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Stay up to date with news of the Organization of American Historians through our “News of the Organization” section.

The National Coalition for History Provides Comment on Proposed Legislation Creating Women's History Museum

On May 7, 2014 the US House of Representatives voted in favor of House Resolution 863 to create a "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum." The resolution, introduced by representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), passed in the House by a vote of 383-33. The Senate is now considering the companion bill, S. 398, sponsored by Susan Collins (R-ME), to create a commission to study the creation of a proposed women's history museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The legislation is under the jurisdiction of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which has not yet scheduled a markup of the bill.

The National Coalition for History (NCH) and its member organizations, which includes the Organization of American Historians, is concerned that the proposed eight-member bipartisan commission does not include any professional historians, and through its partnership with the  the OAH supports the amendments, outlined in the letter below, to strengthen the proposed legislation.

The NCH is also concerned that the legislation calls for considering a role for the National Women's History Museum (NWHM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in raising funds for the construction of the museum. Naming a specific nonprofit organization in the authorizing legislation inappropriately implies endorsement of the NWHM. (The NWHM has been mired in recent controversies, from the quality of its scholarship, to its ability to raise the needed funds.) In fact, the NWHM to date has only raised $14 million of the estimated $400 million it would cost to design and build the museum.

Finally the NCH suggests amending the proposed legislation to include a public comment component. 

The National Coalition for History has sent the following letter to Senator Collins and to the cosponsors of S. 398.



National Coalition for History 
400 A Street SE
Washington DC 20003
tel. 202 544-2422 ext. 116
http://www.historycoalition.org

May 16, 2014

The Honorable Susan Collins
United States Senate
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Collins:

The National Coalition for History (NCH) would like to comment on S. 398, the "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum Act of 2013." NCH is a consortium of over 50 organizations that advocates on federal legislative and regulatory issues. The coalition is made up of a diverse number of groups representing historians, archivists, researchers, teachers, students, documentary editors, preservationists, political scientists, museum professionals and other stakeholders.

NCH strongly supports the bill's intent of creating a commission to study the issue, as well as the ultimate goal of building a National Women's History Museum. Nevertheless, we have concerns with the bill in its current form, and would like to offer some constructive amendments to strengthen the legislation.

NCH is very concerned that the bill, as written, does not stipulate that any professional historians be appointed to the eight-member bipartisan commission. Any project to create a new national history museum should involve professional historians with expertise in women's history from the outset. Interpreting the past is vital to democratic debate and civic life, and scholars experienced in investigating and interpreting the past should be part of that process.

NCH is also concerned with Section 4(b)(2)(A) of the bill, which calls for considering a role for the National Women's History Museum (501)(c)(3) (NWHM) organization in raising funds for the construction of the Museum. It is unusual for the authorizing legislation for a museum commission to include the name of a specific non-profit in the section dealing with developing the fundraising plan. This was not the case with laws authorizing other new museums on the National Mall, including the National Museum of the American Latino, on which S. 398 is based. To include the NWHM in the language of the bill may be misinterpreted to suggest an endorsement that we feel is inappropriate. The NWHM has been mired in controversies regarding many aspects of its activities, from the quality of its scholarship to its ability to raise funds.  While we recognize the hard work the organization has done to bring the project this far, NCH recommends a fresh start if this important endeavor is to proceed towards a successful outcome.

Finally, we are concerned that there is no clear provision in the legislation to require the commission to seek, or provide the opportunity for, public comment. While seeking public input may be implied, it is too important to leave to chance. The commission's report can only be enhanced by involvement from the broad spectrum of citizens with an interest in the Museum.

To summarize, the National Coalition for History recommends three amendments which we feel will improve the bill:

  1. Section 3(c)(1)(B) describing the qualifications of commission members should be amended to include the language, "professional historians with expertise in women's history."
  2. Section 4 (b)(2)(A) of the bill, which calls for considering a role for the National Women's History Museum organization regarding fundraising, should be deleted.
  3. Include a mandate that the commission seek public input as part of its deliberations.

We appreciate the opportunity to provide these comments. The National Coalition for History and our member organizations stand ready to assist the commission to ensure that we achieve the ultimate goal of creating a world-class National Women's History Museum.

If you have any questions, please contact Lee White, the Executive Director of the NCH at 202-544-2422, x-116 or lwhite@historycoalition.org.

