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Annual Richard G. Hewlett Lecture

Each fall, the Society hosts a lecture or panel discussion honoring our founding member, Richard Hewlett. 

2019 Hewlett Lecture: 
Celebrating 40 Years of the
Society for History in the Federal Government 

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of SHFG, the 2019 Hewlett Lecture will feature a roundtable of past presidents and founding SHFG members. Phil Cantelon, Pete Daniel, Arnita Jones, Lee Ann Potter, and Terrance Rucker will discuss the achievements and evolution of the Society and federal government history over the past 40 years. Biographies below. 

October 24, 2019
Roundtable from 5:30 to 6:30 pm

Reception 6:30 to 8 pm
Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Washington, DC

This event is free to SHFG members
and $10 for non-members. 
Become a member of SHFG

In Memorium

Richard G. Hewlett passed away on September 1, 2015, at the age of 92. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, he lived in the Washington area for 64 years. He served in the Army Air Force as an electronics-weather specialist in China during WWII. He then earned a Ph.D. in history the University of Chicago. He served as chief historian of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and its successor agencies from 1957 to 1980, co-authoring a 3-volume Atomic Energy Commission history and a history of the Nuclear Navy that remain important resources today. As a federal historian he recognized the importance of organizing public historians to promote the effectiveness of their work, and was instrumental in the founding of the National Council on Public History. In the late 1970s he led the AHA’s Federal Resource group and the National Coordinating Council in efforts to improve the federal employment standards of the 171 historian series.

Hewlett was centrally involved in the creation of the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG). He helped organize meetings of a small group of federal historians who met informally several times at the Department of Energy, encouraging younger members to become involved. The group soon organized as the SHFG. To further that community, he led the push for a federal directory of historians, championed the creation of more federal history offices, and drafted an influential set of “Principles and Standards” that were adopted over other proposed standards. He early on urged the independence of the National Archives. At the first SHFG dinner and lecture Richard Hewlett (1980) spoke about his 25-year career as a federal historian. In honor of his distinguished service to the cause of federal history, this annual lecture bears his name. Hewlett left the federal government in 1980 to become an historical consultant, helping to form History Associates Inc.

Biographies of Roundtable Participants 

Phil Cantelon is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds advanced degrees in history from the University of Michigan and Indiana University.  He taught contemporary American history at Williams College for 9 years (1968-1977), came to Washington on an IPA to work in the policy office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (1974-1975), and was a senior Fulbright professor in Japan in 1978-1979.  He returned to Washington in the spring of 1979 to write a history of Three Mile Island for the Department of Energy (DOE), arguably the first history of a current event by professional historians. He was a founder and incorporator of both the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG) and the National Council on Public History (NCPH), and served as the first executive secretary for both organizations.  He also served as SHFG President from 1995-1996. With Richard Hewlett, Rodney Carlisle, and Robert Williams, he founded History Associates Incorporated in the summer of 1980, serving as the company’s president and chief executive officer for more than a quarter century. He has written histories of two NIH institutes, the Defense Nuclear Agency (with Jesse Stiller), the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (with J. Samuel Walker), the telephone company MCI, two national trucking companies, Roadway and Consolidated Freightways (with Kenneth Durr), the World Association of Nuclear Operators, and with Arnita Jones co-edited Corporate Archives and History.

Pete Daniel was a founding member and former SHFG president (2010-2011). With other society members, Daniel was drawn into the movement to free the National Archives from the General Services Administration (GSA), an effort that led to the introduction of an independence bill introduced by Senator Robert Morgan on June 19, 1980.  Daniel has written seven books, held the presidency of four historical organizations, and, in addition to teaching university for a dozen years, spent 27 years as a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH).

Arnita Jones has been involved with several public history institutions over the last several decades.  A graduate of Emory University’s doctoral program in history, she has served as a Program Officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a senior historian with History Associates Incorporated, Executive Secretary of the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and, most recently, as Executive Directory of the American Historical Association (AHA).  In the late 1970s, while working at the AHA on organizing the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History (NCCPH)--now the National Coalition for History (NCH)--she was instrumental in the development of the first survey of federal historical offices, an effort that paved the way for the founding of the Society for History in the Federal Government.  She was also a founder and officer of the National Council on Public History and, most recently, the International Federation for Public History (IFPH). Her recent article in the inaugural issue of  International Public History published by DeGruyter Press, chronicles much of this history.  She also co-edited Corporate Archives and History with Phil Cantelon.

Lee Ann Potter directs the Office of Learning and Innovation at the Library of Congress, where she has worked since 2013.  Sheleads a talented team committed to developing educational programs, partnerships, and materials, connected to the Library’s collections, that are valued by teachers, students, and families. Before coming to the Library, she created and directed education and volunteer programs at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for 16 years.  Prior to that, she worked at the Smithsonian on a project to build museum-school partnerships, and before that, was a high school social studies teacher. During the 2009-2010 school year, she served as a Fulbright Roving Scholar of American Studies in Norway. She has been a member of SHFG since 2002; serving on the Executive Council from 2005-2007, as Vice President from 2007-2008, and President from 2008-2009.

Terrance Rucker is a Historical Publications Specialist in the Office of the Historian at the U.S. House of Representatives.  He assists with editing the online Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.  Terrance is also a contributing writer to the four–volume Minorities in Congress series. Terrance served on the SHFG Executive Council and Nominating Committee and as Vice President and President. He also served as a co–editor of the Society’s newsletter, The Federalist, and the Federal History journal.  Terrance graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in history in 1998 and an M.A. in history from The George Washington University in 2007.  A Ph.D. candidate at The George Washington University, Terrance is writing a dissertation about Congressional delegates in the Rocky Mountain West during the Civil War era.


Society for History in the Federal Government
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