of Philadelphia

Civil War Museum of Philadelphia 2024 Essay Contest

                              General Rules and Requirements

Essay Subject

The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia (CWMP) invites eligible entrants (See Eligibility below) to submit essays covering any subject (battles, leaders, social history, legislation, military, politics, economics, ancestry, etc.) related to the American Civil War era from Fort Sumter (April 1861) to Appomattox (April 1865).

Word Count Limit

Essays are limited to a total of 1,500 words. Essays with word counts above this limit will be disqualified. Works cited are not included with the word count.


Winner: $1,500.00 (One thousand, five hundred dollars)

Honorable Mention: $500.00 (Five hundred dollars)


High school juniors and seniors as of the Essay Submission Deadline (See below) are eligible.

Font and Page Style

Essays must be submitted in 12-point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins at the top, bottom, and sides. Submitted in PDF format.
Essay Email Subject Line must indicate: CWMP Essay Contest-Applicant First Initial. Applicant Last Name-Essay Name.

Example: CWMP Essay Content – J. Doe – “Philadelphia and the Underground Railroad”

Name on the essay PDF file must match subject line.


Essays must have an introduction, body and conclusion with a clearly stated, well-developed thesis statement supported by historical evidence.

Works Cited

Essays should be free of any margin notes but should cite sources as necessary.

Essay Submission Deadline

Eligible applicants may submit their essays beginning on July 15, 2024 via the dedicated mailbox    

All essays must be received by the Essay Submission Deadline at 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, October 18, 2024

Reading Fee

A $20.00 (Twenty dollars) reading fee is required, per entry. This should be remitted using the Venmo code provided below


The CWMP Board of Governors and invited guests will select a pool of finalists from which an eminent historian will choose the Winner and Honorable Mention. Essays will be evaluated for their historical rigor, the clarity of their style, their use of sources, and their qualities of imagination and investigation. The winner will be determined only after final judging is complete.

 Additional consideration will be accorded to essays that feature historical figures and events with ties to the City of Philadelphia and/or use of primary source material (e.g. letters, artifacts, photographs, newspaper articles).

Essays determined to have used Artificial Intelligence or plagiarism will be disqualified from the contest.

Essay Winner

The CWMP Essay Contest Winner and Honorable Mention will be notified and announced no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, December 20, 2024.

The Essay Winner and Honorable Mention essays will be posted on the CWMP website. 

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