President George W. Bush awarded the 2008 National Humanities Medals and National Medals of Arts at the White House this past Monday, November 17, 2008. Several historians were among the recipients of these prestigious awards given out by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Gabor S. Boritt, director and founder of the Civil War Institute and professor of history at Gettysburg College received one of the National Humanities Medals. Dr. Boritt, recognized “for his scholarship on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era,” is a member of the AHA. Albert Marrin, emeritus professor of history at Yeshiva University, received the award as well, for his work in using children’s books to open “young minds to history and made the lessons of the past come alive with rich detail for a new generation.” Also receiving medals were Richard Brookhiser, popular biographer of the Founding Fathers; Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer; journalist Myron Magnet, “who…combined literary and cultural history with an understanding of contemporary urban life to imagine new ways of relieving poverty and renewing civic institutions;” Milton J. Rosenberg, radio host and emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Chicago; philanthropists Thomas A. Saunders III, Jordan Horner Saunders, and Robert H. Smith; the John Templeton Foundation; and the Norman Rockwell Museum. More information on all the winners can be found on the NEH web site.
According to the NEH, the National Humanities Medal was created to honor “individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.” The award was established in 1988 as the Charles Frankel Prize and became the National Humanities Medal in 1997. Up to 12 are awarded every year. The AHA congratulates all the winners.