June 16, 2010
This week we learned of the retirement of House Historian Robert V. Remini after five years on the job. See also a silly video from the University of Bergen (Norway) against plagiarism that comically crosses the line itself (how many film and television references can you count?), watch the finals from National History Day live online, read an NPR story about World War II’s oddest operation, learn of the Oral History Program at the University of North Texas, and follow the history of housing finance. Finally, it’s not too early to start planning for your trip to Boston for the 2011 annual meeting. Check out an article on the city’s best used bookstores.
- Retirement of House Historian, Search Committee Formed
Robert Remini has retired from his post as the House of Representatives’ Historian after five years in the job. A distinguished search committee (all of whom are AHA members) has been named to find his replacement.
- Stephanie Meeks Named 8th President of National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has appointed Stephanie Meeks to take on the role as their 8th president.
- Dead Man Floating: World War II’s Oddest Operation
What started as a spy story turned into a World War II war tactic that secured victory for the Allies. This not-so-fictional story involved staging a Welsh laborer who accidentally died from rat poisoning to look like a British Marine to trick the Germans into refocusing their efforts away from Sicily; it worked. You can find more of this story in Ben Macintyre’s Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, as well as NPR’s All Things Considered.
- National History Day Finals
National History Day was this week, June 13–17. Middle and high school students from across the country gathered at the University of Maryland for the national level competition. They wrote papers, created web sites, filmed documentaries, and put on stage productions relating to the theme of “Innovation in History.” Watch the final awards ceremony LIVE today, 8:30-11:30am, on the National History Day web site.
- Oral histories fill in the little details in Texas history
The Oral History Program at the University of North Texas has been conducting interviews for over 40 years, gathering colorful stories along the way, such as Barbara Jordan, “the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate since Reconstruction.”
- Remodeling the Housing Finance Industry
Denise Finney, a financial consultant, traces the evolution of the housing finance industry, starting during the Great Depression and the subsequent creation of Fannie Mae.
Annual Meeting 2011
- Treasured Titles
Members looking ahead to the AHA’s annual meeting in Boston will want to take note of a recent item on local used and specialty bookstores on the Boston.com site. Hat Tip to John Fea.
- The ‘Learning Knights’ of Bell Telephone
What happens when you ask up-and-coming telephone executives with technical or business backgrounds to take liberal arts courses? In the 1950s, Bell Telephone was determined to find out. In 1952, they founded (with the University of Pennsylvania) the Institute of Humanistic Studies for Executives. Young executives were given a 10-month immersion program (550 hours) in the liberal arts. The results were executives who were more confident and intellectually engaged, but less willing to put the company’s bottom line ahead of their families and communities. Bell pulled the plug in 1960. Happy Bloom’s Day.
- A Plagiarism Carol
The Chronicle links to a video from the University of Bergen about plagiarism that includes homages to 24, A Christmas Carol, Robocop, and others.
Contributors: David Darlington, Debbie Ann Doyle, Elisabeth Grant, Jessica Pritchard, and Robert B. Townsend