National Historical Publications & Records Commission

NHPRC News - September 2009


September 2009





Inside the Commission

SAA Distinguished Service Award

At its annual meeting on August 14 in Austin, Texas, the Society of American Archivists awarded the 2009 Distinguished Service Award to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Refer to CaptionReceiving the Society of American Archivists Distinguished Service Award on behalf of the NHPRC are (left to right) Dan Stokes, Lucy Barber, Kathleen Williams, and Mahnaz Ghaznavi.

Established in 1964, the SAA award recognizes an archival institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or governmental organization that has provided outstanding public service and has made an exemplary contribution to the archival profession.

"The NHPRC records grant program has arguably done more to advance our nation's archives and records programs and the archival profession than any other program or organization," the SAA noted. The NHPRC "supports the application of strategic, analytical thinking to the management of historical records, and it encourages the archives profession to develop a coordinated vision and standardized practices."

Read the Press Release.

Upcoming Conferences and Meetings

Executive Director Kathleen Williams and Publications Director Timothy Connelly will be attending the annual meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing at the Abraham Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL on October 15-17. Director for State Programs Daniel Stokes will be attending the Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museum Conference in Portland, OR on October 19-22.

The next meeting of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission is scheduled for November 20, 2009 at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

October is Archives Month

October is American Archives Month

American Archives Month is celebrated every October-along with National History Day-and archives and schools across the country are joining in this effort to to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists. For more information on how you can participate, visit the Society of American Archivists website. In Washington, DC, the 2009 Archives Fair will be held at the National Archives (downtown facility) on Wednesday, October 7th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Daniel Stokes, Director for State Programs, will be manning a booth at the Fair, with information on the grants programs at the NHPRC.

Stuart Rochester

Refer to CaptionStuart Rochester

Sadly, on July 29, 2009, Stuart Rochester, Office of the Secretary of Defense Historian, died after a decade-long battle with melanoma. Dr. Rochester, who had been appointed to the Commission in March 2009 as representative from the State Department, was 63. His 1998 book, Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973, co-written with Frederick Kiley, is considered the definitive account of the story of hundreds of American captives, among them future Senator John McCain (R-AZ), former Alabama Republican Senator Jeremiah Denton and Medal of Honor recipients George "Bud" Day and Humbert "Rocky" Versace. Dr. Rochester served with the Pentagon Historical Office for nearly 30 years, becoming its deputy historian in 1987 and chief historian in 2008. Dr. Rochester's books included Takeoff at Mid-Century: Federal Civil Aviation Policy in the Eisenhower Years (1976) and American Liberal Disillusionment: In the Wake of World War I (1977).

Grant Deadlines

The following Grant opportunities are currently available online:

  • Archives - Basic Projects
    Final Deadline:   October 6, 2009
  • Archives - Detailed Processing Projects
    Final Deadline:  October 6, 2009
  • Historical Editing Fellowships
    Final Deadline:  October 6, 2009
  • Professional Development Grants for Archives and Historical Publishing
    Second Competition Deadline:   October 6, 2009
  • Publishing Historical Records
    New Republic through the Modern Era Final Deadline:   October 6, 2009
  • Strategies and Tools for Archives and Historical Publishing
    Second Competition Deadline:   October 6, 2009
  • State and National Archival Partnership Grants
    Final Deadline:   March 4, 2010

    Go to Grant Opportunities for more information.

    Notice to all NHPRC grant recipients: New financial reporting forms (SF 425) are required as of October 1, 2009. This form is available through the Office of Management and Budget. If you have questions about how to complete it, please contact Nancy Taylor, (202) 357-5257 or


    News from our Grantees

    Archives and Political Asylum

    At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, thousands of U.S. allies, employees and Vietnamese dissidents were imprisoned in communist reeducation camps. The Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA) was founded in 1977 to assist citizens of Vietnam in applying through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Orderly Departure Program to immigrate to the United States. The FVPPA also assisted over 10,000 Vietnamese refugees with resettlement to the United States in the past two decades.

    Collage from Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoner's Association

    A grant from the NHPRC has helped establish the archives, arranging 157 linear feet of records, creating a comprehensive finding aid, providing conservation treatment of 14 feet of records damaged by mold, and publicizing the collection through the Vietnam Archives website at Texas Tech.

    Although the UN's Orderly Departure Program closed in 1994, the Vietnam Archive's Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoner's Association Collection continues to help Vietnamese refugees immigrate to the U.S. In June, 2009, a former Vietnamese reeducation camp prisoner was able to obtain political asylum in the U.S. by using the documents found in the FVPPA Collection to prove his case.


    FEMA Notes Efforts of North Carolina State Board

    The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) took special notice of the efforts of the North Carolina State Board in Disaster Preparedness in its recent Notes of the Day newsletter which has a mailing list of over 25,000 names. It is a great lesson in how a relatively modest investment from the Commission can produce especially fruitful and noticeable results. A very thorough guide is available on the North Carolina state historical records advisory board's website at


    The Papers of Abraham Lincoln

    Lincoln Papers

    The Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS) presented its 2009 Book of the Year award to the editorial staff of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project on Saturday, April 25, at the Governors Mansion in Springfield. The award was presented in recognition of the four-volume The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases, published in 2008 by the University of Virginia Press.

    "This set represents publishing at its best: professionally done, competently produced, and a scholarly labor of love," said ISHS Awards chair Russell Lewis, executive vice president at the Chicago History Museum. "These volumes are not only extremely relevant to the state of Illinois, but they are especially welcome work in the Lincoln bicentennial year. The editors' introduction will stand as the definitive statement about the project and Lincoln's law practice, and the decision to assemble in the volume court cases that represent his geographical journey along the circuit is nothing short of ingenious. Meticulous, comprehensive, and powerful, this work is most deserving of the award."


    Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition

    Jefferson Digital EditionPrinceton University Press, Rotunda at University of Virginia Press, and the Papers of Thomas Jefferson project at Princeton University recently announced that The Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition was added to Rotunda's American Founding Era digital collection. Included are the first 33 volumes of the print edition (publication dates through 2006). Edited by Barbara B. Oberg, this XML-based edition is the perfect entrance to the extensive writings of our third president, author of the Declaration of Independence, champion of religious freedom, architect, inventor, master of Monticello, and founder of the University of Virginia. Users can search this life in letters by name, date, author and recipient; they can even conduct French-language searches. The Jefferson Papers Retirement Series, edited by J. Jefferson Looney, will follow later this year.


    Edison Goes Green

    The Thomas Edison Papers are the sponsors of the new Edison Green Award, which will recognize and honor organizations committed to developing sustainable solutions and Green business models that help close the carbon loophole in local communities and create environmentally smart jobs. Nominations open September 8, 2009. Visit for more information.

    The Green Awards extend the project's program to recognize American achievement and ingenuity. The Edison Achievement Award honors American innovators in the mold of Thomas Edison. The 2009 Awards were presented to David Kelley and Susan Desmond Hellman at the Computer History Museum on April 1, 2009.

    Achievement Award winner David Kelley, Founder and Chairman of IDEO and Founder of the Design School at Stanford in his acceptance speech stated, "I am pleased to be connected with the Edison Awards. It's clear that Edison was the most creative genius that we have in our country." He was introduced by Tom Kelley, his brother, who pointed out how appropriate it was for David to receive the Edison Achievement Award since David was on "America's Leading Design Innovators list as the most sought after design engineer this side of Thomas Edison."

    In her acceptance speech, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellman, past President of Product Development at Genentech and current chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, said, "Genentech was and is an innovator and had the ability to dream big dreams and go after them with all the determination and ambition you can muster." She hoped her "favorite Edison quote is as inspirational to you as it is to me: if we all did the things we are capable of we would literally astound ourselves."


    Kennan and Forrestal Papers at Princeton

    by Adriane Hanson

    Photos courtesty Princeton University Library

    Refer to CaptionU.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia George Kennan (right) is greeted by Marshal Josip Broz Tito as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson looks on in a picture taken in 1962-63. (Photo: Mudd Manuscript Library)

    Princeton University's Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has completed a one-year project to process the papers of George Kennan and James Forrestal, two Princeton alumni who were important figures in shaping U.S. policy at the inception of the Cold War. Kennan, a diplomat and historian, is best known for writing the "Long Telegram" and the subsequent "X" article in Foreign Affairs in which he advocated for a new course in U.S.-Soviet relations that became known as containment. Kennan, a 1925 Princeton graduate, was involved in diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union throughout most of his distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service. As a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study, he studied modern Russian and European history and became an important critic of American foreign policy. His papers document his entire career.

    Refer to CaptionJames Forrestal (right), secretary of the Navy, visits the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oahu in spring 1945 on his return trip from the Iwo Jima combat area. Forrestal speaks with Lamoine Weber, hospital apprentice first class, U.S. Naval Reserve, who was wounded during the invasion. (Photo: Mudd Manuscript Library)

    Forrestal, a 1915 Princeton alumnus and a Wall Street businessman, was the first U.S. secretary of defense, overseeing the unification of the U.S. military departments in 1947. He previously served as assistant to President Franklin Roosevelt as well as undersecretary and secretary of the Navy. His papers date from his service in the U.S. government during and immediately after World War II. The finding aids for the George F. Kennan Papers and the James V. Forrestal Papers are available online. The processing of these papers was completed in June and managed by project archivist Adriane Hanson. It was made possible through the support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. As part of this project, the Arnold A. Rogow Papers on James V. Forrestal also were processed. The Rogow papers are composed of materials he collected for his book James Forrestal: A Study of Personality, Politics and Policy (1963) and include correspondence with individuals who knew Forrestal, Rogow's notes and other research materials. The finding aid is available online.

    For further information about these collections or about conducting research at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, visit the library website.


    John Quincy Adams on Twitter

    The Adams Papers project at the Massachusetts Historical Society was funded originally by Time-Life Inc. and the Ford Foundation. At present funding is provided primarily by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Packard Humanities Institute, with additional funding from The Florence Gould Foundation and private donors. In addition to the popular HBO series, John Adams, the project has been attracting attention for its daily tweets.

    On June 27, 1809, President James Madison appointed John Quincy Adams (JQA) minister plenipotentiary to Russia. On August 5, 1809, JQA set sail for St. Petersburg. In addition to writing long entries in one of his diary volumes, JQA also summarized each day of his trip in his line-a-day diary volume. Since August 5, 2009, the Massachusetts Historical Society has been posting John Quincy Adams's line-a-day diary entries on Twitter.

    News of the JQA Twitter spread like a virus over the Internet, with news stories appearing in the Boston Globe and various blogs. The Associated Press picked up the story which ran in literally hundreds of media outlets around the world. Various versions of that soon appeared in Computerworld, Switched, CNET, and many other technology-oriented sites. The project was then featured in the New York Times, NPR's Morning Edition, CNN's Political Ticker blog, ABC's World News Tonight and by MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. By mid-September, over 15,000 people were following the daily accounts of a journey made 200 years ago.

    John Quincy Adams Tweets


    NHPRC News is published every other month. If you have news you wish to share or would like to receive an e-mail alert when the next issue is available, please contact Keith Donohue, Director for Communications, at