Sincerely,

John Dichtl, NCH Policy Board President
Lee White, NCH Executive Director


Posted: May 20, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


Nominating Board announces 2015 OAH Slate of Candidates

The OAH Nominating Board has announced the slate of candidates for the 2015 OAH election. In addition to voting for three candidates for executive board, OAH members will vote for candidates to the nominating board as well. (One in each pair will be elected for a total of three on both boards.) Balloting begins in December. Officers: President Jon Butler, professor emeritus, Yale University; Nancy F. Cott, Harvard University, President Elect; and Edward Ayers, University of Richmond, Vice President. View the full slate >

Posted: May 12, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


Felix Armfield

We wish to thank our colleagues at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History  (ASALH) for allowing us to share this remembrance of Professor Felix Armfield, professor of history at Buffalo State, The State University of New York. Armfield was a longtime member of the Organization of American Historians, joining in 1996, and he served on the OAH Committee on Public History from 2001-2005.

May 6, 2014

Felix ArmfieldIt with great sadness that the ASALH family announces the loss of our former Executive Council member, Dr. Felix Armfield. Felix was an active and dedicated life member of ASALH and had been a member of the association for over thirty years.

A dedicated teacher-scholar, Dr. Armfield has been recognized for his teaching and service at Western Illinois University and Buffalo State College. Most recently, he was awarded the Hero Award from the Disability Services Office, The Students' Award for the Promotion of Respect for Diversity and Individual Differences, and the William Wells Brown Award from the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier.

Dr. Armfield was an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He was very passionate and dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the fraternity. His most recent publication, Eugene Kinckle Jones: The National Urban League and Black Social Work, 1910-1940, honors the legacy of this important Black leader of the early twentieth century, but it also honors the legacy of one of the jewels of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Felix Armfield is survived by his father, Jasper Armfield, Jr. (Shirley), Belvoir, NC; his grandmother, Mrs. Christine Armfield, Greenville, NC; his sisters, Kimberly Armfield, Upper Marlboro, MD and Sandy McKenny, Fredricksburg, VA; one brother, Jeffrey Armfield (Venetia), New Haven, CT; his loving godmother, Shirley Hunter, Greenville,NC; and a family of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and loving friends, including Quince Brinkley, Jacqueline McLeod, Bonita Durand, Ron Stewart, Diane "Cookie" Williams, and Bettye Gardner.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The viewing/wake will be held at noon and the funeral will follow at 1 p.m. EST at Holly Hill Free Will Baptist Church, 755 Porter Road, Greenville, NC 27834 where Bishop James E. Tripp, Jr. presides. The burial will be at Burial Dancy Memorial Cemetery.

Expressions of sympathy can be sent to his grandmother, Ms. Christine Armfield, 563 Lake Road, #104, Greenville, NC 27834.

Felix possessed an unwavering commitment to his alma mater, 'dear ole NCCU', and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Therefore, instead of flowers the family requests that you send donations to the Felix Armfield ASALH-NCCU Fund that will support NCCU students' continuous participation in the ASALH. You may send your donations to: The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2225 Georgia Avenue, Suite 331, Washington, DC 20059. E-mail: info@asalh.net

Sylvia Y. Cyrus, Executive Director
Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Posted: May 8, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, In Memoriam


OAH Executive Board Endorses Revisions to Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment Standards

At its 2011 spring meeting on March 17-20, the OAH Executive Board endorsed standards and "best practices" developed by the OAH Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Employment (CPACE) prescribing how colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education should employ and utilize non-tenured and non-tenure-track history faculty.

At its spring meeting in 2014, the OAH Executive Board endorsed the CPACE's revisions to the standards which are designed to more clearly distinguish teaching from nonteaching contingent historians, andindicate "best practices" that apply specifically to nonteaching contingent historians. Read more >

Posted: May 7, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


Actions of the OAH Executive Board, Spring 2014

At its spring 2014 meeting held at the Hilton Atlanta on April 10, the OAH Executive Board took actions on its agenda including approving minutes from its fall 2013 meeting, endorsing the new membership magazine, The American Historian, approving the new publishing agreement with Oxford University Press, approving the organization's fiscal year 2015 budget, and more. Read the full list of action items > 

Posted: April 28, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


Jacoby, Engerman, Kelley, and Lepore are 2014 Guggenheim Fellows

Congratulations to OAH members receiving 2014 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation! Among the 178 scholars in this year's class of fellows are Karl Jacoby, Columbia University; David Engerman, Brandies University; Robin D. Kelley, UCLA; and Jill Lepore, Harvard University. Read more >

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Posted: April 22, 2014
Tagged: Clio's Kudos, News of the Organization


Hirota Honored by the Society for History in the Federal Government

Please join us in congratulating OAH member Hidetaka Hirota for receiving the 2014 James Madison Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government for his article, "The Moment of Transition: State Officials, the Federal Government, and the Formation of American Immigration Policy." Read more >

