Waldo Gifford Leland Award

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:

Created in 1959, this prize encourages and rewards writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, or practice.


Monographs or documentary publications in print or digital editions published in English during the previous calendar year are eligible. Periodicals are not eligible.

Submission Requirements:

A completed nomination form and THREE copies of the publication.

Sponsor and Funding:

The Society of American Archivists Foundation, in honor of Waldo Gifford Leland, who authored the landmark Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (1904), was active in the organization of the Conference of Archivists in 1909, played a central role in the establishment of the U.S. National Archives, and served two terms as SAA President during the 1940s.


A certificate and cash prize of $1,000.

First Awarded:


Selection Committee:

The Leland Award Subcommittee of the SAA Awards Committee consists of three members of the Society of American Archivists and one of the co-chairs of the Awards Committee (ex officio). One member of the subcommittee shall be appointed each year by the SAA President-elect for a term of three years. The senior member of the subcommittee in years of service shall serve as its chair.

Application Deadline and Nomination Form:

Preview and/or start the nomination form. All nominations must be submitted by February 28 of each year.  

Waldo Gifford Leland Award Recipients:

2023: James Lowry, Disputed Archival Heritage (Routledge, 2022)

2022: Jason Lustig, A Time to Gather (Oxford University Press, 2021)

2021: Cheryl Oestreicher, Reference and Access for Archives and Manuscripts (Society of American Archivists, 2020) 

2020: Jean-Christophe Cloutier, Shadow Archives: The Lifecycles of African American Literature (Columbia University Press, 2019)  

2019: Trevor Owens, The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018)

2018: Anthony Cocciolo, Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists (Society of American Archivists, 2017) 

2017: Phil Bantin, Building Trustworthy Digital Repositories: Theory and Implementation (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016) 

 2016: Sonja Luehrmann, Religion in Secular Archives: Soviet Atheism and Historical Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2015) 

 2015: Michelle Caswell, Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014)

 2014: Ellen Gruber Garvey, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2013)

 2013:   Astrid M. Eckert, The Struggle for the Files: The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives after the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

 2012:   Francis X. Blouin, Jr., and William G. Rosenberg, Processing the Past: Contesting Authority in History and the Archives (Oxford University Press, 2011)

 2011:   Dr. Laura A. Millar, Archives: Principles and Practices (Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010)

 2010:   Karen D. Paul, Glenn R. Gray, and L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, An American Political Archives Reader (Scarecrow Press, 2009) 

 2009:   Philip C. Bantin, Understanding Data and Information Systems for Recordkeeping (Neal Schuman Publishers, 2008)

 2008:   Deidre Simmons, Keepers of the Record: The History of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007)

2007:   Waverly Lowell and Tawny Ryan Nelb, Architectural Records: Managing Design and Construction Records (Society of American Archivists, 2006)

2006:   Mary Jo Pugh, Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts (Society of American Archivists, 2005)

2005:   Richard J. Cox, No Innocent Deposits: Forming Archives by Rethinking Appraisal (Scarecrow Press, 2004) 

2004:   Gregory S. Hunter, Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual (Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2003)

2003:   Joan Echtenkamp Klein, “Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection" Website 

2002:   Richard J. Cox, Managing Records for Evidence and Information (Quorum Books, 2001)

2001:   Anne R. Kenney and Oya Y. Rieger, Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives (Research Libraries Group, 2000)

2000:   Charles Dollar, Authentic Electronic Records: Strategies for Long-Term Access (Cohasset Associates, 1999); Certificate of Commendation: Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Routledge, 1997). 

