The 2023 Newberry Library Award Celebration

2023 Newberry Award Burns 224

Ken Burns with Adele Simmons, Newberry Trustee and Award Celebration Chair. Photo by Anne Ryan.

On May 5, 2023, we were delighted to recognize Ken Burns and celebrate his contributions to the humanities and his acclaimed career as an American Storyteller.

Thank you for joining us virtually and for supporting the Newberry. We hope this program sparks your curiosity about the library and our work. We invite you, friends of the Newberry, to explore our extraordinary collection, engaging exhibitions, and diverse programs.

Ken Burns

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; Prohibition; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; The Vietnam War; Country Music; and, most recently, The U.S. and the Holocaust.

Future film projects include The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American Revolution, Emancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations. In September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in November of 2022, Ken was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

If you have questions about the Newberry Library Award Celebration, please contact Jennifer Shulman at