Wilentz earns Bancroft Prize for 2005 book

Sean Wilentz, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, has been selected to receive a Bancroft Prize for his 2005 book, "The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln."

The award, among the most prestigious in the field of history, carries a $10,000 prize and will be presented in April. It is given annually by the trustees of Columbia University to the authors of books of exceptional merit in the fields of American history, biography and diplomacy.

Other recipients this year are Erskine Clarke's "Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic" and Odd Arne Westad's "The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times."

Wilentz's book, published by W.W. Norton, is a chronicle of political and social changes from the American Revolution to the Civil War. The author, who also is director of Princeton's Program in American Studies, specializes in early national and Jacksonian history. His other books include "Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class. 1788-1850," "The Key of Liberty: The Life and Democratic Writings of William Manning. 'A Laborer.' 1747-1814" (with Michael Merrill) and "The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America" (with Paul E. Johnson).

A Princeton faculty member since 1979, Wilentz also recently has received a Deems Taylor Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and a Grammy Award nomination, both for his liner notes for a 2004 Bob Dylan recording, "Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall -- The Bootleg Series Volume 6."