1999:   Not awarded

1998:   James. M. O'Toole, The Records of American Business (Society of American Archivists, 1997)

1997:   Anne Kenney and Stephan Chapman, Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives (Cornell University Library, 1996)

1996:   Charles H. Lesser, South Carolina Begins: The Records of a Proprietary Colony, 1663–1721 (South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1995)

1995:   Joan D. Krizack, Documentation Planning for the U.S. Health Care System (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994)

1994:   F. Gerald Ham, Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts (Society of American Archivists, 1993)

1993:   Helen W. Samuels; Varsity Letters: Documenting Modern Colleges and Universities (Society of American Archvists and Scarecrow Press, 1992). Certificate of Commendation: Charles Dollar

1992:   Thomas Wilsted and William M. Nolte, Managing Archival and Manuscript Repositories (Society of American Archivists, 1991)

1991:   Richard J. Cox, American Archival Analysis: The Recent Development of the Archival Profession in the United States (Scarecrow Press, 1990); Marie B. Allen and Michael Miller, The Intergovernmental Records Project Phase 1 Report (1990) 

1990:   Henry P. Beers, French and Spanish Records of Louisiana: A Bibliographic Guide        to Archive and Manuscript Sources (Louisiana State University Press, 1989)

1989: Not awarded

1988:   Nancy E. Gwinn, Preservation Microfilming: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists (American Library Association, 1989)

1987:   Frederick J. Stielow, The Management of Oral History Sound Archives (Greenwood Press, 1986)

1986:   John Barton and Johanna Wellheiser, An Ounce of Prevention (Scarecrow Press, 1985) 

1985:   John Fleckner, Native American Archives: An Introduction (Society of American Archivists, 1984)

1984:   Richard C. Berner, Archival Theory and Practice in the United States: A Historical Analysis (University of Washington Press, 1983)

1983:   James M. O'Toole, Guide to the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston (Scholarly Title, 1981); Lucy F. West, The Papers of M. Carey Thomas in the Bryn Mawr College Archives: Reel Guide and Index to the Microfilm Collection (Research Publications, 1981)

1982:   Edward E. Hill, Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians (National Archives and Records Service, 1981)

1981:   H.G. Jones, Local Government Records (American Association for State and Local History, 1980)

1980:   Harold C. Syrett, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (Columbia University Press, 1979)

1979:   Ronald R. McCoy, The National Archives: America's Ministry of Documents (University of North Carolina Press, 1978) 

1978:   Richard C. Davis, North American Forest History: Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (ABC-Clio Ltd, 1976) 

1977:   Not awarded

1976:   Kenneth W. Duckett, Modern Manuscripts: A Practical Manual for their Management, Care and Use (American Association for State and Local History, 1975)

1975:   Not awarded

1974:   Peter Walne, A Guide to Manuscript Sources for the History of Latin America and the Caribbean in the British Isles (University of London, 1973); David Iredale, Enjoying Archives (David and Charles, 1973) 

1973:   Ernst Posner, Archives in the Ancient World (Harvard University Press, 1972); Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the USSR; Moscow and Leningrad (Princeton University Press, 1972)

1972:   Martin Schmitt, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the University of Oregon Library (University of Oregon, 1971)

1971:   Walter Rundell, Jr., In Pursuit of American History: Research and Training in the United States (University of Oklahoma Press, 1970)

1970:   Edgar B. Nixon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 1969)

1969:   Henry P. Beers, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America (Washington, 1968)

1968:   Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John and Abigail Adams (Harvard University Press, 1967)

1967:   H.G. Jones, For History's Sake: The Preservation and Publication of North Carolina History, 1663–1903 (Chapel Hill, 1966)

1966:   Edward E. Hill, Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (National Archives, 1965)

1965:   Ernst Posner, American State Archives (University of Chicago Press­, 1964)

1964:   Morris L. Radoff and Phebe R. Jacobsen, The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland, published in two parts (Annapolis, 1960, 1963).

1963:   Kenneth W. Munden and Henry P. Beers, Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War (National Archives, 1962)

1962:   Philip M. Hamer, A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States (New Haven, 1961)

1961:   Oliver W. Holmes, "Public Records—Who Knows What They Are?," SAA Presidential Address (1961)


1960:   Julian P. Boyd, "These Precious Monuments of… Our History” Lecture (Princeton University)

1959:   Theodore R. Schellenberg and Manual C. Stampa, Archivos Modernos: Principles y Tecnicas (La Habana : Imprenta del Archivo Nacional, 1958)