prize program has also recognized some historical work with its Biography prize, from 1917, and its General Non-Fiction prize, from 1962.
Finalists have been announced from 1980, ordinarily two others beside the winner.
In its first 97 years to 2013, the History Pulitzer was awarded 95 times. Two prizes were given in 1989; none in 1919, 1984, and 1994. Four people have won two each, Margaret Leech, Bernard Bailyn, Paul Horgan and Alan Taylor.
- 1917: With Americans of Past and Present Days by Jean Jules Jusserand
- 1918: A History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 by James Ford Rhodes
- 1919: no award given
- 1920: The War with Mexico by Justin H. Smith
- 1921: The Victory at Sea by William Sowden Sims and Burton J. Hendrick
- 1922: The Founding of New England by James Truslow Adams
- 1923: The Supreme Court in United States History by Charles Warren
- 1924: The American Revolution: A Constitutional Interpretation by Charles Howard McIlwain
- 1925: History of the American Frontier by Frederic L. Paxson
- 1926: A History of the United States by Edward Channing
- 1927: Pinckney's Treaty by Samuel Flagg Bemis
- 1928: Main Currents in American Thought by Vernon Louis Parrington
- 1929: The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861–1865 by Fred Albert Shannon
- 1930: The War of Independence by Claude H. Van Tyne
- 1931: The Coming of the War, 1914 by Bernadotte E. Schmitt
- 1932: My Experiences in the World War by John J. Pershing
- 1933: The Significance of Sections in American History by Frederick J. Turner
- 1934: The People's Choice by Herbert Agar
- 1935: The Colonial Period of American History by Charles McLean Andrews
- 1936: A Constitutional History of the United States by Andrew C. McLaughlin
- 1937: The Flowering of New England, 1815–1865 by Van Wyck Brooks
- 1938: The Road to Reunion, 1865–1900 by Paul Herman Buck
- 1939: A History of American Magazines by Frank Luther Mott
- 1940: Abraham Lincoln: The War Years by Carl Sandburg
- 1941: The Atlantic Migration, 1607–1860 by Marcus Lee Hansen
- 1942: Reveille in Washington, 1860–1865 by Margaret Leech
- 1943: Paul Revere and the World He Lived In by Esther Forbes
- 1944: The Growth of American Thought by Merle Curti
- 1945: Unfinished Business by Stephen Bonsal
- 1946: The Age of Jackson by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
- 1947: Scientists Against Time by James Phinney Baxter III
- 1948: Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard DeVoto
- 1949: The Disruption of American Democracy by Roy Franklin Nichols
- 1950: Art and Life in America by Oliver W. Larkin
- 1951: The Old Northwest, Pioneer Period 1815–1840 by R. Carlyle Buley
- 1952: The Uprooted by Oscar Handlin
- 1953: The Era of Good Feelings by George Dangerfield
- 1954: A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton
- 1955: Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History by Paul Horgan
- 1956: The Age of Reform by Richard Hofstadter
- 1957: Russia Leaves the War: Soviet-American Relations, 1917–1920 by George F. Kennan
- 1958: Banks and Politics in America by Bray Hammond
- 1959: The Republican Era: 1869–1901 by Leonard D. White and Jean Schneider
- 1960: In the Days of McKinley by Margaret Leech
- 1961: Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference by Herbert Feis
- 1962: The Triumphant Empire: Thunder-Clouds Gather in the West, 1763–1766 by Lawrence H. Gipson
- 1963: Washington, Village and Capital, 1800–1878 by Constance McLaughlin Green
- 1964: Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town by Sumner Chilton Powell
- 1965: The Greenback Era by Irwin Unger
- 1966: The Life of the Mind in America by Perry Miller
- 1967: Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West by William H. Goetzmann
- 1968: The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn
- 1969: Origins of the Fifth Amendment by Leonard W. Levy
- 1970: Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department by Dean Acheson
- 1971: Roosevelt: The Soldier Of Freedom by James MacGregor Burns
- 1972: Neither Black nor White by Carl N. Degler
- 1973: People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization by Michael Kammen
- 1974: The Americans: The Democratic Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin
- 1975: Jefferson and His Time by Dumas Malone
- 1976: Lamy of Santa Fe by Paul Horgan
- 1977: The Impending Crisis, 1848–1861 by David M. Potter (Completed and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher)
- 1978: The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.
