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News of the Organization

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

The OAH recognized by the Indiana Society of Association Executives

The Indiana Association of Association Executives held its annual Star Awards banquet on December 8. The Organization of American Historians received first-place awards in two association categories: the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program was recognized as the best non-dues revenue program, and our new membership newsletter, OAH Outlook, was recognized as the best association newsletter or bulletin.

Posted: December 19, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Mourns the Passing of David Montgomery

The Organization of American Historians notes with sadness the passing of OAH Past President David Montgomery, Farnam Professor of History emeritus at Yale University, on December 2, 2011. Montgomery was 84 years of age.

The following remembrance of David Montgomery appeared in OAH Outlook (February 2012) and was written by Michael Honey, University of Washington, Tacoma. 

Remembering OAH Past President, David Montgomery

David MontgomeryDavid Montgomery died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage on December 2, 2011, one day after his 84th birthday. Remembrances on the Web sites of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA), the Sidney Hillman Foundation, and the OAH provide an inkling of his impact on many lives. The OAH will remember and celebrate David's life and legacy on Friday, April 20, at the 2012 OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

David was the North Star of the history profession—an eminent scholar, an exciting and profound teacher, and a wonderful human being. Through his writing, teaching, and personal behavior, David modeled a meaningful life. There was no better friend and mentor, no more magnanimous scholar, no more humorous observer of life's follies. He was forthright in his opinions but always with a grace note; his infectious laugh gave implicit recognition that no one has a monopoly on truth. His "legendary generosity," as Eileen Boris put it, helped not only legions of his own graduate students but also many others find their footing. His outreach and concern for others made it an honor to be a historian. "I have scarcely met a person of his stature who radiated such kindness, sweetness, and humility," wrote Kitty Krupat. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall remembered him as "a great, great soul" and marked his passing as an "overwhelming loss."

David demonstrated that one could be both a scholar and a committed radical. David's combination of humanism, socialist politics, picket-line action, and equal rights
philosophy won over many of us to the study, and what we came to see as a practice, of labor history. In his early life, he had worked as a farm laborer, army staff sergeant, radio announcer, and a machinist. As a shop-floor activist in labor's left in the 1950s, he organized workers into machinist, electrical, and teamster unions until firings and anticommunist blacklisting forced him out of the trades and into graduate school.

Montgomery received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and taught at the University of Pittsburgh (1963 to 1979), and as Farnam Professor and as professor emeritus at Yale University (1979 to 2011). He helped create the "new labor history" through six pathbreaking books and more than eighty-five book chapters and articles. David edited scores of books (including my first one) and the journal International Labor and Working-Class History, lectured at the University of Warwick and Oxford University in England, and in Europe, Canada, and Latin America. He helped establish labor history as an international field.

David's writings explicate diverse struggles of workers for dignity and a better life, and offer massive documentation and nuanced analysis of primary and secondary sources. They help us see history through the eyes of workers and place their activities at the core, and to better understand the intersections of class and race on the shop floor and in the exercise of state power. David's experiences within labor's left helped him understand class as more than an academic category and class consciousness as an experience of resistance to oppression and to regard the struggle against racism as fundamental to all other struggles. His last book, coedited with Horace Huntley, provides a rich collection of black worker oral testimonies on the freedom movement in Birmingham, Alabama. David's introduction, typically, does not generalize but rather takes us step-by-step through the harsh postslavery imposition of Jim Crow and then into the outpouring black freedom struggle—showing, rather than just theorizing, how it is all connected.

In his writing and in his life, David stressed the importance of unions: "whatever their political outlook, [unions] were for Montgomery places of labor solidarity," wrote Eric Foner. He regularly walked picket lines, spoke at union conventions, and his steadfast solidarity gave heart to many during the tumultuous clerical strike at Yale in 1984. He also spoke at antiwar teach-ins during the Vietnam War era and in the George W. Bush years; fought for academic freedom and for better conditions for adjunct professors through the OAH and the American Association of University Professors; and more. As OAH President, David led us in refusing to abide the racism and antiunionism of a corporate hotel chain at our St. Louis convention, despite the significant monetary cost.

The legacy of David's scholarship and teaching will require a book in itself. To graduate students, wrote Shelton Stromquist, "he was gracious, thoughtful, while at the same time challenging." He helped turn "a backwater of labor economics into an innovative, core subject of study in American history," and salted academia "with a grand cadre of labor historians," wrote David Brody. His work as a teacher has proven as important as his work as a writer. Those who have witnessed him in high gear are not likely to forget it. His animated, humorous, and supercharged lectures drew many students into history and labor studies. At the same time, his judgments remained ecumenical, his insights capacious, his concern for all people—
not just those defined as "workers"—real and steadfast.

David and Martel Wilcher married in 1952, a time when their interracial marriage was illegal in some states. Together, they provided a haven for students and activists, helping us think anew about the past and how to take a stand in the present. In an interview, one of their two sons, Claude, commented, "He felt that studying the way workers and their movements operated in fact led to a greater understanding of what people should be doing today, both in work places and in their lives." 


Michael Honey is Haley Professor of Humanities at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and past president of LAWCHA.

Posted: December 18, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Registration Now Open for the
2012 OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting

Join your colleagues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from April 18 to 21, 2012, for the 104th annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, a joint meeting with the National Council on Public History (NCPH). With more than 150 panels, events, and special sessions on teaching skills, digital history, and the Civil War, the meeting promises to be exciting.

