Archive for April, 2007

Former Archivist of the United States Robert Warner Passes Away

Friday, April 27th, 2007

On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, Dr. Robert M. Warner, sixth Archivist of the United States, died after a long battle with cancer.

Dr. Warner served as Archivist of the United States from 1980 through 1985, leading the agency during one of the most important periods in its history: the transformation from a division of the General Services Administration (GSA) to an independent executive agency. Read the full article »

House Panel Investigates Over-Classification of Federal Information

Friday, April 27th, 2007

On April 26, 2007, the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment held a hearing to consider the problem of over-classification, and “pseudo-classification,” of government information. Read the full article »

Historians Oppose Destruction of Guantanamo Detainee Records

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

On April 26, 2007, the National Coalition for History, the American Historical Association, and twenty other organizations wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein to express concerns about the possible destruction of records relating to the cases of detainees being held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A recent federal court Protective Order concerning the case records could possibly be interpreted to authorize or direct the destruction of government records that should be permanently preserved, such as the Combatant Status Review Tribunal record and interview notes. Read the full article »

House Bill Seeks Redress for Victims of 1921 Tulsa Race Riots

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

On April 24, 2007, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing on H.R. 1995, the “Tulsa-Greenwood Riot and Accountability Act of 2007.” The bill extends the statute of limitation to allow survivors to seek damages for losses incurred by the hundreds of families who lost homes and businesses in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. Read the full article »

Humanities Alliance Tells Congress to Increase NEH Funding

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

On April 19, 2007, National Humanities Alliance (NHA) President John Churchill testified before the House Interior Appropriations’ Subcommittee. NHA’s testimony calls for a $36 million increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities in fiscal year 2008, for total funding of $177 million. NHA also proposed a new program, along the lines of We the People, which would focus on global understanding in the humanities. During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D- WA) expressed strong interest in the proposal.

This is the first year since 2000 that the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee has held public witness hearings on NEH and other agencies funded under the Interior bill.

National Archives Congressional Liaison to Retire

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Dr. Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, has announced the retirement of John Constance, Director of Congressional Affairs and Communications, after 35 years of Federal service, effective April 28, 2007. Mr. Constance has served as the National Archives liaison to Capitol Hill for 14 years and currently supervises congressional relations, public affairs, communications, and the agency’s web program.

Susan Cooper will become acting director of Congressional Affairs and Communications, and Dr. David McMillen will assume responsibilities as acting congressional liaison within the Congressional Affairs and Communications staff. Read the full article »

NEH Grants Announced; Humanities Council To Meet

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced the awarding of $16.7 million in grants, or offers of matching funds, to 182 applicants. Fifty-four of the grants are designated as We the People projects designed to increase the teaching and study of American history and culture.

NEH has also announced that the National Council on the Humanities will meet at its Washington headquarters on May 8-9, 2007. Parts of the morning sessions are open both days, but the majority of the meetings are closed to the public since the Council will be considering grant applications.

Tell Congress to Save the NHPRC!

Friday, April 20th, 2007

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) – the grant-making arm of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – is targeted in the President’s proposed FY 2008 budget for zero funding for grants and zero funding for staff to administer the agency and its programs. For FY 2008, the National Coalition for History supports full funding for national grants at $10 million plus an additional $2 million for staffing and other administrative costs. Now is the critical time to contact Congress and make your voice heard on saving the NHPRC! Read the full article »

National History Center Climate Change Briefing

Friday, April 13th, 2007

The National History Center continues its Congressional Briefings Series with its “Historical Perspectives on Climate Change,” 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Friday, April 27, 2007, in Room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building, in Washington, DC. Read the full article »

Freedom of Information Act Reform Bill Clears Senate Panel

Friday, April 13th, 2007

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week cleared a Freedom of Information reform bill (S. 849) by voice vote. The bill is similar to one overwhelmingly passed in March by the House of Representatives (H.R. 1309). Read the full article »

