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Date: April 11, 2011
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

History Associates Executive Delivers Keynote Address at the Society for History in the Federal Government Annual Conference

Philip Cantelon presents “Crisis and Change: In the Company of Clio” in accepting the Roger R. Trask Award

History Associates co-founder and CEO Philip L. Cantelon presented the keynote address “Crisis and Change: In the Company of Clio” at the Society for History in the Federal Government’s Annual Meeting, held at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, on March 31, 2011.

In keeping with the theme for this year’s meeting, “Federal History in Times of National Crisis and Change,” Dr. Cantelon discussed how crisis points throughout history demanded adaptation and change, and how historians must embrace and adapt to change as well.

He emphasized that the Society itself was formed in response to a crisis in the 1970s.  At that time, a large influx of historians to the federal government felt marginalized, so they established a professional organization to promote the importance of federal history.  He said the Society “changed the way federal history and federal history offices were viewed from outside the government and from within.”

To illustrate his premise, Dr. Cantelon highlighted critical moments in the creation and development of History Associates Incorporated, the historical research company he co-founded with Richard Hewlett, Rodney Carlisle, and Robert Williams in 1981.  “Although I did not realize it at the time,” he added, “most of my professional life has been a product of adapting and changing the practice of history in periods of crisis.”  He recounted his own adaptations in response to change, such as learning how to apply professional training to commercial projects, how to integrate new technologies, and how to be flexible in the face of uncertainty.

Dr. Cantelon also spoke about the future of the Society.  He encouraged the new leaders in the audience to continue efforts to promote the importance and the value of history.  “Amidst shrinking federal resources, federal historians and their allies should explore new ways to communicate the value and uses of history throughout the government,” he said.  “In short, we should welcome rather than hide from the challenging opportunities to reinvent the Society so that it can play a positive and vital role in shaping the future of federal history.”

Dr. Cantelon presented the keynote address as part of acceptance of the 2011 Roger R. Trask Award.  This annual award honors historians whose work reflect the unique importance of federal history and the mission of the Society.  Dr. Cantelon’s remarks will be published in an upcoming issue of Federal History, the Society’s on-line journal.

About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit

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