Noted Historian John Hope Franklin Passes Away

John Hope Franklin, the scholar who helped create the field of African-American history and dominated it for nearly six decades, died at the age of 94 of congestive heart failure at Duke University Hospital this morning.

NARA Seeks Comments on Reform of Presidential Library System

The National Archives and Records Adminsitration (NARA) will soon be seeking the comments and suggestions of interested organizations and individuals for cost effective ways of modifying the present system for archiving and providing public access to Presidential records.

House NHPRC Reauthorization Bill Introduced

Representative Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) recently introduced a bill (H.R. 1556) to reauthorize the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in the House. The bill would reauthorize the NHPRC at an annual level of $20 million for fiscal years (FY) 2010 – 2014. The current authorization expires in FY ’09 and set spending at a level of $10 million per-year, so this would be a significant funding increase if enacted.

PIDB Issues Warning to President About Status of Federal Declassification Efforts

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) recently sent a letter to President Obama expressing its serious concerns about the federal government’s performance regarding declassification and providing citizen access to government information. The Board stated, “We have to sound a note of alarm about how well the Government is doing in this area. In fact, we have concluded that this fundamental principle of self-government is at risk an, without decisive action, the situation is likely to worsen.”

House Oversight Committee Asks White House About E-Mail Preservation Policy

This week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a letter it sent in February to White House Counsel Gregory Craig seeking an update on how the Obama administration is meeting its obligations to preserve e-mails under the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and White House policies on the preservation of e-mail records. The letter cited the problems involving the Bush administration’s apparent failure to preserve thousands of White House e-mails.

Dr. Leon Kass Named 2009 Jefferson Lecturer

Dr. Leon R. Kass, a widely published author, award-winning humanities teacher, and one of America’s leading moral philosophers and experts on medical ethics, will deliver the 2009 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced. The annual NEH-sponsored Jefferson Lecture is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

Urge Your House Member to Support Increased Funding for NEH

The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Humanities Caucus, Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI), have prepared a Dear Colleague letter in support of $230 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities in fiscal year 2010. Please call your member of Congress and ask him/her to show their support for the humanities by signing the letter before it is submitted on April 1, 2009, to Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Ranking Member Michael Simpson (R-ID) of the Interior, Environment, & Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

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