The Shapiro Center

Oct. 27, 2021 - Thoreau’s Walden: Four Contemporary Writers on Its Enduring Relevance
Authors Kristen Case, Gerald Early, Pico Iyer, and Megan Marshall join Karla Nielsen, Curator of Literary Collections at The Huntington, in conversation about Now Comes Good Sailing, a volume of essays edited by Andrew Blauner exploring the ongoing resonance of Thoreau’s groundbreaking work of observation and reflection during his time on Walden Pond. RESERVE


The Shapiro Center was created to advance scholarship, knowledge, and understanding of American history and culture—especially of the early Republic and of the nation's founders and leaders. It also promotes use of The Huntington's premier library collections in this field, which are unique west of the Mississippi.

Established in 2019, thanks to the vision and generosity of L. Dennis and Susan R. Shapiro, the Shapiro Center engages both scholarly and general audiences. Its Los Angeles home offers a special opportunity to explore West Coast and global perspectives on the American project and the genesis and evolution of national institutions.

The Huntington is one of the largest repositories of American historical materials in the nation. Extraordinary American presidential and founders' papers sit within a broad humanities context that includes expansive and diverse holdings in American history, literature, and high and popular culture. Rich library and archival materials are complemented by The Huntington Art Museum's outstanding American art collections.

The Huntington and Shapiro Collections

Along with financial support to endow the Center, the Shapiros are donating their personal collection of some 340 rare documents focused primarily on American presidential administrations from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The Shapiro Collection will complement The Huntington's hundreds of archival collections and over one million single manuscripts, rare books, prints, photographs, and ephemera that document the history of what is now the United States, as well as the Atlantic and Central regions of Canada, from the colonial era onward.

Shapiro Book Prize

The Shapiro Book Prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding first scholarly monograph in American political, social, intellectual, or cultural history. Winners receive a $10,000 cash award and are recognized in a ceremony at The Huntington. The inaugural prize was conferred in January 2021.

Shapiro Center Programs

The Shapiro Center sponsors a variety of programs that bring together scholars, cultural observers, creatives, and the interested public to explore critical issues in American history and culture—especially those that can be explored in the light of documentary evidence.

Shapiro Center Fellowships

To foster scholarship, the Shapiro Center offers short-term research fellowships each year, with preference for proposals that incorporate use of the American Collections and/or the Shapiro Collections. These fellowships will be administered by the Research Division. For more information see fellowships.