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Federal History News

2017 Sacknoff Prize for Space History – Call for Papers. Awarded since 2011, the Prize is designed to encourage research and writing by university students in the area of space history. Eligibility – Students must be enrolled at educational institutions (undergraduate or graduate) at the time of submittal and working toward a degree. Papers already published or scheduled for publication in another journal will NOT be accepted. Deadline – Must be received by 14 November 2017. Criteria for Submission – Manuscripts should not exceed 10,000 words and should be typed and in English. Submissions should emphasize in-depth research, with adequate citations of the sources utilized. Originality of ideas is important. Diagrams, graphs, images,and/or photographs may be included. Although works must be historical in character, they can draw on disciplines other than history, eg. cultural studies, literature, communications, economics, engineering, science, etc.  Possible subjects include, but are not limited to, comparative or international studies of the history of spaceflight, historical aspects of space companies and their leaders; regulation of the space business; financial and economic aspects of the space industry; the social effects of spaceflight; space technology development; the space environment; and space systems design, engineering, and safety. Submission Instructions –  Electronic and importable into Word / PDF; A cover letter with the student’s address, email,school, program, advisor, and stage in studies; Send to: scott@spacehistory101.comAdditional Information:

OAH Richard W. Leopold Prize — DEADLINE: SUBMISSIONS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY OCTOBER 2, 2017The Richard W. Leopold Prize is given biennially by the Organization of American Historians to the author or editor of the best book on foreign policy, military affairs, historical activities of the federal government, documentary histories, or biography written by a U.S. government historian or federal contract historian. These subjects cover the concerns and the historical fields of activity of the late Professor Leopold, who was president of the OAH 1976–1977. The prize was designed to improve contacts and interrelationships within the historical profession where an increasing number of history-trained scholars hold distinguished positions in governmental agencies. The prize recognizes the significant historical work being done by historians outside academe. Each entry must be published during the two-year period January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017. For full information and submission details, visit

2017 Spurgeon Neel Award — The Army Medical Department Museum Foundation is pleased to sponsor the 2017 Spurgeon Neel Annual Award competition for the article of 5000 words or less that best exemplifies the history, legacy, and traditions of the Army Medical Department. Named in honor of Major General (Retired) Spurgeon H. Neel, first Commanding General of Health Services Command (now U.S. Army Medical Command), the award competition is open to all federal employees, military and civilian, as well as non-governmental civilian authors who submit manuscripts for publishing consideration. The AMEDD Museum Foundation will present a special medallion award and a $1000 monetary prize to the winner, who will be notified in advance, at a Foundation-sponsored event early in 2018. All manuscripts must be submitted to the AMEDD Museum Foundation,, by 30 September 2017. At the time of submission, a manuscript must be original work and not pending publication in any other periodical. It must conform to the Writing and Submission Guidance of the AMEDD Journal, and must relate to the history, legacy and/or traditions of the Army Medical Department. Manuscripts will be reviewed and evaluated by a six-member committee appointed by the President of the AMEDD Museum Foundation. The winning manuscript will be selected no later than December 2017. Additional detail concerning the Spurgeon Neel Annual Award may be obtained by contacting Mrs. Sue McMasters at the AMEDD Museum Foundation, 210-226-0265.

Nov. 1–2, 2018. “World War I and Its Immediate Aftermath.” Tenth Blount Postal History Symposium. Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Washington, DC. Call for papers and information:

Celebrate the Five Year Anniversary of Community Transcription with the Papers of the War Department  — Celebrate the five year anniversary of community sourced transcription with the Papers of the War Department 1784–1800 ( An ongoing innovative documentary editing project, the Papers of the War Department is comprised of over 42,000 digitized manuscript documents made freely accessible on the web by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) ( In 2011, RRCHNM embarked on the effort to engage the larger community of citizen historians in the process of transcribing these important documents. By transcribing the digitized manuscripts, users contribute to the collection’s usability and searchability. March 17, 2016, marks five years since the launch of the community transcription project  Papers of the War Department and we are delighted at its success thus far. After a devastating fire at the United States War Office in 1800, what has been considered the “national archive” of its time was thought lost. The collection was reassembled from scattered fragments found in over 200 diverse repositories before being transferred to the RRCHNM in 2006. These documents are invaluable sources of information on militia and army matters in the Early Republic. The War Department was responsible for frontier diplomacy, Indian affairs, veteran affairs as well as being a considerable commercial goods consumer. Since inviting members of the community to assist with the transcription effort in 2011, the Papers of the War Department has amassed 2,538 registered users. These users come from varying backgrounds including genealogists, public historians, students and educators from all levels of educational institutions, and members of Native American tribes. With the help from these community transcribers, the Papers of the War Department now has over 1,500 documents transcribed, totaling 6,279 pages. Without the hard work and dedication of our community transcribers, the Papers of the War Department would not have been as successful. We are ecstatic with the contributions the project has received over these first five years and look forward to seeing its continued growth. The Papers of the War Department was made possible through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Library Announces Application Development Grant Opportunity — Funds Available to Create Educational Apps on Congress and Civics.  The Library of Congress today announced up to $950,000 will be provided to one or more grantees to support the development of engaging web- and mobile-based applications on the subjects of Congress and civic participation, for use in the classroom. The Library seeks to identify one or more organizations who can work with its Teaching With Primary Sources (TPS) program develop online interactives and mobile apps on Congress and civic participation, designed for use in K-12 education. The selected partners will be expected to use and incorporate not only the Library’s online primary sources, but also the many other resources available online from the Library of Congress. See announcement at

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights: Completing the Constitution — The eBook focuses on James Madison’s leadership role in creating the Bill of Rights, effectively completing the U.S. Constitution. Starting with the crises facing the nation in the 1780s, the narrative traces the call for constitutional amendments from the state ratification conventions. Through close examination of the featured document, Senate Revisions to the House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the reader goes inside the First Congress, as Madison and the leaders of rival political factions worked in the House and Senate to formulate amendments to change the recently ratified Constitution. It was created as part of the Congress Created the Bill of Rights project. The eBook is available for download on our website and on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch with iBooks.

