On this day in 1917 the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in Journalism for reporting and editorial writing, and in Letters/Drama for history and biography. Ninety-one years later, there are 21 possible prizes to be given out each year; however, all prizes are awarded at the board’s discretion, which means that prizes may be withheld in a particular category if the board does not feel there is a worthy nominee.
Some notable past Prize winners:
*John F. Kennedy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957 for his book “Profiles in Courage.” He is the only United States President to win a Pulitzer Prize.
*Robert Frost won four prizes for poetry ( in 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943).
*Biographer David McCullough has one twice as has John Updike (ficiton).
*William Faulkner and Booth Tarkington also one two prizes for fiction.
*Eugene O’Neill one four times for drama.
*Thornton Wilder one three prizes, one for a novel and the other two for plays.
***The only prize which brings the winner a gold medal is the public service prize, awarded to a newspaper, not an individual. The other awards bring the winner a certificate and $10,000 in cash.
***And lest you mispronounce it, according to the Pulitzer website, the correct pronunciation of Pulitzer is pull-it-ser, not pyool-it-ser.