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Outstanding Historian Honored

22 March 2011

Dr. Tity de Vries, University of Groningen, has been selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2010 David Thelen Award, which is given biennially for the best article in American history published in a foreign language. On Saturday, March 19, OAH President David A. Hollinger and President-Elect Alice Kessler-Harris will present the award in Houston, Texas, during the 104th annual meeting of the organization.

According to the David Thelen Award Committee, de Vries’s article Opmaat tot Watergate: het eerste CIA-schandaal (“The 1967 CIA Scandal—Catalyst in a Transforming Relationship Between State and People” published by Boom Uitgevers Den Haag in Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis) analyzes the 1967 disclosure of secret CIA funding of national American organizations as a watershed scandal that contributed greatly to the increasingly cynical relationship between the U.S. administration and the American people. The emergence of “watchdog journalism” played a crucial role in publicizing this scandal, which played an important role in the radicalization and polarization of American public culture. The nonprofit beneficiaries of the secret funds were accused of being pawns of the government in the charged Cold War politics of the time. Studies of the CIA’s efforts to undermine liberal organizations consider this

scandal a prelude to the later CHAOS and COINTELPRO operations. This scandal allows historians to focus on the agents and complex process of transformation which resulted in a fundamentally changed relationship between the administration and the American people, a process confirmed by the 1974 impeachment procedure against President Nixon.

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.

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