4 Fed. Hist. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/fedhijrl4 and id is 1 raw text is: Roger R. Trask Award Lecture, 2011

The RogerR. TraskAward and Fund was established by the SHFG to honor the memory and
distinguished career of the late SHFG President and longtime federal history pioneer and
mentor Roger R. Trask. The award is presented to persons whose careers and achievements
reflect a commitment to, and an understanding of the unique importance offederal history
work and the SHFG's mission. Philip L. Cantelon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
of History Associates Incorporated, delivered the Trask Lecture at the Society's annual
conference at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, March 31, 2011.
Crisis and Change: In the Company of Clio
Philip L. Cantelon
I could not be more pleased than to be the Society's recipient of the Roger Trask
Award for 2011, especially in regard to the theme of this year's conference, Federal
History in Times of National Crisis and Change. The Society for History in the Federal
Government is a good example of an organization formed in the crucible of crisis-the
job shortage for trained historians in the 1970s-that changed the way federal history
and federal history offices were viewed from outside the government and from within.
Roger Trask personified those changes. He embraced the role as the Society's conscience
and parliamentarian, prodding it to be more inclusive,
more active in defending federal history programs even as
department budget constraints, congressional inquiries,
and executive indifference threatened several historical
programs in the 1980s and 1990s.
Three decades ago federal historians and their allies effected
change during a crisis-most notably in the creation of the
Society and the victory for National Archives independence
from the General Services Administration (GSA). Why
some 30 years and a generation of historians ago? The fundamental answer lies in
the unemployment crisis that led many historians to accept positions with the federal
government, seen at that time as an employer of last resort for historians coming out
of Ph.D. programs with few teaching prospects. That influx created a critical mass of
disaffected underemployed professionals, who tapped into the existing discontent of

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