The ups and downs of the current economy are all over the news these days, so we start off this What We’re Reading by looking back at financial times of yesteryear. Then, check out an impressive personal library, learn what the Britannica blog says Americans look for in a president, and find out where historians fit in the climate crisis. Finally, we point to a recently discovered “Stonewall” Jackson memoir, a project on the future of scholarly journals, a debate on British history, and an article on the cheapest eats possible in New York City.
We start off this week’s post with news from Washington that isn’t economy or campaign related. Read up on a number of news items from the National Coalition for History (including NARA news, the donation of FDR papers, and more), and learn the best way to keep up-to-date on the Vice President Cheney records case. Then, take a look at Tom Scheinfeldt’s stance on digital history and employment in academia, learn what happened this week in history from the Britannica blog, mourn the lack of a digitized version of the Intellectual History Newsletter, and compare past presidential candidates (by unconventional comparison measures).
The House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk recently created the web site Black Americans in Congress detailing the plight of African Americans in attaining full civil rights in the federal legislature. Beginning in 1870 with Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Representative Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, African American Congress members, as surrogate representatives for an entire population, have fought long and hard to overcome racial prejudice, marginalization, and exclusion in the federal legislature. The web site explores three major eras that encompass the transformation of African Americans in Congress: the pioneering era from 1870-1901, the apprenticeship era from 1929-70, and the mature integration era from 1971-2007.
Today marks seven years since the September 11th terrorist attacks. So in this edition of “What We’re Reading” we link to an article on the new memorial for 9/11 victims at the Pentagon, which is opening to the public today. We also point to the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation’s review of the PBS film on the aftermath of 9/11, “Objects and Memory.” In other topics, we include an article about the lawsuit (of which the AHA is a part of) to preserve vice president Cheney’s papers, a look at the Mississippi Freedom Riders then and now, and a “fledgling historian’s” use of Google Maps to track Marco Polo.
Tomorrow, Thursday September 11, 2008 a press briefing will be held at The George Washington University Gelman Library (2130 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20052 Room 207) on the release of the grand jury testimony from the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
The AHA was part of the petition, in January of this year, to have these files released, along with the National Security Archive, the American Society for Legal History, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts.
In a ruling issued August 26th, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of most of the grand jury testimony from the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and a related case against Abraham Brothman and Miriam Moskowitz. The release will cast fresh light on one of the most celebrated spying cases of the Cold War; allowing scholars and journalists to explore the relationship between citizens and the government in that period.
The National Security Archives, together with the AHA, a number of other historical organizations, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts, petitioned for the release of this testimony in January.
The National Coalition for History has posted quite a number of updates from Washington recently. Visit the NCH news archives for all past posts, and check out the links below for the latest advocacy issues. To keep up to date in the future sign up for the NCH e-mail newsletter, or grab their RSS feed.
- Williams Named Executive Director of NHPRC
- Bosanko Named Director of Information Security Oversight Office
- NARA Names New Director of Eisenhower Presidential Library
- National Park Service Fills Two Senior Posts
National Archives and Records Administration
- NARA Clarifies Decision Not to “Harvest” Federal Agency Websites
- NARA & CIA Reach Agreement on Release of Federal Records
Library of Congress, Smithsonian, NPS, and EPA
- Library of Congress and “History” Announce Multimedia Partnership
- Library of Congress Lowers Age Limit for Main Reading Room
- Smithsonian African American History Museum Receives $5M Donation from Boeing
- NPS Awards Initial Centennial Initiative Grants
- EPA Releases Plan for Restoring Library System
Congress and Government News
- House Panel Holds Hearing on Preservation of Electronic Federal Records
- “Orphan Works” Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate
- Senate Judiciary Panel Passes “State Secrets Protection Act”
- NCH Calls for Public Comment on SBU Guidance
- State Department History Advisory Committee to Meet June 2-3
- CIA Issues Proposed Rule Reforming FOIA Practices
On March 3 and 4, 145 members of the humanities community, including college professors, museum professionals, librarians, archivists, and independent scholars, gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 2008 National Conference of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), of which the AHA is a member. The highlight of the conference was the ninth annual Humanities Advocacy Day. Participants fanned out across to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and their staff to urge them to support federal agencies that sustain research, education, public programs, and preservation in history and other fields.