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2019 Roger Trask Award

Marian Smith

2019 Award Winners 

SHFG Individual Member Award
Samuel Walker, Most of 14th Street is Gone

Long-time SHFG member and former Historian for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, J. Samuel Walker, is the recipient of the 2019 Society for History in the Federal Government Member Award for his recent publication, Most of 14th Street is Gone. This book provides an in-depth account of the 1968 Washington DC riots. For readers with little knowledge of the nation’s capital and its development, Walker provides a succinct history of DC, exploring the collaboration,and sometimes confrontation, between federal and local government.  Race, he contends, shaped the city.  Well before the 1968 riots, dilapidated neighborhoods were common and so too was poverty for African American residents. Walker’s engaging narrative reveals the relevancy and importance of the upheaval throughout the city and the government’s role in attempting to stem the unrest during this consequential period in Washington DC history.

SHFG Group Member Award
U.S. House Office of the Historian

This year’s winner of the Society’s Group Member Award is the House Office of the Historian’s four volume series on women and minorities in Congress: Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress, Hispanic Americans in Congress, Black Americans in Congress, Women in Congress.

The Office of the Historian studies and documents the rich history of the United States House of Representatives as a resource for Members, staff, scholars, the media, and the public. It both serves as the House’s institutional memory and strives to inspire greater understanding about that body’s central role in U.S. history. The Committee felt these works further the understanding and history of the federal government, and are invaluable resources for anyone researching the women and minorities who have served in Congress as well as the institution itself.

Henry Adams Book Prize
Matthew R. Pembleton, Containing Addiction: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Origins of America’s Global Drug War

This year’s winner of the Henry Adams Book Prize is Containing Addiction: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Origins of America's Global Drug War by Matthew R. Pembleton.

Pembleton is an historian of 20th century America with a focus on government, U.S. public health and safety, and the relationships between politics and culture, citizen and state, and the U.S. and the world. Pembleton has taught at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Howard Community College, and American University. He is also a Fellow at the DC Policy Center and a history consultant at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Containing Addiction, Pembleton’s first book, tells the story of the nation's first drug enforcement agency and the country’s long history of the war on drugs. The Committee felt the book shed light on a little known aspect of federal history, was well researched, and was a pleasure to read.

James Madison Article Prize
Dr. Thomas Boghardt, “Semper Vigilis: The U.S. Army Security Agency in Early Cold War Germany”

Dr. Thomas Boghardt is the recipient of this years’ James Madison Prize for his article "Semper Vigilis: The U.S. Army Security Agency in Early Cold War Germany," which appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of Army History Magazine. “Semper Vigilis” provides a highly engaging window onto a complex and understudied chapter intelligence history. Drawing on a diverse set of previously underutilized and recently declassified primary sources, the article tells the story of the Army’s attempt to gather signals intelligence and information on both its allies and the Soviet Union during the first years of the Cold War. Dr. Boghardt is a Master Author at the U.S. Army Center of Military History where he is currently writing a two volume official history of U.S. Army intelligence operations in early Cold War Germany.

Excellence in New Media Award
United States Citizen and Immigration Services

The selection committee for SHFG’s Excellence in New Media all felt that USCIS’s short documentary, USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island, was a timely product that showed its viewers the long-standing role of the federal government in the immigration process. Additionally, it highlighted the quality of historic scholarship done by federal historians and the ability of federal historians to present their work to a wide audience.

Through historical images, first-hand accounts, and expert interviews, ​USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island ​brought to life the important work of the men and women who operated Ellis Island. It introduced audiences to USCIS’ origins and showed how the work performed on Ellis Island still influences the agency and its workforce. It is the story of federal employees told by federal historians.

John Wesley Powell Prize
Department of the Interior Museum

The Department of the Interior Museum’s exhibit People, Land, and Water has been chosen as the recipient of this year's John Wesley Powell Prize for outstanding achievement in the field of historic exhibits and interpretive products.

The award committee made the selection because the project is an excellent example of the concept of federal history as public history. The use of in-depth research and collaboration and the consideration of multiple audiences and learning styles have resulted in the development of a richly textured and visually appealing exhibit on the history of the Department of the Interior. The exhibit has served as a model for two other federal agencies and its innovative use of materials expands access to visitors of all physical abilities. The accompanying orientation film demonstrates an excellent use of primary source materials to tackle the complex and sometimes controversial evolution of the Department in a well-balanced and engaging manner.


Society for History in the Federal Government
PO BOX 14139
Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044

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