Timeline of Federal History —Dates and events critical to the work of historians tracing the development of the federal government:

USDA Celebrates Civil Rights Act Anniversary — The Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with a forum featuring several Freedom Riders. The Riders’ efforts confronted directly the Jim Crow laws of the South, raised national and international awareness of the racial restrictions and injustice, and led the way for the call for a full Civil Rights Act. The USDA has posted a video of the event that features brief interviews with former Riders Rev. Reginald Green and Joan Mulholland. See the August 22, 2014, USDA video “Review” at The USDA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights has also worked with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History by displaying their traveling Freedom Riders exhibit at USDA’s Whitten Building located in Washington, DC, through September 17, 2014. The very comprehensive exhibit explores the Freedom Rides through detailed narratives, photographs and newspaper clippings. An online version of the exhibit, created as a companion to PBS’s AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, is available:

The Founders Online — The Founders Online is a new website at the National Archives at It was created through a partnership between the University of Virginia Press and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grantmaking arm of the National Archives. For the first time, it combines the papers of six Founding Fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison in a fully searchable database. Over 119,000 documents, fully annotated, are included. In addition, as NHPRC Communications Director Keith Donohue reports, the site allows collation of searches in various ways across the collections, with results that will enable new insights into the Founders’ relationships and contributions. Donohue provides examples of the benefits:  “Assemble the Founders’ views on slavery into a single set of search results in which many of the original documents do not use the word at all” and Trace the Founders’ letters and diaries and debates leading up to the Constitutional Convention, their thoughts during the meetings in Philadelphia, the ratification of the Constitution by the states, and how the Washington administration, first Congress, and first Supreme Court implemented the grand experiment.” Visit

Duke University Oral History Project — At Duke University, history professor Edward Balleisen is leading a project to create an online gateway to regulatory oral histories—oral histories with regulators, the regulated, or political actors who were instrumental in creating or changing regulatory agencies or frameworks. As part of the project, we are working to catalog and tag the most relevant oral histories to make them more accessible as well as to help sort through what interviews have been conducted and the work that remains to be done. We have identified several caches, such as those at the SEC Historical Society, the Columbia Center for Oral History (e.g. its FCC project), and the FDA, but we hope to draw on the knowledge of this list’s members to target individual interviews or other rich collections of oral histories regarding regulatory agencies, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere, at any level of government. We understand that some federal agencies have oral history projects whose interviews are not open to the public.  Our interest is in creating an extant database of digitally accessible oral histories for use by researchers.  But please do also let us know if you’re aware of relevant oral histories that remain in analog without a digital transcript but which are available to the public if they travel to the archive. Please e-mail any tips, leads, or general thoughts on the project to or

Smithsonian Institution Archives — Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives:  In 2012, the IHD launched a new website on Joseph Henry (1797–1878), the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, from 1846 to 1878. The website covers his career as a scientist and as a science administrator. See “Joseph Henry:  A Life in Science” at – - – In July 2012 “‘When Time and Duty Permit’: Smithsonian Collecting in World War II” opened in the ground floor of the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit focuses on the Smithsonian’s role in the Pacific during World War II, providing geographic and scientific information on the Pacific, identifying disease-carrying pests, and encouraging soldiers stationed at remote locations to collect new specimens for the National Museum. The exhibit was curated by Smithsonian Historian Pamela M. Henson and will be on display until May of 2013. For additional information, see

Publications from the Bureau of Reclamation — The Bureau of Reclamation’s history program is able to offer copies of the following Reclamation publications to interested historians: –  Billington, David P., with Donald C. Jackson and Martin V. Melosi. The History of Large Federal Dams: Planning, Design, and Construction. Denver, Colorado: Bureau of Reclamation, 2005;    Linenberger, Toni Rae. Dams, Dynamos, and Development: The Bureau of Reclamation’s Power Program and Electrification of the West. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002.;   Rowley, William D. The Bureau of Reclamation: Origins and Growth to 1945. Volume 1. Denver, Colorado: Bureau of Reclamation, 2006. Available from the Government Printing Office. Volume 2 will be published in December 2012/January 2013 and will also then be available;  United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau of Reclamation: History Essays from the Centennial Symposium, edited by Brit Allan Storey, 2 volumes. Denver: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2008.  Order copies by phoning Andrew Gahan at (303) 445-3314 or e-mailing him at

U.S. Army Center of Military History Civil War Site: The U.S. Army Center of Military History recently launched a new Web page dedicated to commemorating U.S. Army operations in the Civil War as part of America’s Sesquicentennial commemoration of the War. The page is composed of a brief overview of the commemorative event, a timeline that lists significant actions, any published works that CMH has produced or archival material that it maintains, artwork and photographs, as well as a section with links to other organizations. As we mentioned during the Commemoration panel at the last SHFG Conference, CMH will be pleased to include additional links to other government organizations engaged in Civil War commemoration. If you are interested in linking your organization to CMH’s page, please contact Dr. Thomas Boghardt at Visitors may access the site by going to

Library of Congress: The Library’s Interpretive Programs Office has opened a new online exhibit titled “The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs from the Liljenquist Family Collection.” This collection features rare and candid images most of which have never been exhibited before. See

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