Herbert Feis Award
Established in 1984, this prize is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history, broadly defined. 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.
Individuals and collaborative groups are eligible to apply. 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(s) 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:
- CV (no more than five pages) for each nominee
- a statement of no more than five pages in length describing the individual's or group's public history contribution
- up to 10 pages of appropriate supporting materials (e.g., letters of support, samples of exemplary products, e.g. exhibit scripts, interpretive plans, National Register Nominations, gray literature or policy papers, finding aids). Please note that books are not accepted as the sole basis for the award, though they can be cited as part of the nominee's contribution to the field of public history.
The nomination packages of those who do not receive the award will be kept on file for five years. The nominator may submit an update, if they wish.
Nomination packages may be submitted electronically (preferred) or in hard copy in the following manner:
- Electronic submissions should be emailed as a pdf attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Feis Award Entry“ and will be distributed to each member of the prize committee.
- Nominations submitted in hard copy should be clearly labeled “Feis Award Entry” and sent to each of the committee members and to American Historical Association, Attn. Feis Prize, 400 A St. SE, Washington, DC 20003. Nominations without all the required documents will not be considered.
Please Note: Entries must be postmarked or transmitted by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.
Review committee contact information and the prize submission form for the next prize year will be posted by March 31.
2014 Feis Award
Naomi Oreskes, Harvard Univ.
Naomi Oreskes has shaped the practice of public history as an internationally recognized historian of science who has engaged with communities and professionals across the disciplines who wish to maintain the primacy of evidence, context, and truth in the dialogue between historians and public decision-makers. By insisting “history matters,” she has interjected and extended the role of the past in the public policy debates of the present, shaping the careers of her students, colleagues, and the communities that they serve.