Joyce Appleby wins OAH award

Historians in the News

Joyce Appleby, professor emerita, University of California, Los Angeles, has been selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2009 Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award, which is given annually to an individual whose contributions have significantly enriched our understanding and appreciation of American history. On Saturday, March 28, OAH President Pete Daniel and President-Elect Elaine Tyler May will present the award in Seattle, Washington, during the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Organization.

Joyce Appleby is one of America’s foremost historians. She is best known for her work on the political ideology of the Early Republic, with titles such as Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Jeffersonian Vision of the 1790s (1984), Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination (1992), and Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans (2000). She has also spoken to controversial issues of interest to all historians in books such as Telling the Truth about History (1994) written with Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob, Knowledge and Postmodernism in Historical Perspective (1996), and A Restless Past: History and the American Public (2005).

Beyond her scholarship, Professor Appleby has served the profession in a remarkable variety of ways. She chaired a history department (UCLA), worked on editorial boards (such as The American Historical Review and The William and Mary Quarterly), read her way through prize committees, and lavished attention on K-12 teachers of American History. She has occupied positions that are as time-intensive and demanding as they are honorific: presidencies of the Organization of American Historians (1991), the American Historical Association (1997), and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (1999). Her service to the OAH alone has included chairing the program committee, chairing the budget review committee, chairing the ad hoc Committee on International Initiatives, volunteering for the lectureship program, and editing the inaugural volume of an annual OAH series, The Best American History Essays (2006). While president of the OAH, she secured $2 million from Congress for establishing American Studies libraries in 59 universities outside Western Europe and the United States. With James Banner she founded and continues to codirect the History News Service. This informal organization distributes op-ed pieces written by historians to over 300 newspapers a week. Many of the pieces that it distributes put public policy in historical context, as do the op-ed pieces that Professor Appleby herself has written for the HNS. Time may prove that this is among her greatest contributions to the profession. It is with great pleasure that the OAH Executive Board bestows its Distinguished Service Award on Joyce Appleby.

Founded in 1907, OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the U.S. and abroad include college and university professors; students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.

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