American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

April 2007

ASHP/CML Marks Its Silver Anniversary

Still Crazy After All These Years

On March 6, ASHP/CML celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding in a gala event held in the City University Graduate Center’s Dining Commons. Under the looming shadow of the Empire State Building, 150 staff (past and present), friends, and colleagues gathered for an evening of eating, greeting, reunions, and reflections about our longevity, what we’ve achieved over the last quarter-century- and what we still need to accomplish!

Left to right: Keynote Speaker Jill Lapore, Harvard University. Former ASHP staff Linda Ellman, ASHP Executive Director Josh Brown and Creative Director WTC Memorial Museum Michael Shulan. ASHP Board Member Wendy Wolf, Architectural Historian Marta Gutman (daughter of ASHP Co-Founder Herbert Gutman) and ASHP Inc. Board President Steve Brier.
25th Anniversary
Left to right: ASHP Board Chair Carol Groneman. New Media Lab (NML) Managing Director Andrea Vasquez and former NML researchers Fernando Azevedo and Luke Waltzer. Guests at reception.

The program for the event included retrospection from the likes of current ASHP/CML executive director Josh Brown, co-founder Steve Brier, and ASHP board chair Carol Groneman, and new assessments by GC president William Kelly and Harvard historian Jill Lepore. Lepore’s keynote address placed ASHP/CML’s books, documentaries, CD-ROMs, websites, and education programs in the context of the ups and downs of a generation of social history scholarship. In an effort to relieve some of the solemnity, the program ended with a 15-minute documentary chronicling, with a jaundiced eye and mockingly portentous narration, our triumphs and occasional tragedies. It was, in all, a wonderful evening and we plan an even more resplendent event when our 50th anniversary rolls around.

2007 Herbert G. Gutman Memorial Lecture

Historian Joshua Freeman to Speak on Gutman’s Legacy: Writing the History of Postwar America Twenty Years Later

On Tuesday, April 17, Joshua B. Freeman, Professor of History at The Graduate Center, will deliver the 2007 lecture in recognition of the life and work of the late labor historian and co-founder of ASHP/CML, Herbert Gutman. Freeman will revisit Gutman’s scholarship to examine its implications for writing the history of the United States since World War II. One of the original authors of our Who Built America? textbook (the third edition of which will be published by Bedford Books late this year), Freeman’ most recent book is Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II. The event, co-sponsored by ASHP/CML, the Herbert G. Gutman Memorial Fund, the Center for the Humanities, and the Ph.D. Program in History, will begin at 6:30 in the Skylight Room (9100) at The Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue in New York City).

Staff Departures and Arrivals

You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello

In January 2007 ASHP/CML bade farewell to Edith DeGrammont, our administrator for more than a dozen years. Thanks to Edith, we now are a much better-organized outfit and we wish her well in her much deserved retirement. Earlier this year, Landry Kouassi, administrative assistant for our education programs since 1999, also moved on to accept an internship in his chosen field of computer science; we wish him our very best. We are pleased to welcome Sally Dawidoff to our ranks as our new office administrator. We also welcome Hillina Seife, a Ph.D. candidate in History at NYU, as our new faculty development program assistant. Finally, Michele James replaces former valued staffers George Gregory and Ellen Zitani as our education technology coordinator/production assistant, a dual position thanks to her skills in media and technology and experience as a high school teacher.

“The City Speaks” and the New York City History Education Alliance

New York City History Education Alliance Conference

As part of its membership in the New York City History Education Alliance, ASHP/CML co-organized a hands-on workshop on “The City Speaks: Stories and Collections from New York City Cultural Institutions” for the Social Studies at the Core Spring Conference. The conference, which was sponsored by the New York City Board of Education, took place March 1, 2007 at Columbia University’s Lerner Hall. ASHP/CML was one of fifteen participating cultural institutions, and partnered with the Weeksville Heritage Center to present primary source materials about immigrant and African-American neighborhoods in antebellum New York City. Fifty middle-school teachers from around the city attended the workshop, and rated it as one of the highlights of the conference.

The New York City History Education Alliance, launched in January 2006 by the CUNY Graduate Center’s Gotham Center and funded by the Booth Ferris Foundation, is a professional organization of institutions grounded in the city’s diverse history and culture. ASHP/CML is a charter member of the Alliance and participates in its task force meetings. For more information on the Alliance, contact Lynda Kennedy at the Gotham Center at 212-817-8475 or

Who Built America? Documentaries on DVD

The complete set of ten ASHP/CML Who Built America? documentaries is now available on DVD, covering significant themes in U.S. social history from the American Revolution through the interwar years of the twentieth century. Each DVD is broken into thematic chapters to allow easy selection of excerpts for teaching.

To mark the introduction of the new format, we have lowered the price for all our documentaries and instituted credit card purchases through Paypal. Series One programs (The Big H, Tea Party Etiquette, Daughters of Free Men, Doing As They Can, Five Points, Dr. Toer’s Amazing Magic Lantern Show) are now available for $20 each, or the complete set of six programs for $100; and Series Two programs (1877: The Grand Army of Starvation, Savage Acts: Wars, Fairs and Empire, Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl, Up South: African-American Migration in the Era of the Great War) are $30 each, or the complete set of four programs for $100. Shipping and handling fees are also reduced to $7 per title or $20 for a series. We hope these reduced prices will allow individual teachers to purchase tapes for their courses. And ordering the DVDs is easy via our online order page.