Herbert Feis Award
Established 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.
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.
Each nomination should include the following:
- Award nomination form
- CV (no more than five pages) for each nominee
- A nomination letter of no more than five pages in length describing the individual's or group's public history contribution
- 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: The nominations of those who do not receive the award will be kept on file for five years. The nominator may submit an update.
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. When available, nomination instructions are available by clicking on the box to the left.
Deadline and Notification
Nominations must be submitted through Interfolio by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Mailed, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2016 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.
2015 Feis Award
Pamela M. Henson, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Pamela M. Henson, director of the Institutional History Division of the Smithsonian Institution Archives, has helped to steward and grow our national collections for decades, enriching the fabric of public history while doing so. In her career she has curated over a dozen exhibits, advised Smithsonian secretaries and regents, mentored the careers of countless scholars, and made major contributions of her own to the history of science. The Smithsonian archives are a national treasure, their value made manifest through Henson’s work.