Society of American Historians Concurs with AHA Position on the Smithsonian-Showtime Deal,
Suspends Smithsonian Books from Membership
In a resolution it adopted on April 25, 2006, the Society of American Historians, an affiliate of the American Historical Association, has expressed its concurrence with the AHA’s statement that the Smithsonian’s relationship with Showtime constitutes a “violation of the trust of generations of Americans who have donated materials to which they believed the public would have free, open, equal, and non-discriminatory access forever.” The resolution, signed by SAH President Frances FitzGerald, Vice President Eric Foner, Executive Secretary Mark Carnes, and 26 other historians, not only urged the Smithsonian Institution to reconsider its contract with Showtime, but also indicated that the SAH has suspended Smithsonian Books as a publisher-member of the Society of American Historians.”
The SAH has admitted to its membership 17 publishers with a proven track record in history that was in consonance with the society’s objectives of promoting good historical writing. Smithsonian Books, the Smithsonian’s publishing operations, has now been suspended because, as Mark Carnes explained, “We no longer have confidence that Smithsonian Books will adhere to this high standard.”
The Society of American Historians, founded in 1939 by Allan Nevins and others interested in history, seeks to promote literary distinction in the writing of American history. It consists of 250 fellows, elected by the membership, and 17 publisher-members.
—Adapted from a press note from the SAH
© American Historical AssociationLast Updated: February 26, 2008 10:54 AM