For active Legion historians at the post and department level, the highlight of the year might not be the National Convention in late August, but the Fall Meetings in Indianapolis in mid-October. That's because the busy week features a meeting of the National Association of Department Historians of The American Legion (NADHAL).
During this year's Fall Meetings, which took place Oct. 10-14, 35 past and present department and national historians were on hand at the National Headquarters library to welcome newly appointed National Historian Robert Craig of Nebraska. Craig, whose past Legion involvement was mostly in public relations, thanked the attendees for making him feel welcomed.
Additionally, six new historians had been trained on how to participate in the other major task of NADHAL: the judging of the National Post History Contest and the National Department History Contest. Post historians had sent narratives and yearbooks of the last official year for their posts to be judged at department conventions this spring, and sent the winners on; department historians had done the same for their departments, and sent them directly. Craig even sat in on part of the training.
The NADHAL meeting featured some regular business, including the election of new president Johnny Keel of Louisiana. But then attention turned to the future of the history contests. Two study committees will be formed - one to look into a separate set of judging standards for the National Department History Contest, and the other to explore the feasibility of electronic submissions in the two contests. The latter comes after inquiries on the subject have increased in recent years.
Meanwhile, during Fall Meetings Craig announced the winners of the two contests during his report before the assembled National Executive Committee. Out of 42 total, the top entries (with the first three awards receiving plaques) in each category are:
One-Year Department Narrative: First Award, Department of North Carolina; Second Award, Department of Maine .
One-Year Department Yearbook: First Award, Department of Ohio; Second Award, Department of Missouri; Third Award, Department of North Carolina; Honorable Mention, Department of Florida.
One-Year Post Narrative: First Award, Matthews-Crawford Post 131, Warrensburg, Mo.; Second Award, Frank B. Bartlett Post 7, Buckhannon, W.Va.; Third Award, The Woodlands Post 305, The Woodlands, Texas; Honorable Mention, Dwight Cowles Post 370, Overland Park, Kan.; Honorable Mention, Parkville Post 183, Baltimore, Md.
One-Year Post Yearbook: First Award, Lt. J.L. Shryer Post 430, Durant, Iowa; Second Award, Jackson-Silver Post 68, Greenwood, Maine; Third Award, Stonewall Jackson Post 336, San Antonio, Texas; Honorable Mention, Alois-Dreikosen Post 469, Marathon, Wis.; Honorable Mention, Dundalk Post 38, Dundalk, Md.; Honorable Mention, Ontario Post 67, Ontario, Ore.
Post and department historians should consider starting now on entries for next year's contests. For more information, contact your department historian. A directory of Legion departments can be found here. Find out more about NADHAL on their website.