Publication Date

May 1, 1991

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

The month of February 1991 marked the retirement from the AHA of respected historian and long-time employee Dr. Arnold H. Price, bibliographer of the Writings on American History series.

Dr. Price’s diverse scholarly achievements made him a valued member of the AHA staff. Born in Bonn, Germany, in 1912, he emigrated to the United States in 1933 and received his B.A. (1935), M.A. (1936), and Ph.D. (1942) from the University of Michigan. Although Dr. Price specialized in modern Europe, he also studied ancient history, international law, statistics, American foreign policy, historical geography, and English constitutional history. His doctoral dissertation on the Zollverein (German Customs Union of 1834) was published by the University of Michigan Press. While at Michigan he served as an assistant to Professor A.E.R. Boak in ancient history and Professor A.L. Cross in English history.

During World War II, Dr. Price utilized his knowledge of history and languages in his position as an intelligence research analyst for the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. He continued his work in intelligence for the CIA and the Department of State until 1960, when he was hired by the Library of Congress as an area specialist for Central Europe. While working at the Library, Dr. Price published numerous bibliographical articles and guides and served as section editor on Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for the precursor of Recently Published Articles (RPA) in the American Historical Review. In 1980 he joined the staff of the AHA as a bibliographer, continuing his work on RPA and starting his work on Writings in American History.

Dr. Price’s wide-ranging contributions to historical scholarship have been well-recognized by colleagues in the field. In addition to the Zollverein, his second major area of research interest has been the historical role of Germanic warrior clubs during the late pagan period. He has also written on topics as diverse as archaeological research on findings from Seleucia-on-the-Tigris, The Anatomy of History and Its Impact on Library Collections and Services, and The German Forest Taboo and Economic Growth. His most recent book, Missionary to the Malagasy, focused on his grandfather’s experiences as a missionary in Madagascar. In 1971, Dr. Price was invited by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany to visit that country, and in 1985 he received the ABC-CLIO Award of Merit.

Dr. Price has been an active member of numerous historical organizations. He served as president of the Association for the Bibliography of History from 1979–80, as well as participating on its Council and committees. As Secretary of the Swiss American Historical Society since 1980, he was the first non-Swiss to hold such an office. In addition, at one point he chaired a committee on access to the archives of the German Democratic Republic.

Since his departure from the AHA, Dr. Price has been working on a paper on the role of Germanic warrior clubs. His plans for the future include writing articles, reviewing books, and working on other projects as they arise. While his former colleagues at the AHA will miss his distinctive wit and cheerful presence, we wish him the best in his future endeavors.