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News in American History

News of the Profession

“News of the Profession” includes announcements of special interest to American historians and practitioners at all levels. Please submit your announcement using this form.

National Archives at San Francisco Opens Immigration Files

The National Archives at San Francisco officially opened to the public over 40,000 case files on immigrants to the United States. These immigration files, known as \"Alien Files\" (commonly referred to as \"A-Files\"), were transferred from U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are among the first of millions of case files that will eventually be opened to the public. In 1940 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the predecessor of USCIS, started issuing Alien Registration Numbers to resident aliens in the United States. On April 1, 1944, INS began to assign these numbers to a new series of immigration case files called A-Files. A-Files are a genealogical wealth of information, containing documents such as photographs, personal correspondence, vital records, interview transcripts, and visa applications. A-Files may be viewed in person by appointment or copies may be ordered for a fee. Researchers may contact National Archives staff at AFiles.SanBruno@nara.gov to search A-Files holdings for a particular file. Beginning in June 2012, an online database will be available through the National Archives at San Francisco website.

More information is available at: http://www.archives.gov/pacific/san-francisco/

Posted: June 1, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


A Subway Exhibit on the Japanese Internment

Richard Oba of the Tanforan Assembly Center Memorial Committee convinced the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to mount an exhibit of Dorothea Lange's photos of the Japanese internment in WWII, in a subway station. Approximately forty photographs were displayed during the month of May 2012, in the San Bruno (San Francisco) station, which was built on the spot where a temporary internment camp for imprisoned Japanese Americans was located (known as the Tanforan camp). This is one of the places that Dorothea Lange photographed extensively. Historian and OAH member Linda Gordon, New York University, had published these photographs for the first time in Impounded (W.W. Norton, 2007), and discussed them in her Dorothea Lange biography (W.W. Norton, 2009) and she helped curate the exhibit. Meanwhile, a photojournalist from the Sacramento Bee, Paul Kitagaki Jr., had been using Lange's photographs to locate and photograph camp veterans. Upon discovering Lange's photos, Kitagaki \"wanted to find out the rest of the story: how the internment had changed the lives of people who had lost their homes, businesses and sometimes their families.\" Some of the individuals in Lange's photographs were just children in the camps, which were framed together with Kitagaki's portraits of them as they are today. The photographs were beautifully mounted, framed, and displayed in the airy, sparkling clean BART station. The opening was held on April 28, 2012, on the seventieth anniversary of the first \"shipment\" of prisoners to the camp. An opening reception attracted about 250 people. Each camp veteran was given a red carnation to wear. There were refreshments, including Japanese sweets, and beautiful weather. Congresswoman Jackie Speier spoke, offering a formal apology for the internment. Several camp veterans read poetry.

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Posted: May 30, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


Information Security Oversight Report

On May 29, 2012 the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) released its Report to the President for fiscal year (FY) 2011. The report profiles data on the government-wide security classification program during FY2011. Among its declassification highlights, the report states that under automatic, systematic, and discretionary declassification review, federal agencies reviewed 52,760,524 pages and declassified 26,720,121 pages of historically valuable records. This report is the 32nd Annual Report to the President issued by ISOO. The first Report, covering FY 1979, was transmitted to President Carter in April of 1980.

More information is available at: http://www.archives.gov/isoo/reports

Posted: May 30, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession, Advocacy


Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research

The Society of American Archivists recently published Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research, a free online resource that gives valuable advice to first-time archives users. In this guide, Laura Schmidt (Archivist at The Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College) provides insightful tips on how to locate archives that have appropriate materials specific to users' research; how to effectively use tools such as finding aids, catalogs, and databases; and how to plan a visit to an archives, among other topics.

More information is available at: http://www2.archivists.org/usingarchives

Posted: May 30, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


Foreign Relations of the United States Series Now Available as an E-Book

The Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State has announced the release of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in a new e-book format that is readable on popular electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. The e-book edition combines many of the benefits of print and web publications in a new form that is portable and extremely convenient.

More information is available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/ebooks

Posted: March 23, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


National Park Service Awards State and Tribal Historic Preservation Grants

Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar recently announced $46.9 million in historic preservation grants to the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and three independent Pacific island nations. The Secretary also announced $8.4 million in grants to 131 American Indian tribes to support Tribal Historic Preservation Offices under the National Historic Preservation Act. The $46 million in grants will enable the states to preserve and protect historic sites without expending tax dollars. The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) is supported by revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The National Park Service administers the fund and uses the majority of appropriated funds to distribute matching grants to State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.

