Publication Date

May 1, 1993

Perspectives Section


The Clinton Administration nominated Sheldon Hackney as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Assuming confirmation by the Senate, Hackney will become the sixth individual to hold that position since the agency’s establishment in 1965 and the second historian appointed—the first NEH chair was historian Barnaby C. Keeney.

Dr. Hackney has been president of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of history there since 1981. He earned his doctorate in history at Yale University in 1966, specializing in the history of Populism and progressivism in the South between 1890 and the first World War. His book on that topic, Populism to Progressivism in Alabama, published in 1969, won the AHA’s Albert J. Beveridge Award in 1970 and the Charles S. Sydnor Prize from the Southern Historical Association that same year. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as president of Tulane University (1975–80), following a decade of teaching in the history department at Princeton University, where he also served as provost from 1972 through 1975. From 1971 through 1974, he served as chair of the AHA’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights of Historians. That committee’s report, published in 1975, was the predecessor to the current Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct, adopted by the Council in 1986.