Mellor Book Prize

The Suzanne and James Mellor Prize of $50,000 is awarded annually to the author of the best proposal for a scholarly book on an individual woman artist or subject related to the mission of NMWA.

The purpose of the award is to encourage the highest quality scholarship on women artists from any time period or nationality and to enhance the role of the museum in shaping scholarly dialogue on women in the arts.

Prize Winners

2013     Carole Blumenfeld
              Marguerite Gérard

2012    Geneviève Haroche-Bouzinac
             Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, histoire d’un regard (English Translation)

2011    Nelleke Nix and Helga Prignitz-Poda in collaboration with NMWA
            Frida Kahlo Letters at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

2010    Jeffrey Hamburger
             Elizabeth of Lünen: Liturgy, Learning and Performance at Paradies bei Soest, 1300–1425

2009    Melissa Hyde and Mary Sheriff
             Women in French Art: Rococo to Romanticism 1750–1830

2015 Submissions

The deadline for the 2015 Mellor Prize was January 1, 2015. All applicants will receive an update as to their status by April 15, 2015. Questions may be directed to Heather Slania, Director of the Library and Research Center.

Applicants must submit the following materials for review by the Award Selection Committee:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Abstract (2–5 pages)
  • Ten-page prospectus including subject matter, the book’s place in the art historical literature, intended audience, author qualifications and track record for completing writing projects, project timeline, detailed budget, technical specifications, approximate number and type of illustrations, and preliminary chapter outline
  • Two samples of previously published scholarly writing
  • Three letters of recommendation from experts in the field specifically addressing author’s track record of completing projects, scholarship, and expertise in proposed subject area
  • A letter of interest from a publisher, preferably from a peer-review press (optional)


The Mellor Prize shall be awarded annually to the author of the best proposal for a scholarly book written in English on an individual woman artist or subject related to the mission of NMWA.

Mellor Prize funds may be used to fund travel for research, translate materials not available to an English language audience, and other costs related to creating the final manuscript.

The proposed book must be able to stand on its own but could include other media (i.e. CD, DVD, online) as an additional component.


  1. “Scholarly” indicates that the text of the book is nonfiction, contains original research and insight into the subject discussed, and the author holds a Ph.D. or has sufficient professional experience, including history of publications in the field.
  2. “Author” may include co-authors. If two or more authors apply for the proposal, the prize money will be split evenly amongst them. If one author applies and will include chapters written by others, it is up to the author to pay the additional writers.
  3. “In English” means that the committee considers only proposals for books written and published in English. This requirement DOES NOT limit the use of words or phrases in another language where appropriate in context or multi-lingual editions.
  4. “Mission of NMWA” is to bring recognition to the achievements of women artists of all periods and nationalities.
  5. “Subject related to the mission of NMWA” indicates any work that would bring recognition to the achievements of women artists of any period or nationality.


In identifying “the best proposal for a scholarly book written in English on a single woman artist or subject related to the mission of NMWA,” committee members consider the following:

  • Interpretation of the theme or concept
  • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
  • Importance of the original research to art history             

Rights and Responsibilities

The author is responsible for all labor and costs incurred for the completion of the manuscript including image rights and reproductions. The museum will provide editorial support and act as liaison between the author and publisher. Upon delivery of the final manuscript, the museum will work with the publisher to produce the book according to the highest standards. All copyediting, design, and proofing will be carried out jointly between the publisher, the museum, and the author. The museum reserves the right to refrain from awarding the grant in any given year should all submissions fail to meet the criteria for excellence set by the Award Selection Committee.


Upon execution of the contract, the grant may be awarded to the author directly or administered through his or her university or institution of employment. Payments will be made in three installments. The first payment will be made upon execution of the contract, the second upon delivery of the first complete manuscript draft, and the third upon publication of the book.