To be eligible for the contest, entries had to be:

  • New, published articles or op-eds that analyze history to (a) clarify the medical, political, economic and/or international impact of coronavirus, and (b) identify lessons or clues for policymakers.

    • For example, if the contest had been launched earlier than mid-April, the weekly prize would have gone to A. Wess Mitchell and Charles Ingrao for their article, “Emperor Joseph’s Solution to Coronavirus,” in which they draw lessons for crisis management, epidemiology, and international politics from an analysis of the Habsburg-Ottoman border that they call “one of the most successful quarantine systems ever created." A copy of this article can be found on the Resources tab.
  • Articles must have been published in a reasonably accessible general publication, either print or digital. Winners were selected from new articles published each week.

    • Thus for example, an article published in a regularly published newspaper, or made available through the website of a local television station, was eligible. An article in an investment advisory newsletter to the clients of a financial firm was not eligible, nor was an article appearing only on a university website.


Selection committee members and fellows sponsored by the Applied History Project at Harvard were ineligible. The advisory selection committee reserved the right not to recommend a winner for any given week.