- 1979: The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics by Don E. Fehrenbacher
Entries from this point on include the finalists listed after the winner for each year.
- 1980: Been in the Storm So Long by Leon F. Litwack
- 1981: American Education: The National Experience, 1783–1876 by Lawrence A. Cremin
- 1982: Mary Chesnut's Civil War by C. Vann Woodward
- 1983: The Transformation of Virginia, 1740–1790 by Rhys L. Isaac
- 1984: no award given
- 1985: Prophets of Regulation by Thomas K. McCraw
- The Crucible of Race by Joel Williamson
- The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians by Francis Paul Prucha
- 1986: ...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age by Walter A. McDougall
- 1987: Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution by Bernard Bailyn
- 1988: The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846–1876 by Robert V. Bruce
- 1989: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson
- 1989: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954–1963 by Taylor Branch
- 1990: In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines by Stanley Karnow
- 1991: A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
- 1992: The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties by Mark E. Neely, Jr.
- A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs by Theodore Draper
- Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon
- Profits in the Wilderness: Entrepreneurship and the Founding of New England Towns in the Seventeenth Century by John Frederick Martin
- The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 by Richard White
- 1993: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood
- Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills
- The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction by Edward L. Ayers
- 1994: no award given
- 1995: No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Lincoln in American Memory by Merrill D. Peterson
- Stories of Scottsboro by James Goodman
- 1996: William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic by Alan Taylor
- 1997: Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack N. Rakove
- 1998: Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson
- Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America by J. Anthony Lukas
- Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History by Rogers Smith
- 1999: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace
- 2000: Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 by David M. Kennedy
- 2001: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis
- 2002: The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand
- Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and the Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation by J. William Harris
- Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America by Daniel K. Richter
- 2003: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa 1942–1943 by Rick Atkinson
- 2004: A Nation Under Our Feet by Steven Hahn
- 2005: Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer
- 2006: Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky
- 2007: The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff
- 2008: What Hath God Wrought: the Transformation of America, 1815–1848 by Daniel Walker Howe
- 2009: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
- The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s by G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot
- This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
- 2010: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed
- 2011: The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner
- 2012: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
- 2013: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall
- 2014: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor
- 2015: Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn
- 2016: Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T. J. Stiles
- Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War by Brian Matthew Jordan
- Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor by James M. Scott
- The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen
- 2017: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson
- 2018: The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis
- 2019: Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
- 2020: Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel
- 2021: Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain
Five people have won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice.
- Margaret Leech, 1942 for Reveille in Washington, 1860–1865 and 1960 for In the Days of McKinley
- Bernard Bailyn, 1968 for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and 1987 for Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution
- Paul Horgan, 1955 for Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History and 1976 for Lamy of Santa Fe
- Alan Taylor, 1996 for William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic and 2014 for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
- Don E. Fehrenbacher completed The Impending Crisis by David Potter, for which Potter posthumously won the 1977 prize, and won the 1979 prize himself for The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics.
- "1917 Winners". The Pulitzer Prizes (pulitzer.org). Retrieved 2013-12-19.
- "History". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
- "History". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- "The Pulitzer Prizes".
- "History". Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- "2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners". www.pulitzer.org.
- "2019 Pulitzer Prize Winners". www.pulitzer.org.
- "Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)". pulitzer.org. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
- Husna Haq (2014-04-14). "Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch' – a novel that has charmed critics and readers alike – wins the 2014 Pulitzer Prize". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
- Media related to Pulitzer Prize for History winners at Wikimedia Commons