a1 American University
In April 2002, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) made its first lifetime achievement award. It was my honor to be president of the IEHS at that time, and I can recall the pleasure and unanimity of board members in designating John Higham the first recipient of that honor. It was a special pleasure for me to notify John and to present the award to him because over the years John had become both a personal friend and a powerful intellectual influence. When I called him at his home in Baltimore, he accepted with delight but as always with the soft-spoken graciousness that was his way. We chatted about the fact that initially he had not defined himself as an immigration scholar, yet in 1967, more than a decade after the publication of Strangers in the Land had found himself one of the founding members of what was then called the Immigration History Society and later one of its presidents. As we often did, we also talked about our hometown, New York. John had grown up in Queens, while I had grown up in the South Bronx. On many occasions we discussed how our New York roots had lured us into thinking and writing about immigration and ethnicity.
(Online publication April 16 2012)
Alan M. Kraut is University Professor at American University in Washington, D.C, and president-elect of the Organization of American Historians. A specialist in immigration and ethnic history, the history of medicine, and nineteenth-century social history, he is author or editor of eight books and many articles, including The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880–1921 (1982; rev. 2001), American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933–1945 (co-authored), Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace” (1994), and Goldberger's War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader (2003). Chair of the History Advisory Committee of the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation, he is also a former president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.