Organization of American Historians

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OAH logo
The logo for the Organization of American Historians.

The Organization of American Historians (OAH), formerly known as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, is the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history. OAH's members in the U.S. and abroad include college and university professors; historians, students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians; and a variety of scholars employed in government and the private sector. The OAH publishes the Journal of American History. Among its various programs, OAH conducts an annual meeting[1] each spring, and has a robust roster on its OAH Distinguished Lecturership Program.[2]

The organization's mission is to promote excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourage wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Membership is open to all who wish to support its mission.

In 2010 its individual membership is approximately 8,000 and its institutional membership approximately 1,250. For its 2009 fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, the organization's operating budget was approximately $2.9 million[3]


The organization's headquarters are in Bloomington, Indiana on the campus of Indiana University in the Raintree House (also referred to as the Millen-Stallknecht House, #105-055-80021 in City of Bloomington Historic Sites and Structures Inventory). The Raintree House is a Greek Revival style brick house. The house gets its name from two large raintrees (Koelreuteria paniculata), which stand on the property. Built by William Moffett Millen c. 1845, it is an excellent example of the Georgian house plan favored by well-to-do farmers in southern Indiana and the Upland South in the mid-nineteenth century.[4]

Raintree House
OAH headquarters in Bloomington, known as the Millen House.

History and background

The Mississippi Valley Historical Association was formed on October 17 and 18, 1907 at a meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska, of seven historical societies of the Mississippi Valley. The organization, devoted to studying the Mississippi Valley region, began a tradition of holding an annual meeting each year, and began quarterly publication in 1914 of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review. As the scholarly emphasis of the organization and its journal developed and spread over time, its initial emphasis on the Mississippi Valley waned, in favor of an approach focusing more broadly on the United States. In recognition of this, and of the publication of the fiftieth volume of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, the name of the journal was changed to the Journal of American History and the organization, correspondingly, and by approval of the voting majority of its membership through a mail ballot,[5] was rechristened on Friday, April 23, 1965 as the Organization of American Historians.[6]

Indiana University was selected as home for the editorial offices of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review predecessor to the Journal of American History in 1963.[7] Prior to relocating to Indiana, the editorial offices were located at Tulane University. The organization moved its business offices to Indiana in the summer of 1970 from its home on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The OAH was admitted to the American Council of Learned Societies in 1971. It is a foundational partner of the National Coalition for History, the National Humanities Alliance, and National History Day.

Information about OAH governance, officers, and its committee structure is available at

OAH Annual Meetings

Each year since its founding, the Organization of American Historians holds its annual meeting in a city in the United States. The OAH met during the following years in these cities and venues in the United States.

