As we make final preparations for the annual meeting, I want to highlight three sessions that attendees might have missed.
The session that may be of general interest is “Election 2008: How ‘Historic’ Was It?” to be held on Sunday, January 4, at 8 p.m. in the New York Hilton’s Grand Ballroom. We were struck in watching news coverage of the election how often the media labeled it “historic” and “history-making,” but often reduced the meaning of those terms to a few simple comparisons to past personalities, politics, and events.
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.
This past week we’ve taken a look at articles and resources related to Barack Obama’s historic presidential win; see the Newseum’s newspaper archive, a collection of election maps, and a look back at religion and campaigning. Then, read about librarians’ efforts to build a better search engine, PhDinHistory’s take on a number of recent professional issues, a summer institute from the NHC, lost photos from Hiroshima, financial teaching materials, and the latest Omeka release.
The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia has a useful resource for historians in their Presidential Recordings Program (PRP). The PRP was established in 1998 to make accessible to historians the secret White House recordings of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt through Richard Nixon. Its work is funded in part by the NHPRC. There are nearly 5,000 hours of secretly-recorded meetings and phone calls from the era, and they require a lot of processing by historians and archivists before they can be used in research.
While the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth isn’t until next year, we link to the Library of Congress and Smithsonian, which are already talking about related exhibits and events. Also, we point to the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s web site and the wealth of Lincoln information available there. Then, submit your nominations for the 2008 Cliopatria Awards, check out two election related articles, read up on the Zotero lawsuit, find out why “John Smith” is leaving academia, and hear about incorporating rare books into undergraduate classes.
This past weekend the New York Times blogged about voting properly in the upcoming election. Except the upcoming election they were referring to was William Howard Taft vs. William Jennings Bryan. The post was from October 25, 1908. And so it goes on the Times new blog, TimesTraveler. Articles from 100 years ago are posted on the corresponding day, and readers get a glimpse of what was newsworthy a century ago.
While many recent posts have focused on the 1908 election, older posts cover a range of topics.
With the highly anticipated 2008 presidential election less than a month away, all eyes seem fixed on recent debates. In fact, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD)—a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1987 to organize all presidential and vice presidential debates—called these recent debates “a breakthrough in the history of televised debates." The CPD, who has sponsored presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988, makes sure Americans receive and understand each candidate’s platform come election time.
The CPD web site serves as a resource for both current and past debates.
“Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008” is a new online project of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. As we reported last week this site examines the evolution of presidential politics in the United States across the span of American history. We thought the site would be worth a closer look.
The project represents U.S. election data in a number of visually innovative ways. The “Cinematic Maps” section animates election results to show change over time.