Samuel W. Thomas book award

Samuel W Thomas


Sam Thomas was a distinguished Louisville historian. Trained as a chemist, he worked for the Courier-Journal for many years. Passionate about Louisville history, Sam authored over 20 local history books, including books on Louisville neighborhoods, such as "Crescent Hill" and "Cherokee Triangle." Sam lost his valiant battle with cancer in October, 2012. 

Book Award Selection Committee


The three jurors for the Sam Thomas Book Award are:

Debbie Thomas, (center) a noted author and Sam's wife

Carol Besse, (right) co-owner of Carmichaels Bookstore

Keith Runyon, (left) former Book Review editor of the Courier-Journal

2019 Book Award

"Louisville Street Railways" by Martin Biemer, George Yater, and James Calvert

"Louisville Street Railways" by Martin Biemer, George Yater, and James Calvert. 

2018 Book Award


"Two Lives & One Passion of Louise Marshall" (founder of the Cabbage Patch Settlement House) by authors Bill Ellison and Linda Raymond

2017 Book Award


"Shelby County Architecture" by John David Myles

2016 Book Award


"Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham" by Emily Bingham

2015 Book Award


 "Louisville Jug Music" by Michael L. Jones 

2014 Book Award


  Two books were awarded this year: 

Tracy K’Meyer for 

“From Brown to Meredith: 

The Long Struggle for School Desegregation 

in Louisville, Kentucky, 1954-2007”

and to

Sarah Garland for 

“Divided We Fail: 

The Story of an African American Community 

That Ended the Era of School Desegregation”

2013 Book Award


"George Keats of Kentucky" by Lawrence Crutcher