Posted: December 18, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


The OAH Joins in Support of House Resolution 3071

The Organization of American Historians has joined the National Coalition for History in supporting House Resolution 3071, which amends the Presidential Records Act to establish procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of presidential records. The OAH supports the proposed legislation which significantly reduces the possibilities of closing presidential records while keeping them as accessible as possible.

More information is available at: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3071

Posted: November 8, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


2011 OAH Treasurer’s Report

Jay S. Goodgold presents the report of the OAH Treasurer for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

Posted: November 1, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


The OAH Executive Board Issues Statement on Institutional Review Boards

In its letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the executive board of the Organization of American Historians (OAH) unanimously agrees that the work of historians, especially oral historians, should be exempt from the purview of institutional review boards (IRBs).

Posted: October 28, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Tune in to an OAH Podcast

Did you know that the OAH has three podcast series available for downloading anytime? Listen to the September episode of the Journal of American History Podcast on how borderlands history has gone from a “regional sideshow to a main attraction.” The OAH Distinguished Lectures Podcasts feature both audio and video of lectures by leading historians. To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War the OAH’s Civil War at 150 project features a growing list of podcast conversations available for download.

Posted: October 4, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Call for Poster Sessions for 2012 OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting

The poster session is a format for history and public history presentations that use visual evidence. Poster sessions are an alternative medium for presenters eager to share their work through one-on-one discussion and can be especially useful for works in progress They may also be particularly appropriate for presentations where visual or material evidence is a central component of the project. The deadline for applications is November 1.

More information is available at: http://ncph.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012_Call_for_Posters.pdf

Posted: October 3, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


The Nominating Board announces the 2012 OAH Slate of Candidates

The OAH Nominating Board has announced the slate of candidates for the 2012 OAH election. In addition to voting for three candidates for OAH Executive Board, OAH members will vote for candidates to the OAH Nominating Board. The election opens December 1, 2011 and closes February 1, 2012.

Posted: August 10, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Announces New Public History Manager

The Organization of American Historians is pleased to welcome Aidan J. Smith as its Public History Manager. Before arriving at the OAH in August 2009 as assistant editor of the Journal of American History, Smith served as reference librarian at the Southern Historical Collection Manuscripts Department at the Wilson Library housed on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smith will begin September 1, 2011.

Posted: August 5, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Welcome New OAH Distinguished Lecturers

The Organization of American Historians is pleased to welcome forty-seven outstanding historians who have joined the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program for 2011-2012. Visit the Web site for a complete list of this year’s incoming lecturers. If you are looking for a great speaker for your next campus event, workshop, or seminar, the OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program is the best way to identify and contact leading historians who can share their expertise with your audience.

Posted: June 27, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


The Civil War at 150: An OAH Commemorative Project

During the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (2011-2015), the OAH is committed to bringing the best current thinking on this complex era to a wide audience. Our commemoration efforts began in March at the OAH Annual Meeting in Houston and continue with the current issue of the OAH Magazine of History, which focuses on the origins of the Civil War. Read more >

We also invite you to visit our “Civil War at 150” Web site where you can listen to a series of podcasts and explore additional resources as we examine the history of the war from its beginnings through its aftermath. Read more >

Posted: May 10, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Minutes of the 2011 OAH Annual Business Meeting

Read brief reports from the OAH President, OAH Treasurer, OAH Executive Director, OAH Executive Editor, and OAH Nominating Board chair, at the 2011 annual business meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Houston, Texas.

Posted: May 9, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


House Introduces Bill to Eliminate TAH Grants

On May 13, 2011, the House of Representatives introduced legislation to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History (TAH) grants program. The bill (H.R. 1891), the “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act,” would terminate forty-three K-12 federal education programs that the House Republican leadership contends are wasteful, ineffective, and duplicative. The OAH joins the National Coalition for History (NCH) in strongly resisting this legislation. Please check back for information on how to contact your representative to register your opposition. For details of the bill, visit the NCH website.

Posted: May 9, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Jay S. Goodgold Appointed OAH Treasurer

On April 15, 2011 the OAH Executive Board voted unanimously to approve the five-year appointment of Jay S. Goodgold as the next treasurer of the Organization of American Historians.

Posted: April 19, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Reaches out to its Members in Japan

OAH President Alice Kessler-Harris, the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History at Columbia University, and OAH Executive Director Katherine Finley, contacted OAH members in Japan offering assistance after the devastation caused by the recent natural disaster in their country. Read more >

Posted: April 18, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Action items from the Spring 2011 OAH Executive Board Meeting

At its spring 2011 meeting held on March 17 at the Hilton Houston-Americas in Houston, Texas, the OAH Executive Board took action on various items on its agenda.

Posted: April 17, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


Action items from the Fall 2010 OAH Executive Board Meeting

At its fall 2010 meeting at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C., on November 13-14, the OAH Executive Board took the following actions:

Posted: April 16, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


An Open Letter to OAH Members in Wisconsin

In an open letter to Wisconsin members, OAH Past President David Hollinger, the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History at the University of California, Berkeley, shares his thoughts on the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin and its impact on the 2012 OAH/NCPH Annual Meeting in Milwaukee.

Posted: April 14, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization


OAH Executive Board Approves Standards for Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Faculty

At its 2011 annual meeting, the OAH Executive Board approved five standards and best practices for how colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education should employ and utilize nontenured and non-tenure-track history faculty.

Posted: March 31, 2011
Tagged: News of the Organization