Senate Rules Committee Holds Oversight Hearing on the Smithsonian

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Despite the departure of controversial Secretary Lawrence Small, the Smithsonian Institution continues to take a beating on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Rules Committee held an oversight hearing this week on the Smithsonian. In her opening statement Rules Committee Chairwoman Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) sharply criticized the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents for their lack of meaningful oversight over the Institution’s operations. Feinstein stated that, “While the Board is well meaning and dedicated, I’m not convinced the current structure has the capacity to perform the fiduciary responsibility required.” Read the full article »

Political Firestorm Erupts over Missing White House E-Mails

Friday, April 13th, 2007

It was revealed this week that some 22 current Bush administration officials have separate White House and Republican National Committee (RNC) e-mail accounts that were designed to ensure that White House staff did not use government equipment for political purposes in violation of the Hatch Act. However, it is being alleged by congressional Democrats that these political e-mail accounts were improperly used to engage in official government business without leaving an electronic trail behind in an attempt to circumvent the Presidential Records Act. Of particular interest are e-mails sent through these non-governmental accounts concerning the firing of eight U.S. attorneys that is currently under scrutiny by Congress. Read the full article »

Key History Positions at National Park Service Remain Unfilled

Friday, April 6th, 2007

During a session at the Organization of American Historians (OAH) annual meeting last week, it was revealed that both the Chief Historian and Bureau Historian positions at the National Park Service (NPS) remain vacant, with no clear date set for when they will be filled. Read the full article »

NHA 2007 Conference & Humanities Advocacy Day a Success (Report from Erin Smith of NHA)

Friday, April 6th, 2007

The National Humanities Alliance’s (NHA) 2007 Conference was held March 26-27 in Washington, DC. The event began in the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center with a policy forum and roundtable discussion featuring federal agency representatives. Topics included: capacity building and infrastructure support, fellowships and resources for scholars, public programs, collaborative research, preservation, education, international education and cultural exchange, and the humanities and technology. Read the full article »

Humanities Advocates Gather at Capitol Hill Reception & Exhibits (Report from Erin Smith of NHA)

Friday, April 6th, 2007

On the morning of March 27, more than 100 humanities supporters gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building to enjoy humanities exhibits and listen to remarks from National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bruce Cole, and new Congressional Humanities Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Phil English (R-PA). Read the full article »

NEH Awards First Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Friday, April 6th, 2007

At the NHA conference, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman Bruce Cole announced the first Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants. Chairman Cole said that these new projects are designed to explore and develop innovative uses of technology in humanities education, scholarship, and public programming. Sixteen projects will receive a total of $478,565 in this program, which is one part of NEH’s Digital Humanities Initiative. View a full list of the award recipients »

Nazi and Japanese War Crimes Declassification Project Concludes

Friday, April 6th, 2007

The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), the group tasked with locating, declassifying, and making publicly available U.S. records of Nazi and Japanese war crimes, concluded its work on March 31, 2007. Read the full article »

NEH to Host Summit of Digital Humanities Centers

Friday, April 6th, 2007

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland have announced a summit meeting to plan a national coalition of digital humanities centers. Read the full article »

“Women in Congress 1917-2006” Published

Friday, April 6th, 2007

The Office of History Preservation in the Office of the Clerk of U.S. House of Representatives recently published , “Women in Congress, 1917–2006.” The book is the first in an official four-part series about minorities who have served in Congress. Future volumes will profile African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian-Pacific Islander Americans who have served in Congress. The 229 women profiled range from Jeannette Rankin of Montana—the first woman elected to Congress—to Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House. Written as an authoritative resource, and a teaching tool, the hard copy of the book ends just before Speaker Pelosi and the newly-elected women Members of the 110th Congress were sworn in. But an online version provides an updated live resource that takes the research project into the future.

Bits & Bytes

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Library of Congress Acquires Caspar Weinberger Papers: The Library of Congress recently formally accepted a donation of the papers of former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger served for six years in that post under President Ronald Reagan. Weinberger also served stints as Secretary of Health Education of Welfare (1973–1975) and director of the Office of Management and Budget (1972–1973) in the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Sections of the Weinberger Papers were subpoenaed by the special prosecutor during the Iran-Contra investigation.