In the news this week, historian William H. Goetzmann has passed away, the AHA has joined with a number of individuals and organizations to unseal Nixon Testimony, and the National Book Festival has released its schedule. We also link to three videos this week, featuring James McPherson, the Library of Congress’s collections, and “citizen archivists” at National Archives. Then, read about journalism and history, analog tools, the bygone tradition of pocket notebooks, theflow of the Mississippi River, and two new exhibits.
In a letter to David Paterson, the Governor of New York, AHA Executive Director Arnita Jones asks the governor to sign recent legislation (S6846/A9928) that would help ensure the proper treatment of state records. The bill, which was approved by the state legislature in late June, is expected to reach the governor’s desk on September 3rd. Noting that the proposed policy is modeled on the Presidential Records Act, the letter concludes that, “the records of the governor of New York should be preserved with the same diligent care that is now afforded to the records of presidents.”
If enacted, the legislation would clarify the procedures and policies that govern records of the governor, the executive chamber, and the legislature and civil departments, assuring that they are maintained under the highest professional standards and preserved for posterity.
Recently, a number of AHA members and others have expressed concern and dismay over the future of the Teaching American History (TAH) grants, a program begun virtually single-handedly by Senator Robert C. Byrd in 2003. True, he was the program’s devoted supporter who brooked no opposition in growing the program from an initial $50 million appropriation to the present approximately $120 million as a line item in the Department of Education’s budget. Now that the senator is gone there are those, in the Obama Administration and elsewhere, who say that history must take second or third place to reading and mathematics, that in the midst of a the most severe recession in several generations the U.S.
In the news this week, the Civil War Preservation Trust has sent a letter (with the support of 270 historians) asking Pennsylvania to reject a gaming resort near Gettysburg, Congress is meeting to discuss the National Historical Publications and Records Commission reauthorization bill, the National Science Foundation is seeking research proposals related to the Gulf oil spill, and the American Library Association
rejects* an IRB resolution. We also link to a number of interesting online resources this week: the new London Lives site and the Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
The elected council and officers of the American Historical Association fully concur with the commitment expressed by many members of the Texas State Board of Education that historical understanding is an essential element in educating young people in their developing role as citizens of their state, the nation, and the world. The Council, however, calls on the Texas State Board of Education to reconsider their recently proposed amendments to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies.
At its January meeting, the AHA Council endorsed a new study from the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) that calls on college and university faculty and administrators to assure that all teachers at their institutions are treated as professionals. Representing a consensus of 15 disciplinary and professional associations, the report concludes that “[i]f we are to maintain a world-class system of higher education and help all students achieve success, we must have a strong faculty with the support necessary to carry out its professional responsibilities.”
Citing the long term decline in the proportion of college and university faculty in full-time tenure-track positions, the “One Faculty Serving All Students” issue brief calls for reducing reliance on faculty employed in short-term appointments while improving the compensation and benefits of contingent faculty.
The following text is from an e-mail sent out by Jessica Jones Irons, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, encouraging participation in this year’s NHA Annual Meeting & Humanities Advocacy Day. Register before February 7, 2010 for the March 8-9, 2010 events.
In "The Audacity of Hope", author Barack Obama recounts a conversation he had with MIT scientist Robert Langer at Northwestern University’s 2006 commencement in which they discuss a declining federal investment in research and development through the nation’s higher education institutions.
We start off this week with news and advocacy. Take a look at all the items in the National Humanities Alliance’s October Policy Digest as well as their push for NEH funding, review COSSA’s Washington Update, and in non-Washington related news, check out a map from 1675 up for auction in the UK. Today, October 29th, is the anniversary of the “Black Tuesday” stock market crash, and we bring you three articles from NPR remembering the event. Have an iPhone? Check out a few apps for historians.