Call For Proposals: Research And Write A Comprehensive Administrative History of Manzanar National Historic Site

The following is a press release from the Organization of American Historians.

BLOOMINGTON, IN — The Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the National Park Service (NPS) have worked collaboratively for nearly 20 years on a variety of projects that aim to make the presentation of American History at NPS sites and programs as current, nuanced, and effective as possible. The OAH and NPS presently seek a qualified scholar to research and write a comprehensive Administrative History of Manzanar National Historic Site located in Independence, California.

Congress established Manzanar NHS in 1992 after decades of grass-roots efforts and lobbying by Japanese Americans and others, and despite considerable opposition. This project will develop a comprehensive review of more than four decades of highly emotional, political, and controversial efforts to preserve Manzanar as a physical site, as well as a place in memory and history.

As a site of the forced confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II, Manzanar is unique among NPS sites. Manzanar’s Administrative History can offer important lessons for preserving civil rights sites, and working with diverse constituencies. The research effort resulting from this project will significantly expand the site’s reference and archival files, and provide additional information for park staff, partners, and others.

A manuscript-length Administrative History relates how a particular park originated and how it has functioned and evolved. A researcher should be prepared and qualified to explore, in depth and detail, topics and issues including (but not limited to) the:

  • Annual public Pilgrimages to Manzanar (1969-present)
  • Establishment and evolution of the Manzanar Committee (1972-present)
  • Post-World War II land management by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (1946-1997)
  • Designation of Manzanar as a California State Historic Landmark (1972)
  • Failed California state park proposal (1970s)
  • Manzanar’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places (1985)
  • Movement to include Manzanar as a unit of the NPS (1988-92)
  • Role of the Manzanar Advisory Commission (1992-2002)
  • Land and building acquisition at Manzanar (1996, 1997)
  • Owens Valley land exchange (1992-97)
  • Planning, development, and public involvement in Manzanar’s facilities, exhibits, media, programs, and projects (1996-present)
  • Development and evolution of key partnerships including the Friends of Manzanar and Manzanar History Association (2003-present).

A researcher should also be prepared and qualified to research, conduct and transcribe oral history interviews with a range of individuals connected to Manzanar, past and present, such as:

  • NPS staff and volunteers
  • Members of the Manzanar Committee
  • Members of the Manzanar Advisory Commission
  • Friends of Manzanar board members
  • Eastern California Museum staff
  • Other key park partners
  • Civil Rights activists
  • Academics

A researcher should also be familiar with the National Park Service Administrative History Guide:

Additional information on Manzanar National Historic Site is available on the park’s web site at

A proposal to undertake this work should include:

  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Current personal statement and summary of qualifications and relevant experience
  • Narrative discussion of your approach to the research and writing of an administrative history and to the areas of inquiry at Manzanar
  • Proposed schedule for the completion of the work and for the delivery of work products
  • A cost estimate and a budget for completing the work

Questions about the administrative history or about submitting a proposal can be directed to Aidan Smith at the Organization of American Historians at: Complete proposals should also be submitted electronically to the same e-mail address no later than June 23, 2014.


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