  • 2016, Providence, Rhode Island, Rhode Island Convention Center, April 7-10
  • 2015, St. Louis, Missouri, America's Center and Renaissance Grand Hotel, April 16-19
  • 2014, Atlanta, Georgia, Hilton Atlanta, April 10–13
  • 2013, San Francisco, California, Hilton San Francisco, April 11–14
  • 2012, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 19–22, Frontier Airlines Center and Hilton Milwaukee (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 2011, Houston, Texas, March 15–19, Hilton Americas-Houston
  • 2010, Washington, DC, April 7–10, Hilton Washington
  • 2009, Seattle, Washington, March 26–29, Washington State Convention Center and Sheraton Seattle
  • 2008, New York, New York, March 28–31, Hilton New York
  • 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 29 to April 1, Hilton Minneapolis
  • 2006, Washington, DC, Hilton Washington (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 2005, San Jose, California, San Jose Convention Center
  • 2004, Boston, Massachusetts, Marriott Boston Copley Place
  • 2003, Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis-Cook Convention Center and Memphis Marriott Downtown
  • 2002, Washington, DC, Washington Renaissance Hotel (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 2001, Los Angeles, CA, Westin Bonaventure Hotel
  • 2000, St. Louis, MO, Saint Louis University (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 1999, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sheraton Centre Toronto
  • 1998, Indianapolis, IN, The Westin Hotel, Hyatt Regency, and Indiana Convention Center
  • 1997, San Francisco, CA, The San Francisco Hilton
  • 1996, Chicago, IL, The Palmer House Hilton
  • 1995, Washington, DC, The Washington Hilton and Towers (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 1994, Atlanta, GA, The Atlanta Hilton and Towers
  • 1993, Anaheim, CA, The Anaheim Hilton and Towers
  • 1992, Chicago, IL, The Palmer House
  • 1991, Louisville, KY, The Galt House
  • 1990, Washington, DC, The Washington Hilton and Towers
  • 1989, St. Louis, MO, Adam's Mark-St. Louis (held jointly with NCPH)
  • 1988, Reno, NV, Bally's Reno
  • 1987, Philadelphia, PA, Wyndham Franklin Plaza
  • 1986, New York, NY, New York Penta (held jointly with the National Council on Public History)
  • 1985, Minneapolis, MN, Hyatt Regency; Holiday Inn Downtown
  • 1984, Los Angeles, CA, The Biltmore Hotel
  • 1983, Cincinnati, OH, Stouffer's Towers; Cincinnati Convention and Expo Center
  • 1982, Philadelphia, PA, Franklin Plaza Hotel
  • 1981, Detroit, MI, The Detroit Plaza
  • 1980, San Francisco, CA, Hyatt Regency
  • 1979, New Orleans, LA, Hyatt Regency
  • 1978, New York, NY, The Statler Hilton Hotel
  • 1977, Atlanta, GA, Marriott Motor Hotel; Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • 1976, St. Louis, MO, The Chase-Park Plaza Hotel
  • 1975, Boston, MA, The Statler Hilton
  • 1974, Denver, CO, The Denver Hilton
  • 1973, Chicago, IL, The Palmer House
  • 1972, Washington, DC, The Shoreham
  • 1971, New Orleans, LA, Jung Hotel
  • 1970, Los Angeles, CA, The Biltmore Hotel
  • 1969, Philadelphia, PA, Benjamin Franklin Hotel
  • 1968, Dallas, TX, Adolphus and Baker Hotels
  • 1967, Chicago, IL, The Palmer House
  • 1966, Cincinnati, OH, Netherland Hilton Hotel
  • 1965, Kansas City, MO, Hotel Muehlebach
  • 1964, Cleveland, OH, The Statler Hilton
  • 1963, Omaha, NE, The Sheraton-Fontenelle
  • 1962, Milwaukee, WI, The Hotel Schroeder
  • 1961, Detroit, MI, The Pick-Fort Shelby
  • 1960, Louisville, KY, Sheraton Hotel
  • 1959, Denver, CO, Cosmopolitan Hotel
  • 1958, Minneapolis, MN, Hotel Pick-Nicollet
  • 1957, Lincoln, NE, Cornhusker Hotel
  • 1956, Pittsburgh, PA, Hotel Webster Hall
  • 1955, St. Louis, MO, Hotel Jefferson
  • 1954, Madison, WI, Loraine Hotel
  • 1953, Lexington, KY, Lafayette Hotel
  • 1952, Chicago, IL, Sheraton Hotel
  • 1951, Cincinnati, OH, Netherland Plaza Hotel
  • 1950, Oklahoma City, OK, Oklahoma Biltmore Hotel
  • 1949, Madison, WI, Loraine Hotel
  • 1948, Rock Island, IL, Fort Armstrong Hotel
  • 1947, Columbus, OH, Deshler-Wallick Hotel
  • 1946, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University
  • 1945, NO MEETING, cancelled due to "war restrictions"
  • 1944, St. Louis, MO, Coronado Hotel
  • 1943, Cedar Rapids, IA, Montrose Hotel
  • 1942, Lexington, KY, Lafayette Hotel
  • 1941, Milwaukee, WI, Hotel Pfister
  • 1940, Omaha, NE, Hotel Fontenelle
  • 1939, Memphis, TN, Hotel Claridge
  • 1938, Indianapolis, IN, Claypool Hotel
  • 1937, St. Louis, MO, Coronado Hotel
  • 1936, Austin, TX, Driskill Hotel
  • 1935, Cincinnati, OH, Hotel Sinton-St. Nicholas
  • 1934, Columbia, MO, Tiger Hotel
  • 1933, Chicago, IL, Drake Hotel
  • 1932, Lincoln, NE, Lincoln Hotel
  • 1931, Lexington, KY, Lafayette Hotel
  • 1930, Chattanooga, TN, Hotel Patten
  • 1929, Vincennes, IN, Elk's Home
  • 1928, Des Moines, IA, Hotel Fort Des Moines
  • 1927, New Orleans, LA, Hotel Bienville
  • 1926, Springfield, IL, Hotel Abraham Lincoln
  • 1925, Detroit/Ann Arbor, MI, Statler Hotel
  • 1924, Louisville, KY, Seelbach Hotel
  • 1923, Oklahoma City, OK, Huckins Hotel
  • 1922, Iowa City, IA, Jefferson Hotel; State Histl. Society
  • 1921, Madison, WI, State Histl. Society Building
  • 1920, Greencastle, IN, DePauw University
  • 1919, St. Louis, MO, Washington Hotel; Missouri Histl. Society
  • 1918, St. Paul, MN, St. Paul Hotel; Historical Building
  • 1917, Chicago, IL, Alexandria Hotel; Chicago Histl. Society
  • 1916, Nashville, TN, Hotel Hermitage
  • 1915, New Orleans, LA, Grunewald Hotel
  • 1914, Grand Forks, ND, City Hall and Woodworth Hall at the University
  • 1913, Omaha, NE, Omaha High School
  • 1912, Bloomington, IN, Hotels Tourner and Bowles; Indiana University
  • 1911, Evanston, IL and Chicago, IL, Evanston Historical Society and the Chicago Historical Society
  • 1910, Iowa City, IA, Burkley Hotel; State Historical Society of Iowa
  • 1909, St. Louis, MO, Planters Hotel; Missouri Historical Society
  • 1908, Lake Minnetonka, MN
  • 1907, Lincoln, NE

List of OAH Presidents

OAH Awards and Prizes

The following is a list of Awards and Prizes given by Organization of American Historians.[8]


  1. annual meeting
  2. OAH Distinguished Lecturership Program
  3. "OAH Treasurer’s Report, Fiscal Year, 2009", Robert Griffith, OAH Treasurer, February 8, 2010
  4. Katherine Roberts, Description and History of Indiana University's Raintree House for Nomination of the Property to the National Register of Historic Places, March, 2003, p 1.
  5. Official Notice to Members of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, Journal of American History, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Sep., 1964), pp. 351-352.
  6. William D. Aeschbacher, "The Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1907-1965", Journal of American History, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Sep., 1967), pp. 339-353.
  7. Thomas D. Clark, Our Roots Flourished in the Valley, Journal of American History, Vol. 65, No 1 (Jun., 1978), p 102.
  8. "OAH Awards and Prizes". The Organization of American Historians: Programs & Resources:. The Organization of American Historians. Retrieved 2013-11-03.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Kirkendall, Richard S., ed. The Organization of American Historians and the Writing and Teaching of American History (2011), essays on the history of the OAH, and on teaching main themes

External links