Author Archives: Jennifer Reut

About Jennifer Reut

Jennifer Reut is the former associate editor of Perspectives on History.

Jennifer writes and edits news items and articles for the print and online versions of Perspectives on History and AHA Today. She writes primarily about events and news affecting museums, monuments, and archives; young academics and contingent faculty; the digital humanities; and members and affiliated societies.

Jennifer has taught and practiced in historic preservation and architectural history, with a particular focus on the post-World War II American landscape, for the last 10 years. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MA and PhD in architectural history from the University of Virginia. Before returning to graduate school to study architectural history, she worked in publishing and interactive advertising in New York for 12 years. Jennifer counts the Society of Architectural Historians, the Vernacular Architecture Forum, and the Cultural Landscape Foundation among her favored professional affiliations outside the AHA.

A NARA specialist in book preservation demonstrates some of the tools of the trade for the public at the recent Preservation EXPOsed! event.

Preservation EXPOsed! Deserves More Exposure

The US National Archives (NARA) recently held its annual Preservation EXPOsed! event in Washington, DC, highlighting a diverse slate of preservation specialists and topics. The event, which Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero introduced, was made up of three elements: short talks given by conservation professionals about their work; exhibits and displays about the conservation of important documents at NARA such as the Declaration of Independence; and tables staffed by conservation and preservation specialists dedicated to different media, including books, paper, film and video, digital artifacts, photographs, and others.


NARA Investigators Detail Brazen Theft and Daring Capture in the Archives

On July 10, 2011, the stars were aligned. On that day, according to Jim Warwick, assistant US attorney for the Department of Justice, a sharp-eyed employee of the Maryland Historical Society sensed that two researchers, later revealed to be Barry Landau and Jason Savedoff, were acting strangely. Following this hunch, the employee crawled into the rafters and observed as Savedoff stuffed documents into his jacket while Landau distracted another employee. A few phone calls later, with the assistance of the FBI and the National Archives Office of the Inspector General (NARA OIG), Savedoff and Landau were in custody.


Is this the Golden Age of Historian Administrators?

Recently, we read an essay in the Nation on the role of university presidents as civic leaders that lamented the way in which the office had become, according to the author, more timid than in the past. “Was there truly a ‘golden age’ of engaged college and university presidents who ‘sculpted’ society?” asked the author, citing James B. Conant, Robert Hutchins, Kingman Brewster, and Clark Kerr as examples. But we wondered, how would these “golden age” presidents fare in today’s higher education environment?

AHA Member News

Two AHA Members are among the recently announced finalists for the 2013 George Washington Book Prize, sponsored by Washington College. Eliga H. Gould’s Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire (Harvard) and Cynthia A. Kierner’s  Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times (UNC)  were among the nominees for the prize which honors a  single recent work on Washington or his times and carries an award of $50,000.

If you have any news or announcements you’d like to share with fellow AHA Members, let us know via

Geoffrey & Carmen:
A Memoir in Four Movements, a photography exhibition found at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Black History Month in the Archives and Libraries

Every February, ProQuest, the online subscription service for journals, archives, and other historical delicacies unlocks its African American digital archives for Black History Month. This year is no exception, with open access in the month of February for the following ProQuest products: Historical Newspapers™ – Black Newspapers, Black Studies Center (primary and secondary resources), as well as its Civil War Era (newspapers and pamphlets) and African American Heritage (family-related records) databases. It would be hard to overstate the incredible range and depth of material available and it’s well worth taking some time to dive into what’s available even if this isn’t your main area of research, before it gets locked down again at the end of the month.


Go Tell it on Monticello: New Directions in “Telling the History of Slavery”

Planning was in the works for over a year for the upcoming mega-conference at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, “Telling the History of Slavery: Scholarship, Museum Interpretation, and the Public,” but it may benefit from the more recent public controversies over Jefferson’s character as a slaveholder, produced in part by the dust-up over Henry Wiencek’s book, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves. This past fall, Master was at the center of a media storm when a number of scholars in the field responded critically to an article in Smithsonian Magazine in which the author claimed to have developed new interpretations of Jeffersonian documents that threw doubt on the current interpretations of Jefferson as a slaveholder.


From Articles to Advocacy: The Chronicle Moves Into Activism with the Launch of the Adjunct Project

After publishing a number of important columns highlighting the pay and working conditions of adjuncts, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently took a step from what one commenter called, “occasional ‘objective’ coverage to activism” with the launch of the Adjunct Project, a new tool for adjuncts and the people who hire them.

The tool, which employs a sleek, easy-to-use interface using icons from the Noun Project, supports three main tasks: submit salary data, searching salary data, and advice on teaching and working as an adjunct.

The Mosque in Modern Europe

One of the interesting aspects of the panel entitled “The Mosque in Modern Europe” is that it intended to look at place as a locus of debates about national or cultural character, and in particular to recognize the built landscape as a site of anxiety about European identity. The panelists each focused on a different county in which the construction of a mosque or even its imagined presence provoked a highly specific set of local responses that revealed much about the mutability of national identity.