On Saturday, March 31, during the 100th Annual Meeting of the the Organization of American Historians (OAH) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, CHNM Director Roy Rosenzweig was presented with the OAH Distinguished Service Award for an individual or individuals whose contributions have significantly enriched the understanding and appreciation of American history:
The executive board recognizes Roy Rosenzweig, George Mason University, for his outstanding contributions to labor and public history, and his dedication to reaching new and diverse audiences as expressed in his pioneering efforts in the uses of digital technology and new media. Over his more than thirty-year career, Rosenzweig’s work has served as a model of collaborative, public-spirited service and research.Roy Rosenzweig is the Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of History and New Media; College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History; and Director of the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, where he has taught since 1981. Rosenzweig earned his Ph.D. in history at Harvard (1978). His dissertation, later published as Eight Hours for What We Will: Workers and Leisure in an Industrial City, 1880-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 1983) insisted that explorations into popular amusements and pastimes are as central to our understanding of working class politics as voting patterns, strikes, and shop floor protests. The Park and the People: A History of Central Park, coauthored with Elizabeth Blackmar (Cornell University Press, 1992) won prizes for urban history, historic preservation, and New York history, and remains the definitive study of the park. In The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (1998), Rosenzweig and coauthor David Thelen challenged us to move beyond our pessimism regarding Americans’ lack of historical knowledge, and to appreciate our publics’ deep personal connections to the past through the compilation of genealogies, memorabilia collections, and museum visits.
Rosenzweig is unmatched among his peers as an advocate for new media and technology and he has guided (and sometimes gently pushed) many of us through the technological revolution. He has been associated with a list of pioneering media projects which includes the American Social History Project CD-ROM, Who Built America? (2000); his additional participation as an editor and author of the print volumes represented a culmination of a life’s dedication to history “from the bottom up” for Roy and many of his colleagues at the ASHP. In 1994 Rosenzweig founded the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, which has been at the forefront of efforts to use new media and digital technology to promote an inclusive and democratic understanding of the past, while reaching new and diverse audiences.
A life member of the OAH, Rosenzweig has aided numerous organizational programs and committees over the past seventeen years. He played a lead role in incorporating electronic technology into the various programs and operations, including serving on the electronic advisory committee.
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.