Herbert Feis Award

Herbert FeisEstablished in 1984, this prize is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history, broadly defined. The prize is named in memory of Herbert Feis (1893–1972), public servant and historian of recent American foreign policy, with an initial endowment from the Rockefeller Foundation. See the list of past recipients.


Individuals and collaborative groups are eligible to apply. Contributions could, for example, include work as the administrator of a public history group or agency (such as a historical society, a historic site, or a community history project) or as the creator or producer of a public history product or products (such as a museum exhibit, radio script, web site, oral history collection, or film). Often, the contribution will be the result of years of effort in the field, but the prize might also recognize a singular contribution of major importance such as a pathbreaking museum exhibit. Public history is defined as work primarily directed at non-academic, non-school-based audiences. Those audiences could be very broad (e.g., television viewers) or highly specialized (e.g., policymakers). Although the audience should be primarily outside of academia, the recipient(s) of the award could be employed at a university.

Submission Information

Each nomination should include the following:

  1. Award nomination form
  2. CV (no more than five pages) for each nominee
  3. A nomination letter of no more than five pages in length describing the individual's or group's public history contribution
  4. Up to 10 pages of appropriate supporting materials (e.g., letters of support, samples of exemplary products, e.g. exhibit scripts, interpretive plans, National Register Nominations, gray literature or policy papers, finding aids). Please note that books are not accepted as the sole basis for the award, though they can be cited as part of the nominee's contribution to the field of public history.

Please note: Nominees not selected in previous years may resubmit with updates.

The AHA has partnered with Interfolio to manage our nomination process. Submitting a nomination package through Interfolio is FREE for nominators. When submitting a nomination, if you don't already have an account with Interfolio, you will be asked to set up an account and create a password, but you will NOT be charged any fee to create the account.

Deadline and Notification

Nominations must be submitted through Interfolio by June 15, 2020, to be eligible for the 2020 competition. Mailed, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2020 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2021 AHA annual meeting in Seattle.

For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.