The Shapiro Center

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 Center offers a biennial $10,000 prize for an outstanding first scholarly monograph in American political, social, intellectual, or cultural history. Nominations for the inaugural prize must be received from publishers by Sept. 1, 2020 to be eligible for the 2021 prize.

Shapiro Center Programs

To advance scholarship and public knowledge in the field, the Shapiro Center sponsors the Shapiro Lecture and Collectors' Forums. The first event hosted by the Shapiro Center will be a lecture on Oct. 17, The Past in the Present: America's Founding and Us, by Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one of the nation's premier authorities on the Founding era. A Collectors' Forum will follow in 2021-2022. The Forums will bring together scholars, collectors, curators, and the interested public to explore the history and social contexts of private and institutional collecting of American documentary heritage.

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.