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Frederic G. Melcher Book Award

The Frederic G. Melcher Book Award is given annually to a work published in the U.S. during the past calendar year judged to be the most significant contribution to religious liberalism. Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to: racial justice, liberation movements, international peace, and civil liberties. The award was established by Frederic G. Melcher of Montclair, NJ, who had a determination to publish well-designed and beautifully printed books, that conveyed ideas of great value. Melcher was an active Unitarian layman, and served as a member of the Commission on Appraisal of the American Unitarian Association, which published Unitarians Face a New Age in 1936. He was also the founder of Publisher's Weekly, the bible of the book industry. Upon Melcher’s death, his son Daniel established the award in memory of his father.

All submissions must be nominated by either a Melcher judge or by the publisher. Complimentary copies of all submitted books must be sent to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Staff Liaison, Harlan Limpert, at 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108. For more information, please contact Stephanie Carey Maron at administration @ uua.org or (617) 948-4303.

The deadline for submissions for the Melcher Award is December 31st for books published in the previous year. The award is $1,000 and is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association

The panel of judges are listed on the Melcher Book Award Committee website.

Melcher Books Since 1980

  • 2011—Dan McKanan: Prophetic Encounters—Religion and the American Radical Tradition
  • 2010—Cynthia Grant Tucker: No Silent Witness
  • 2009—No award
  • 2008—Gustav Niebuhr: Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America
  • 2007—Kate Braestrup: Here If You Need Me
  • 2006—Debby Applegate: The Most Famous Man in America
  • 2005—Joan Didion: The Year of Magical Thinking
  • 2004—Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
  • 2003—Elaine Pagels: Beyond Belief
  • 2002—Richard Rodriguez: Brown: The Last Discovery of America
  • 2001—James Carroll: Constantine’s Sword
  • 2000—No award
  • 1999—David Halberstam: The Children
  • 1998—Wei Jingsheng: Letters from Prison and Other Writings
  • 1997—Andrew Young: An Easy Burden
  • 1996—Robert D. Richardson Jr.: Emerson: The Mind on Fire
  • 1995—Eva Fogelman: Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust
  • 1994—Diana Eck: Encountering God
  • 1993—Roger Rosenblatt: Life Itself: Abortion in the American Mind
  • 1992—Sissela Bok: Alva Myrdal: A Daughter's Memoir
  • 1991—Tim O'Brien: The Things They Carried
  • 1990—No award
  • 1989—Taylor Branch: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963
  • 1988—Toni Morrison: Beloved
  • 1987—Robert D. Richardson, Jr.: Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind
  • 1986—Edward Harrison: Masks of the Universe
  • 1985—Sherry Turkle: The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit
  • 1984—J. Ronald Engel: Sacred Sands
  • 1983—Jonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth
  • 1982—Anthony P. Dunbar: Against the Grain
  • 1981—John Boswell: Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality
  • 1980—Frank & Fritzie P. Manuel: Utopian Thought in the Western World

For more information contact melcher @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

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