Daniel Aaron, author of The Americanist, was recently selected to receive the 2010 National Humanities Medal. Ten awards are given each year for outstanding achievements in history, literature, education, and cultural policy. The medal will be presented at a ceremony in the White House, followed by a reception in the recipients’ honor attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The official citation honoring Aaron reads:
Daniel Aaron for his contributions to American literature and culture. As the founding president of the Library of America, he helped preserve our nation’s heritage by publishing America’s most significant writing in authoritative editions.
The complete list of this year’s and previous award-winners can be found at the National Endowment for the Humanities web site.
Aaron, a University of Michigan graduate who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, is regarded as one of the founders of American Studies. In his autobiography The Americanist, Aaron’s reflection on his own life and work casts new light on some of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, including Ralph Ellison, Robert Frost, Lillian Hellman, Richard Hofstadter, Alfred Kazin, Sinclair Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge, John Crowe Ransom, Upton Sinclair, Edmund Wilson, Leonard Woolf, and W. B. Yeats, as well as forming a compelling literary event in its own right.