In 1917 on the 4th of June the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography ‘Julia Ward Howe’. Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work ‘With Americans of Past and Present Days’. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the ‘New York World’.
The Pulitzer Prizes were started because of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer gave money in his will to Columbia University to launch a journalism school and establish the Prize. It allocated $250,000 to the prize and scholarships. He specified “four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education, and four traveling scholarships”. The awards were first given after his death however.