Newman Award Winners

The 2023 Newman Book 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 from its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and including its role as a national library for Congress when Philadelphia was the seat of government in the United States between 1790 and 1800. By the 1850s it was the largest public library in America, and a century later it was transformed into 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. The book provides a timely analysis of the ways in which image-makers and collectors (and their libraries) were shaped by ever-shifting views on race, gender, urban development, and national identity.



Winners of the Ewell L. Newman Book Award, 1989-2022

2022 – Georgia Barnhill for Gems of Art on Paper: Illustrated American Fiction and Poetry, 1785-1885 (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021)

2021 – Cape Ann Museum, Laid Down on Paper: Printmaking in America, 1800-1865 (Gloucester, Massachusetts: Cape Ann Museum, 2020)



2020 – Dr. Robert Emlen for Imagining the Shakers: How the Visual Culture of Shaker Life was Pictured in the Popular Illustrated Press of Nineteenth-Century America (Clinton, N.Y.: Richard W. Couper Press, 2019)



2019 – Charlotte Rubinstein (Diann Benti, ed.) for Fanny Palmer: The Life and Works of a Currier & Ives Artist (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2018)


2018 – Lauren B. Hewes, Kayla H. Hopper, Laura Wasowicz for Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920 (Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 2017)

2017 – No Award

2016 – Helena E. Wright for The First Smithsonian Collection. The European Engravings of George Perkins Marsh and the Role of Prints in the U.S. National Museum (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2015)



2015 – Michael Twyman for A History of Chromolithography.  Printed Colour for All (London: British Library, 2013)



2014 – Sue Rainey for Creating a World on Paper: Harry Fenn’s Career in Art (Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)

2013 – Erika Piola, ed. for Philadelphia on Stone:  Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia, 1828-1878 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press and Library Company, 2012)

2012 – Amanda Lett, Patricia Hills, Peter John Brownlee, Randy Palmer for Perfectly American. The Art-Union & Its Artists (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Gilcrease Museum, 2011)

2011 – David G. Wright for Domestic and Wild: Peter Moran’s Images of America (Baltimore, Md.: Creo Press, 2010)

2010 – Nancy Finlay for Picturing Victorian America: Prints by the Kellogg Brothers of Hartford, Connecticut, 1830-1880

2009 – Christopher W. Lane for A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth-Century Printed Views

2008 – John W. Reps for John Caspar Wild: Painter and Printmaker of Nineteenth-Century Urban America

2007 – Jane R. Pomeroy for Alexander Anderson, 1775-1870, Wood Engraver and Illustrator, and Annotated Bibliography

2006 – Jay T. Last for The Color Explosion: Nineteenth-Century American Lithography

2005 – Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation for American Botanical Prints of Two Centuries

2004 – David Tatham for Winslow Homer and the Pictorial Press

2003 – Joseph Goddu for John James Audubon & Robert Havell, Jr.: Artist’s Proofs for THE BIRDS OF AMERICA

2002 – Gary L. Bunker for From Rail-Splitter to Icon: Lincoln’s Image in Illustrated Periodicals, 1860-1865

2001 – Katharine Martinez and Page Talbot for Philadelphia’s Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy

2000 – Mark Neely and Harold Holzer for The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North

1999 – Caroline Mastin Welsh for Adirondack Prints and Printmakers: The Call of the Wild

1998 – Sue Rainey and Roger B. Stein for Shaping the Landscape Image, 1865-1910 : John Douglas Woodward

1997 – Rosemarie L. Tovell for A New Class of Art: The Artist’s Print in Canadian Art, 1877-1920

1996 – Sue Rainey for Creating Picturesque America and Ellen G. Miles for Saint-Memin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in America

1995 – Ron Tyler for Prints of the West

1994 – Ann Shelby Blum for Picturing Nature: American 19th Century Zoologial Illustration

1993 – No award

1992 – Bernard F. Reilly, Jr. for American Political Prints, 1766-1876, and Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. for Popular Images of the Presidency, from Washington to Lincoln

1991 – Martha A. Sandweiss, Rick Stewart, and Ben W. Huseman for Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848

1990 – John Reps for St. Louis Illustrated: 19th Century Engravings and Lithographs of a Mississippi River Metropolis

1989 – E. McSherry Fowble for Two Centuries of Prints in America and Gloria G. Deak for Picturing America, 1497-1889