AHA Activities

National Archives Ceremony Marks First Jameson Papers Publication

AHA Staff, April 1993

For several years the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the American Historical Association have collaborated in sponsoring a major project to publish a selection of the papers of John Franklin Jameson, a founder of the AHA, a longtime editor of the AHR, and the chief "enabler" of historians until his death in 1937.

The publication of Volume One of John Franklin Jameson and the Development of Humanistic Scholarship in America provided the occasion for an impressive ceremony at the National Archives on February 24. Karen Orchard, associate director and executive editor of the University of Georgia Press, the publisher of the volume, presented copies to the American Historical Association, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives, joint sponsors of the project. She also presented copies to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the principal funding agencies.

Gerald George, executive director of the NHPRC, noted Jameson's essential role in creating the commission and said that publication of the edition would be a "great stimulus" to discussion of the entire historical enterprise. James B. Gardner, deputy executive director of the AHA, accepted a copy on behalf of Louise A. Tilly, AHA president, who could not attend, and reminded the audience of Jameson's leadership of the AHA as well as his lasting contributions as the first managing editor of the American Historical Review.

James H. Hutson, chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress, recalled Jameson's great accomplishments in the same position between 1928 and 1937. Raymond Mosley, acting Deputy Archivist of the United States, accepted a copy for the National Archives, as did Douglas Arnold, a program officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Morey Rothberg, project director and co-editor, with Jacqueline Goggin, of Volume One: Selected Essays, thanked employees of the various sponsoring and funding organizations, many of whom were present, for making the project such a successful collaborative effort. Frank Rives Millikan and John Terry Chase, who have served as assistant editors on the project, received a special vote of thanks for their efforts on Volume One and the two succeeding volumes of letters, diary entries, and reports.

Jameson family members representing four generations also were present. John Franklin Jameson II, grandson and literary executor of the Jameson Papers, and his sister Sara, who travelled from Oregon for the ceremony, have made their own presentation of Jameson documents to be added to the collection at the Library of Congress. The program closed with comments by John Jack, another grandson, who remembered that his "sense of loss was enormous" when John Franklin Jameson died. While the customary image of Jameson is a man of almost regal bearing, John Jack called him "one of the warmest human beings I have ever met."

Volume One is divided into two sections, scholarship and advocacy. In the volume, Jameson is revealed as a pioneer in the areas of black history, southern and constitutional, and social history. It also includes two previously unpublished lectures from his The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement. The section on advocacy presents Jameson as a thoughtful commentator on the academic world as a crucial point in its development. The volume includes a foreword by Don W. Wilson, William E. Leuchtenburg, and James H. Billington.

Volume One of John Franklin Jameson and the Development of Humanistic Scholarship in America is available for $45 from the University of Georgia Press. The address of the Press is 330 Research Dr., Suite B-100, Athens, GA 30602-4901. The telephone number is (706) 369-6130.