On November 17, President George W. Bush awarded the National Humanities Medals for 2008 during a ceremony held in the White House East Room. Nine distinguished Americans, one museum, and a philanthropic foundation were honored for their contributions to the humanities. Three historians, Gabor S. Borritt, Richard Brookhiser and Harold Holzer, were among those receiving the award.
Gabor S. Boritt, scholar and Civil War historian, was recognized “for a distinguished career of scholarship on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. His life’s work and his life’s story stand as testaments to our Nation’s precious legacy of liberty.”
Richard Brookhiser, biographer and historian, was recognized “for helping reintroduce Americans to the personalities, eccentricities, and noble ideals of our Founding Fathers. His works of biography and history have rendered vivid and accessible portraits of the early days of the Republic.”
Harold Holzer, scholar and Civil War historian, was recognized “for engaging scholarship on that crucible of our history, the American Civil War. His work has brought new understanding of the many facets of Abraham Lincoln and his era through the study of image, word, and deed.”
The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.
The Humanities Medal is the most prestigious award in the humanities. Over the last decade, including this year’s recipients, the National Humanities Medal has been awarded to only 107 individuals and 9 organizations. Medal recipients do not compete for this award but are specially selected by the President for their life-long achievements in their areas of expertise.