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Posted: April 21, 2014
Tagged: Clio's Kudos, News of the Organization


Alan Taylor Awarded Second Pulitzer Prize

Alan TaylorOAH Executive Board Member and University of Virginia Professor Alan Taylor has won his second Pulitzer Prize for his book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 (W.W. Norton & Company). Taylor recently joined the faculty of University of Virginia after two decades of teaching at the University of California, Davis. Taylor has been a member of the OAH since 1990. Read more >

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Posted: April 15, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, Clio's Kudos


"U.S. History Textbooks Today and Tomorrow" is Our Editor's Choice Selection for March 2014

Editors ChoiceDebates over what belongs in U.S. history textbooks have long reflected conflicts over whose stories belong at the center of the national narrative. Especially for K–12 textbooks, those conflicts have mirrored concerns about the cultural and political cultivation of young citizens. The Journal of American History recently convened a "virtual" panel of textbook authors, college teachers, and a publisher to discuss the present and future of U.S. history college textbooks. Read the current installment of "Textbooks and Teaching," which is our "Editor's Choice" selection for March 2014.  

Read more >

Posted: March 14, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization, News of the Profession


Open Discourse and Academic Freedom

From the OAH President. In his February 2014 column in OAH Outlook, OAH President Alan M. Kraut stresses the importance of open scholarly discourse when historians debate the issues surrounding important subjects. Read more >

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Posted: February 18, 2014
Tagged: Advocacy, News of the Organization, News of the Profession


2014 OAH Election Results

We are pleased to announce the results of the 2014 OAH Election. Officers: OAH President, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Faculty Director and Chair of the Board, Center of the American West, Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder; OAH President-Elect, Jon Butler, Howard R. Lamar Professor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Religious Studies, Yale University; and Adjunct Research Professor of History, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and OAH Vice President, Nancy F. Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Harvard University, and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. More results >

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Posted: February 7, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


Explore the 2014 OAH Annual Meeting Program

2014 OAH Annual Meeting ProgramThe Organization of American Historians invites you to its 106th annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, April 10-13.

The premier event for students, teachers, and scholars of American history, the meeting will provide attendees with an invaluable educational experience that includes more than 200 sessions that cover the latest scholarship in US history. Browse the meeting program and make your plans to attend today!

Read more >

Posted: February 5, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


Call for Proposals: 2015 OAH Annual Meeting, St. LouisSt Louis

The program committee is now accepting proposals for the 2015 OAH Annual Meeting to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, April 16-19. The theme for the meeting is "taboos" in history.  Proposals will be accepted through January 24View additional information > 

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Posted: January 22, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


Severe Weather Closes OAH Offices

Due to extremely cold winter temperatures in Southern Indiana, the OAH offices will remain closed through Tuesday, January 6. Read more > 

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Posted: January 6, 2014
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Releases 2013 Annual Report

The OAH is pleased to share with you its 2013 OAH Annual Report. The annual report includes reports from the president, executive director, executive editor, and treasurer, as well as updates from major departments and programs within the organization. Read more >

Posted: December 19, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Executive Board Issues Statement on Dissertation Embargoes

At its fall meeting in Atlanta, Georgia November 16-17, 2013, the executive board of the Organization of American Historians discussed the issue of temporary "embargoes" on newly completed PhD dissertations. Subsequent to its meeting, the board issued a statement. Read report >

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Posted: December 17, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Recognized for Innovative Marketing Plan

The  recognized the OAH at its 2013 STAR Awards Ceremony on December 12 for the best "Innovative Membership Marketing Program" for an Indiana association. The award was given for our program to recruit student and younger members into the organization. The program includes the new OAH sponsored membership program, the development of several career tools--including the Career COACH® (Creating Opportunities for Advancing our Community of Historians) Web site--the recent mentorship program, as well as new member benefits.

Posted: December 17, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization


Actions of the OAH Executive Board, Fall 2013

At its fall 2013 meeting held at the Hilton Atlanta on November 16-17, the OAH Executive Board took the following actions. Read report >

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Posted: December 13, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Executive Board Issues Statement on Dissertation Embargoes

At its fall meeting in Atlanta, Georgia November 16-17, 2013, the executive board of the Organization of American Historians discussed the issue of temporary "embargoes" on newly completed PhD dissertations and issued the following statement.

Posted: December 13, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization


Balloting Now Open for the 2014 OAH Election

The online balloting system for the OAH 2014 Election is now open. OAH members have received an e-mail containing voting instructions and a direct link (with an embedded access code) to the system. The election closes on January 31, 2014Read details >

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Posted: December 5, 2013
Tagged: News of the Organization