About ASHP

The American Social History Project has helped to change the ways that Americans learn history. For more than forty years, we’ve written books, produced documentaries, created digital and online programming, and organized activities that encourage people’s critical thinking about the past. We have also developed classroom resources and led professional development seminars that help teachers in New York City and across the nation to use new scholarship, technology, and methods to promote social history and the development of historical thinking skills in their classrooms. Informed by the latest scholarship, we make the past, and the lives of the working people and “ordinary” Americans who shaped it, vivid and meaningful.


Founded in 1981 by labor historians Herbert Gutman and Stephen Brier, in 1990 the American Social History Project became an official research center at The City University of New York. Known as the Center for Media and Learning, it affiliated with The Graduate Center, The City University’s doctorate-granting institution, in 1996. The next year, ASHP began to facilitate the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab, which provides technology, support, and community to assist students and faculty who want to integrate digital technology into their research and teaching. The organization is now most commonly known as ASHP/CML, combining our public and university identities. American Social History Productions, Inc. serves as our not-for-profit subsidiary and holds the copyright to all text, documentary, and multimedia materials produced by the American Social History Project.


In addition to support from The City University of New York, over the years the ASHP/CML has received funding from numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Kellogg Foundation. Our projects have benefited from extensive collaboration with a wide range of public history, academic, media, and labor organizations, including the New York City Department of Education, Thirteen/WNET New York, International Ladies Garment Workers Union, The Jewish Museum, Henry Street Settlement, New Jersey Historical Society, and many more. For a complete list of our funders and partners, click here.


Cited as a model for public humanities and educational programming, ASHP/CML’s projects and programs have earned numerous awards and accolades. Our work has won Teacher’s Choice Awards, been nominated for Daytime Emmys, and been awarded the National Council on Public History’s Robert Kelley Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to public history and the American Historical Association’s James Harvey Robinson Prize for outstanding contribution to the teaching and learning of history. In addition, ASHP/CML has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Association of Museums, and other organizations.  For a list of the recognitions we have received, click here.

While no longer updated or ongoing, these public history projects and professional learning programs served hundreds of history and humanities faculty in New York City and around the country and provided the foundation for our current work.