The Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize

The 2019 winner of the Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize is A Fleet Street in Every Town: the Provincial Press in England, 1855-1900 (Open Book Publishers) by Andrew Hobbs (University of Central Lancashire).

The selection committee described the book as “field-defining”, commending the ways in which it “convincingly challenges enduring assumptions that London newspapers acted as the national press in the Victorian period.” They commended its “meticulous research, originality, and significance for future scholars” of the provincial press in Britain, noting that it was also “written with imagination, flair and infectious enthusiasm” which “brings the nineteenth century press to full, vibrant, pulsating life.”


Prize Eligibility and Description

Nominations will be accepted from November 2019 – January 2020 for books published  in 2019. Submit your nomination by using the form that can be found at: https://rs4vp.fluidreview.com

Titles for the year 2020 may be nominated by publishers or the reading public. Authors may not nominate their own book. In addition to being published in 2019, the nominated book should have any aspect of the nineteenth-century periodical press as either its central focus or as a substantial element in its scholarly discussion. Monographs, edited volumes of essays, reference books, bibliographies, and scholarly editions are eligible for consideration, as well as biographies or critical studies of people who edited, financed, contributed to, or illustrated periodicals.

The Colby Book Prize was endowed in 2006 in memory of Robert Colby by his wife, Vineta Colby, distinguished scholars and long-time members of RSVP. In 2011, following Vineta’s death, the Board of Directors of RSVP unanimously voted to re-name the prize to honor both Robert and Vineta Colby for their many fine contributions to the study of Victorian periodicals and their long commitment to RSVP.

The Colby Prize is intended to honor original book-length scholarship about Victorian periodicals and newspapers, of the kind that Robert and Vineta Colby themselves produced during their careers. The annual prize is awarded to a book published during the preceding year that most advances our understanding of the nineteenth-century British press. The winner receives a monetary award of up to $2,000 and is invited to speak at the following year’s RSVP conference.


Previous winners of the prize

  • 2018: Researching the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: Case Studies, co-edited by Alexis Easley, Andrew King, and John Morton. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017)
  • 2017: The Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers co-edited by Andrew King, Alexis Easley and John Morton (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016).
  • 2016: Mary Shannon for Dickens, Reynolds, and Mayhew on Wellington Street: The Print Culture of a Victorian Street, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).
  • 2015: Caroline Bressey,  Empire, Race and the Politics of Anti-Caste (Bloomsbury, 2014), Honorable mention: Martin Hewitt, The Dawn of the Cheap Press in Victorian Britain: The End of the ‘Taxes on Knowledge,’ 1849-1869 (Bloomsbury, 2014).
  • 2014: Fionnuala Dillane, Before George Eliot: Marian Evans and the Periodical Press (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and David Latané, William Maginn and the British Press: A Critical Biography (Ashgate, 2013)
  • 2013: Aileen Fyfe, Steam-Powered Knowledge: William Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860 (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2012) and Robert Patten, Charles Dickens and “Boz”: The Birth of the Industrial Age Author (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
  • 2012: Joel Wiener, The Americanization of the British Press, 1830s-1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011).
  • 2011: Patrick Leary, The Punch Brotherhood: Table Talk and Print Culture in Mid-Victorian London (London: British Library, 2010).
  • 2010: Mark Schoenfield, British Periodicals and Romantic Identity (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2008) and Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor (eds) The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism (Gent and London: Academia and the British Library, 2009).
  • 2009: Catherine Waters, Commodity Culture in Dickens’s Household Words: The Social Life of Goods (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).
  • 2008: Kathryn Ledbetter, Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals: Commodities in Context (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
  • 2007: David Finkelstein, Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805-1930 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005).
  • 2006: Linda Hughes, Graham R.: Rosamund Mariott Watson, Woman of Letters (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2005).
  • 2006: Peter Morton, The Busiest Man in London: Grant Allen and the Writing Trade, 1875-1900 (0New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).