Publication Date

February 1, 2006

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

Established in 1984, this prize is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history during the previous 10 years.

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. The prize was originally given for books produced by historians working outside of academe. From 2006, the scope of the award will be widened to include other types of public history work. The terms of the award define both "contribution" and "public history" broadly. 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 of the award could be employed at a university. Recipients will be selected from nominations(or self-nominations).

Each nomination packet should include the following:

  • vita (no more than 5 pages);
  • a statement of no more than five pages in length describing the individual’s public history contribution;
  • up to ten pages of appropriate supporting materials (e.g., letters of support or other evidence of contribution).

The nomination packages of those who do not receive the award in a given year will be kept on file and considered for awards in the subsequent five years. In such cases, the nominators may submit updates, if they wish.

One set of the nomination materials must be received by each of the following committee members. Contact information for judges will be posted by about March 30, 2006.

Nominations must be postmarked by or on MAY 15, 2006, to be considered for the 2006 prize. Nomination materials will not be returned. Nominations without all the required documents will not be considered

Please Note: The deadline for submission of nominations is May 15, 2006. Entries will not be returned. The 2006 award will be announced at the January 4–7, 2007, AHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Important! Each nomination must be clearly labeled "Feis Award Nomination."

For questions, please contact the Book Prize Administrator, or write to the AHA at the following address:

American Historical Association 
400 A St., SE
Washington, D.C. 20003-3889

(Please note, however, that nomination packets should not be mailed to the AHA; rather, they should be sent directly to committee members.)

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