Bringing together government professionals, academics, consultants, students, and citizens interested in understanding federal history work and the historical development of the federal government.


Current Winners

2017 AWARDSWashington DC 3 color-web--

The Society for History in the Federal Government is pleased to announce the winners of its annual prize competition.  The Society’s prestigious awards recognize exemplary works of history presented in diverse formats for a variety of audiences, all of which further understanding of the history of the federal government.  The awards will be presented at the Society’s annual meeting on April 13 at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  Congratulations to all of our 2016/2017 winners.  For more information on the Society for History in the Federal Government and its awards program, go to

For more information on the annual meeting, go to:

This year’s prize recipients are:


This annual award is given for an outstanding major publication on the federal government’s history.

Matthew Dallek, Defenseless Under the Night:  The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security, Oxford University Press, 2016.

Dr. Dallek is Assistant Professor of Political Management at George Washington University.  Dallek shows that before Pearl Harbor Americans feared foreign invasions, air attacks, and biological warfare.  To meet these threats, President Franklin Roosevelt established the Office of Civilian Defense, the precursor to the Department of Homeland Security.  Dallek explores constitutional questions about civil liberties, the role and power of government propaganda, and the depth of militarization of civilian life that swirled around the Office of Civilian Defense when it was established before World War II and that continued through the war.

>>Prize Committee review



This annual award is given for an outstanding major publication, on the federal government’s history produced by or for a federal history program.

Timothy Davis, National Park Roads:  A Legacy in the American Landscape, University of Virginia Press, 2016.

Timothy Davis is a Historian with the U.S. National Park Service.  In this extensively researched and richly illustrated book, Davis highlights the unique qualities of park roads, details the factors influencing their design and development, and examines their role in shaping the national park experience.  Davis shows how the National Park Service has had to grapple with balancing preservation with access to America’s most treasured landscapes.



This annual award is given for excellence in an article or essay that deals with any aspect of the federal government’s history

Brian Gratton and Emily Klancher Merchant, “La Raza:  Mexicans in the United States Census,” Journal of Policy History (Volume 28, No. 4, 2016)



This annual award is given for excellence in an article or essay that deals with any aspect of the federal government’s history written in or for a federal history program.

Thomas Faith, “ ‘It Would Be Very Well If We Could Avoid It:’ General Pershing and Chemical Warfare,” The Historian, 78:3 (Fall 2016)



The Jefferson Prize recognizes excellence in documentary editions and research tools published within the previous two calendar years.

The Papers of Andrew Jackson, Volume X, 1832, edited by Daniel Feller, Thomas Coens, and Laura-Eve Moss. University of Tennessee Press, 2016



The Powell Prize commemorates the explorer and federal administrator whose work demonstrated early recognition of the importance of historic preservation and historical display.

1)  50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Pentagon Commemorative Exhibit, Department of Defense, Pentagon, Washington, DC

2)   Treasured Landscapes: National Park Service Art Collections Tell America’s Stories – Virtual Museum Exhibit and Book, National Park Service Museum Management Program, Washington, DC .



Sam Walker


no award this year


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