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Barnard Hewitt Award
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Purpose and Sponsors

The Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History is awarded each year to the best book in "theatre history or cognate disciplines” published during the previous calendar year (2020). The award carries a cash value of $2000 plus free conference registration. ASTR handles the selection process for the award, while the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign provides the monetary prize. Illinois initiated the Award many years ago to honor its founding department chair, Barnard Hewitt.


Barnard Hewitt was born in 1906 and loved the theater from childhood. At Cornell University, where he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, he focused his studies on dramatic literature and theater. He taught at the University of Colorado, Montana State University, and Brooklyn College before joining the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1948. There he headed the Theater division of the Department of Speech and quickly set up a doctoral program in Theater. In 27 years, until his retirement in 1975, Professor Hewitt directed 90 or so doctoral dissertations. His seminal work was Theatre U.S.A., for which he collected and evaluated countless descriptions of U.S. theater that had never been studied before. Theatre U.S.A. can be said to have set the course for all future studies of American theater. In addition to his other accomplishments, Professor Hewitt assumed the first editorship of Educational Theatre Journal (now Theatre Journal). ASTR acknowledges the continued generosity of the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, which supports this award in Barnard Hewitt's memory.


Nominations may come from the author of the work to be considered or the book publisher. Eligible books must have been published in 2020. Plays, edited collections, and anthologies are not eligible for this prize.


Authors and/or publishers should send one copy of each book they wish to be considered to each member of the Barnard Hewitt Award Committee. Each committee member’s address will be listed on the confirmation page after submitting a nomination.


The winning book will be judged as innovative in its approach to material, meticulous in its historical scholarship, and original in its conclusions. 

Please direct questions to Committee Chair Satako Shimazaki at shimazaki.satoko[at]


Submissions are due April 20, 2021. Early submission is encouraged.

View previous Barnard Hewitt Award recipients »

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