The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals is delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize – Caroline Bressey, author of Empire, Race, and the Politics of Anti-Caste (Bloomsbury, 2014). The Colby Prize is awarded to the scholarly book that most advances the understanding of the nineteenth-century British newspaper or periodical press. The selection committee praised Caroline Bressey’s book as innovative and conceptually engaging, citing its challenge to metropolitan-centric modelings of transnational and trans-Atlantic traffic in ideas, people, and publications and its careful contextualization of a pair of periodical case-studies. In engaging prose, the beautifully illustrated book makes original and powerful use of two micro-histories to address a big-picture issue – 19th c. antiracial activism in and beyond Britain and the US. Noting the multiple ways that ideas of geography shape the structure and inform the discourse of the book, the committee singled out its attention not only to periodical communities but also to the social networks supporting these periodical communities.
The committee awarded an “honorable mention” this year to Martin Hewitt, author of The Dawn of the Cheap Press in Victorian Britain: The End of the ‘Taxes on Knowledge,’ 1849-1869. The committee praised Hewett’s wonderfully researched study for its meticulous documentation of “the changes and challenges wrought by the legacy of repeal” of taxes on knowledge in the mid century.