National Association of Department Historians
Who we are
Historians are responsible for history.
NADHAL is a voluntary union of American Legion National and Department Historians and Past National and Department Historians desiring to give and gain mutual aid in collecting from year to year all records and data of value and interest to and for The American Legion, both National and Departmental; in the compilation during their respective term of office of complete histories of the year’s activities; for the assistance of Post Historians so as to coordinate and unify their work; for the stimulation of interest in the preparation of the Department and Post Histories; and for the increase of appreciation of importance and responsibility of the office of Historian.
What we do
We meet at the National Historians luncheon at the National Convention and during the Fall Meetings at the National Library on the fourth floor of the National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to our fall meeting, we also judge the many Post and Department History Books and Narrative Books for their respective Post and Department Commanders. We assist the National Historian and National Staff when the National Commander makes an official visit to our individual Posts and Departments.
The American Legion strongly encourages the preparation of post histories. Such information on the post's activities will be of considerable value in years to come.
National Headquarters is aware that a professional historian does not fill the position of historian in most posts. This need not prevent a proper recording of the post’s activities. The scope of the information included is the main consideration, keeping in mind, however, comprehensiveness, readability and arrangement, so as to make the history both an interesting account of the post and a reference source.
At the start of the new post year, the historian begins making a permanent record of the organization for the year ahead, from the installation of officers up to and including the installation of next year's officers. To help gather specific details concerning the post, ask the post adjutant for a copy of the most recent Consolidated Post Report. The statistical summary will indicate the type and amount of activity that can help you put together as complete a picture as possible. Make plans to compile a complete post history since its founding, but focus, for the moment, on a one-year history. Then go back to the files and gradually write up the back story.
The national historian will conduct an annual one-year narrative history and yearbook (pictorial) history contest at the post level. These ongoing national contests will give stability and continuity to the recording of post events for future generations of Legionnaires. The department historian will notify posts of any national contest changes that may occur.
Included in the Officer’s Guide and Manual of Ceremonies are comprehensive outlines to compile a one-year narrative history or yearbook with their respective judging standards for competition in the national contests.
To be eligible for the national contests, an entry in either category must be a first-place winner in the department's contest and must be certified as such by the department historian and forwarded to the national historian to arrive in Indianapolis by Sept. 15. Department historians or adjutants need to contact the national historian or National Headquarters' Library and Museum director for exceptions.
Upon completion of the national contest, all entries will be returned to their respective posts unless otherwise instructed for different shipping arrangements.
The work of collecting, preserving and recording the activities of The American Legion is an important endeavor and demands much detail work; hopefully you will find it inspiring and rewarding. Contact the department historian for additional ideas and information regarding department contest qualifications.