James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Books on History and Social Sciences

Prize Committee


One copy of the prize submission should be sent to each of the following committee members. To meet the prize deadline, submissions must be postmarked by January 20, 2018. For questions on e-book submissions, please contact the prize committee chair.

  • Dr. E. Moore Quinn (Committee Chair)
    Contact Dr. Quinn at QuinnE@cofc.edu to obtain a mailing address to submit a book for consideration to this committee member. Dr. Quinn can also be contacted for questions about this prize.
  • Dr. Cara Delay
    History Department
    College of Charleston
    66 George Street
    Charleston, SC 29424
  • Dr. Brigittine French
    Department of Anthropology
    Grinnell College
    1118 Park Street
    Grinnell, IA 50112

About this Prize

Born in Astoria, Queens, New York, in 1916, James S. Donnelly, Sr., attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn in the mid-1930s and received his Master’s and doctoral degrees from Fordham University. He completed his doctoral dissertation in 1942 under the guidance of the distinguished medieval historian Jeremiah F. O’Sullivan. This work was published in 1949 by Fordham University Press in its history series under the title of The Decline of the Medieval Cistercian Laybrotherhood.

Donnelly joined the Fordham faculty in 1943 and rose to the rank of associate professor and director of graduate studies in the history department. His impressive administrative talents led to his appointment as dean of Fordham’s School of Education in 1955, a position in which he served with distinction until 1962. In those years the School of Education, located at 302 Broadway in Manhattan, was an institution for undergraduates seeking the credentials necessary to become elementary- and secondary-school teachers. The leadership of such an institution appealed greatly to Donnelly, who was recognized as an outstanding teacher himself and was dedicated to the development of excellent faculty for the Catholic schools of New York City and its suburbs.

A prior interest in Catholic educational publishing blossomed into a new career in 1962, when Donnelly was named chief editor of Catholic publications by the Silver Burdett Company, based in Morristown, New Jersey. Donnelly subsequently became the head of Silver Burdett’s college division and worked with academics in editing and co-authoring textbooks for students at both community colleges and universities. From 1967 to 1972 he continued in publishing, first with Random House and then with McGraw-Hill, where he directed computer-based instruction and edited a series of social-studies books. In 1973 he joined Bell Telephone Laboratories as an editor of scientific reports and retired from Bellcore, a Bell successor company, in 1986. He died in 1989 at the age of 73.

The James S. Donnelly, Sr., Prize, named in honor of this tremendous scholar, editor, and teacher, was first awarded in 1999.