The Chester P. Middlesworth Awards

What are the Middlesworth Awards?

The Middlesworth Awards were established to encourage and recognize excellence of analysis, research and writing by Duke University students in the use of primary sources and rare materials held by the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Funding for the awards was provided by Chester P. Middlesworth (A.B., 1949) of Statesville, N.C.

  • There are two awards given annually, one for a Duke undergraduate and one for a Duke graduate student.
  • Each award carries a cash prize of $1,000. 

Is my paper eligible?

  • Your paper must have been written in the past academic year for a course in an academic department or an independent study project for credit at Duke University.
  • Your paper must be based largely or wholly on sources in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
  • Analytical essays, creative essays, research papers and edited, annotated versions of one or more documents with a narrative introduction are all acceptable.
  • There is no minimum or maximum length requirement for papers.

How do I apply?

  • If your paper is eligible, it must also be nominated by the faculty member or instructor for whom you wrote the paper using the nomination form
  • Email one clean copy of your paper (without your name, course, professor, grade or marginal notes) as a PDF or Word Document and the completed faculty nomination form to David Pavelich, Head of Research Services at the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The nominating faculty member may also email the nomination form themselves. 
  • Your paper should be double-spaced and formatted with standard margins.
  • Deadline for submissions is May 15, 2016.

How is a winner chosen?

  • A committee, consisting of the Head of Research Services at the Rubenstein Library, another Rubenstein Library librarian, and a faculty member, judges the papers.
  • Committee members look especially at the degree and effectiveness of the author’s use of sources from the Rubenstein Library.
  • Other criteria include clarity and persuasiveness of the paper’s thesis, excellence of writing style, quality of analysis and interpretation, integration of research findings with broader scholarship, originality and thoroughness of documentation.