Federal Historians

Federal historians have a different set of responsibilities than academic historians largely because they fulfill the unique needs and missions of their agencies. In addition to research and teaching, they must often prepare research reports, specialized histories, educational curricula, finding aids and inventories for records, interpretative summaries for the public, and museum exhibits. Their responsibilities are not only to the rigorous standards of scholarship but to the varied office requirements for internal information and for public education.

1.—For a gateway to resources for those working in federal history-related work, see the SHFG web site at www.shfg.org

– articles, Directory, news, events calendar, recent publications, reviews, and our journal

2.—For a good overall introduction to those varied duties and opportunities, see

What Do Federal Historians Do?” By Victoria A. Harden
(From the Public History column in the May 1999 Perspectives)

3.—For an ongoing look at the work of federal history offices written by federal historians, read The Federalist

You may also subscribe to The Federalist by joining SHFG

4.—To learn of events and announcements in the federal history community, subscribe to the free listserv H-FedHist

Related listservs are

H-DC, Washington, D.C. History
H-Diplo, Diplomatic History and International Affairs
H-Law, Legal and Constitutional History
H-Maritime, Maritime History
H-Pol, U.S. Political History
H-Public, Public History
H-War, Military History

5.—Interviews by Benjamin Guterman in The Federalist newsletter
at http://shfg.org/shfg/programs/interviews/

Interviews of

Steven Dick
Chief Historian, NASA History Division (Issue 2, Summer 2004)

Richard Baker
U.S. Senate Historian (Issue 22, Summer 2009)

David S. Ferriero
Archivist of the United States (Issue 26, Summer 2010)

Stacey Bredhoff
curator, John F. Kennedy Library (Issue 36, Winter 2012–13)

Charlene Bangs Bickford
Director of the First Federal Congress Project (Issue 37, Spring 2013)

Robert S. Arrighi
archivist/historian, NASA’s Glenn Research Center (Issue 38, Summer 2013)

Victoria A. Harden
former Historian, Office of NIH History (Issue 39, Fall 2013)

Jeffrey G. Barlow
historian, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (Issue 40, Winter 2013-14)

Samuel W. Rushay
supervisory archivist, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum (Issue 41, Spring 2014)