More information is available at: http://nps.gov/history/hps/hpg/index.htm

Posted: March 23, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


National History Day Receives National Humanities Medal

On February 10, 2012, President Barack Obama announced winners of the 2011 National Humanities Medal, awarded for outstanding achievements in history, literature, education, philosophy, and musicology. National History Day, an academic program for elementary and secondary school students, was among this year’s recipients. Each year more than half a million students from across the country compete in National History Day, conducting research and producing Web sites, papers, performances, and documentaries to tell the human story.

More information is available at: http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/nationalmedals.html

Posted: February 21, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


JFK Library Releases Final Recordings

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announced that it has declassified and made available the final 45 hours of White House recordings that were secretly taped during President John F. Kennedy’s time in office.

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Posted: January 25, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


Nixon Grand Jury Records Now Online

In May 1975, the Watergate Special Prosecution team found it necessary to question former President Richard M. Nixon in connection with various ongoing investigations at the time. The following month, Nixon was questioned by and his testimony was given to the third Watergate Grand Jury. Through the efforts of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, on behalf of the OAH and others, these records are now online.

Read more >

Posted: January 12, 2012
Tagged: News of the Profession


Secretary of Education Stresses History in “the Age of Accountability”

At the annual meeting of the National Council for Social Studies this month, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the importance of history in elementary and secondary curricula. Duncan asserted that to “boost student achievement, history should not be eliminated but expanded.” We invite you to read a transcript of Secretary Duncan's remarks, “A Well-Rounded Curriculum in the Age of Accountability.”

More information is available at: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/well-rounded-curriculum-age-accountability

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


Release of Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records

President Barack Obama issued a memorandum on November 28, 2011 to the heads of all federal executive departments and agencies on managing government records. This memorandum marks the start of an executive branch-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices. The memorandum requires each agency to report to the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, the name of a senior agency official who will supervise an agency-wide evaluation of its records management programs. These evaluations are to focus on electronic records, including email and social media, as well as those programs that may be deploying or developing cloud-based services.

More information is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/28/presidential-memorandum-managing-government-records

Posted: December 2, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession


National Archives Launches New FOIA Dispute Tracking System

The National Archives Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Ombudsman launched a new online case management system on November 28, 2012 to manage the requests for assistance that FOIA requesters and agencies bring to OGIS. This tool will both streamline OGIS’s work and increase transparency of its operations.

More information is available at: http://ogis.archives.gov/

Posted: December 2, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession


NARA Debuts National History Day Web Site

The National Archives is pleased to announce a special Web site highlighting activities and documents related to the 2012 National History Day (NHD) theme, “Revolution, Reaction, and Reform in History.” Visit http://www.DocsTeach.org/home/national-history-day for sample documents, suggested topics, and special activities available for the 2012 NHD competition. For more on National History Day, visit: http://www.nhd.org/.

Read more >

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


Educational Testing Service Seeks AP Readers

The Educational Testing Service seeks teaching professionals to serve as readers for its annual Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in world history, U.S. history, government and politics. The ETS invites interested individuals to visit http://apcentral.collegeboard.org/read for more information and eligibility requirements on the AP Exam Readers Program.

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


Updated Online Resources for Teaching American History Grants

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement has updated many resources on the Teaching American History Web site. In addition to new and updated resources, the new page also includes a list of current TAH project websites.

More information is available at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teachinghistory/resources.html

Posted: September 14, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession


History Programs Face Major Cuts in FY2011 Federal Budget

On April 12, the House Appropriations Committee released a list of proposed cuts in federal programs for the remainder of the government’s 2011 fiscal year that ends on September 30.

More information is available at: http://historycoalition.org/2011/04/13/history-programs-face-major-cuts-in-fy-11-federal-budget/

Posted: April 20, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession, Advocacy


NARA Tightens Security to Prevent Thefts, Mutilation

Over the years, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has faced many physical and environmental threats to its holdings including fire, water, insects, and mold. We have been open about these risks and forthcoming about our efforts to combat them. However, there’s another risk to our collection.

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Posted: April 17, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession, From the Archivist of the US


American History TV on C-SPAN3

Every weekend on C-SPAN3 American History TV, watch 48 hours about people and events that help document the American story. For schedule and programming information visit:

More information is available at: http://c-span.org/history

Posted: January 26, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession


Direct an NEH Summer Program in 2012

Since 1967, the National Endowment for the Humanities has funded residential summer programs for college and university faculty and, since 1982, K-12 teachers. These include two- to five-week Summer Seminars and Institutes and one-week Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops. The application deadline is March 1, 2011. For information on NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and for application materials, visit:

More information is available at: http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/seminars.html

Posted: January 26, 2011
Tagged: News of the Profession


At NARA, Making Tough Choices in the Budget

The Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, discusses many of the tough decisions his organization faces as a result of federal budget cuts for 2012.

Read more >

Posted: November 11, 2010
Tagged: From the Archivist of the US, Advocacy, News of the Profession