Department of History
Additional Positions at AUAffiliate Faculty, Department of International Studies
- Alan M. Kraut is University Professor of History and an affiliate faculty member of the School of International Service. He is also a Non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute. Currently, he is the President of the Organization of American Historians, the largest professional organization of American historians. He specializes in U.S. immigration and ethnic history, the history of medicine in the U.S. and the American Civil War. He co-directs AU's Civil War Institute. He is the prize-winning author or editor of nine books. Most recently he has co-edited Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping the Nation's Immigration Story (2013). His best known volumes include: Silent Travelers: Germs , Genes, and the "immigrant Menace" (1994); The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921 (2nd ed. 2001); and Goldberger's War:The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader (2003). His research has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Institutes of Health. He is a frequent consultant on PBS and History Channel documentaries. He is the past president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and currently chairs the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island History Advisory Committee. He is an elected fellow of the prestigious Society of American Historians and has been the recipient of AU' Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award.
DegreesPhD, History, Cornell University
MA, History, Cornell University
BA, History, Hunter College, CUNY
Reading knowledge of Spanish, French, and German
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Partnerships & Affiliations
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
Dr. Kraut is a specialist in U.S. immigration and ethnic history and the history of medicine and public health in the United States. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of American Ethnic History, the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, and Southern Jewish History. Active in bringing history to a broader, non-academic audience, Dr. Kraut has served as a member of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island History Committee since the 1980s and in 2003 was appointed chair of that committee by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. He has also served as a consultant to the National Park Service, and as an adviser to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He has been an historical consultant on documentaries treating issues in immigration history and the history of medicine and public health broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Station and the History Channel.
- 2006-present Historical consultant to the OASIS Institute on “The Immigrant Experience Project.” The OASIS Institute provides educational programs for senior citizens across the country.
- 2003-2005 Consultant to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security on the revision of the history and government portions of the citizenship examination and creation of the “U.S. Guide for Naturalization Applicants.”
- 2003 Historical consultant on the advisory panel that issued “America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties and National Unity After September 11,” a report compiled by the Migration Policy Institute.
- 2003-present Historical consultant to Save Ellis Island, Inc. on public health museum and institute on south side of Ellis Island.
- 1994 Consultant to the National Park Service on publication, Revision of The National Park Service’s Thematic Framework. This is a document of major significance because it has determined the interpretation of National Park sites. Co-sponsored by the Organization of American Historians and the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History and supported by the American Historical Association.
- 1994 Consultant serving on the National Park System Advisory Board’s Humanities Review Committee, which drafted “Humanities and the National Parks: Adapting to Change.” The committee was convened at the request of the Director of the National Park Service, Roger Kennedy.
- 1993 Consultant to the National Park Service on Revision of Guidelines for Selection of National Parks and National Historic Landmarks.
- 1990 Consultant to the U.S. National Archives on Archives II, appointed to the Archives Advisory Group by the Executive Director of the American Historical Association as the AHA representative.
- 2006- present Member of Faculty of the Uniformed University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
- 1996 Visiting Senior Stetten Fellow, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- 1995 (Spring) Visiting Professor, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University.
- 1992 and periodically Visiting Adjunct Professor Cornell University (in Washington).
- “A Century of Scholarship in American Immigration and Ethnic History,” in James M. Banner, Jr., ed. A Century of American Historiography (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010), pp. 124-140.
- Essays on “European Immigrants and Politics” and “Health and Illness” in Michael Kazin, ed. The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
- Response to A.B. Yehoshua’s “An Attempt to Identify the Root Cause of Antisemitism,” Azure 33(Summer, 2008):3-4.
- From Arrival to Incorporation, Migrants to the U.S. in a Global Era (co-edited). New York: New York University Press, 2008.
- “A.E. Frankland’s History of the 1873 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis Tennessee,” American Jewish Archives Journal LIX (2007): 89-98.
- Covenant of Care: Newark Beth Israel and the Jewish Hospital in America (co-authored). New Brunswick,NJ:Rutgers University Press, 2007
- “Bodies From Abroad: Immigration, Health and Disease,” in Reed Ueda, ed. A Companion to American Immigration (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), pp.106-131.
- American Immigration and Ethnicity: A Reader (co-edited). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
- Goldberger’s War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader. New York: Hill & Wang of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2003; paperback 2004.
- “Foreign Bodies: The Perennial Negotiation Over Health and Cutlure in a Nation of Immigrants,” Journal of American Ethnic History 23 (Winter, 2004): 3-22.
- Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the “Immigrant Menace.” New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1994; paperback, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. Japanese edition by Seidosha, 1997.
- American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945. Indianapolis, IN, Indiana University Press, 1987.
- Crusaders and Compromisers: Essays on the Relationship of the Anti-slavery Struggle to the Antebellum Party System, an edited volume. Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1983.
- Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921 Wheeling,IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1982; second edition, completely revised, 2001.
Grants and Sponsored Research
- 2008 Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a “We the People Project” entitled “American Immigration Revisited,” an NEH Summer Institute (co-director).
- 1999-2002 Research Grant from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for Covenant of Care.
- 1996 Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society for Goldberger’s War.
- 1988-89 Interpretive Research Grant from the National Endowment for Silent Travelers
- 1988-89 Smithsonian Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Silent Travelers
- 1987-88 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities for Silent Travelers.
- 1984 District of Columbia Council on the Humanities Grant fro documentary film, A Capital Community.
- 1982 Basic Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for American Refugee Policy.
- 1982 Albert J. Beveridge Grant from the American Historical Association for American Refugee Policy.
- 1980 Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Research Grant for American Refugee Policy.
- 2007 historical consultant to WETA on the website accompanying the PBS documentary film, The Jewish Americans.
- Spring, 2000 Principal historical adviser for The Ellis Island Experience, a web-enabled CD-ROM co-produced by the History Channel and South Peak International (a division of SAS software).
- 1999 historical adviser and writer for Becoming Americans: The Shapiro Story, 1898-1928, CD-Rom produced in conjunction with the restoration of the Shapiro House, the residence of a Jewish immigrant family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the Strawbery Banke Museum.
- 1991 to 1995 historical consultant on multi-media project, “Remembering World War II” for the National Council on the Aging.
- 1990 historical consultant and writer for the interactive computer system on immigration history created by NYNEX and used by U.S. Park Rangers on Ellis Island.
- 1995-1998 Expert witness for New York State in Supreme Court case, New Jersey v. New York no. 120 on state sovereignty over Ellis Island.
- 1998 Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families, a two-year study co-sponsored by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. Final report was published as From Generation to Generation, The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998).
- August 11, 1997 Testified before the Subcommittee on Immigration of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate on “Examining Both Past and Present Immigration Policies,” 105th Cong., S-Hrg. 105-248, Serial No. J-105-41 (Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1997), 38-44.
- Januaray 5, 1993 Testified before the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform on the need for the provision of health care services to immigration and refugees currently entering the United States regardless of their legal status
- March 10, 1987 Testified before the Subcommittee on Interior of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations on the importance of the National Endowment for the Humanities to working scholars, calling for the restoration of an $11 million cut in the NEH budget recommended by the Reagan Administration.
- December 28, 2009 Newspaper, The Examiner, Quoted in "House bill would cut local immigration enforcement program".
- December 6, 2009 Newspaper, Dalton [Georgia] Daily Citizen, Quoted in "Ellis Island visitors to get history lesson on Dalton.".
- August 28, 2009 Quoted in "Ellis Island visitors to get history lesson on Dalton." TV, PBS NEWSHOUR, Interviewed by Ray Suarez on "Kennedy's Immigration Legacy Shaped Makeup of U.S.".
- June 16, 2009 Newspaper, The Examiner, Quoted in "Expansion of immigration enforcement could affect Prince William crackdown."
- October 12, 2008 Quoted in “Getting the Nation’s Story Straight” by Francis X. Clines in Editorial Notebook of Week in Review,” New York Times.
- October 3, 2008 Quoted in “Report Flow of Illegals into U.S. Down Since 2005,” Washington Examiner.
- September 25, 2008 Quoted in “Museum at Ellis Island, After Expansion, Will Touch on Other Immigrant Eras,” New York Times.
- September 24, 2008 Quoted in “Ellis Island Strives to Tell Whole Tale,” USA Today.
- July 3, 2008 Quoted in “Northern Virginia Hub for Immigrants,” Washington Examiner.
- October 26, 2007 Quoted in “Ellis Island’s Forgotten Hospital,” New York Times.
- September 11, 2007 Featured on “All Things Considered,” National Public Radio story on Immigrants and the English Language.
- July 12, 2007 Featured in TV story on immigration/migrant labor by BBC’s Spanish Services.
- July 5, 2007 Quoted in story on Irish immigration patterns for U.S. Information Agency wire service.
- June 3, 2007 Quoted in “Despite So Few Immigrants Here, Legal or Illegal, Opposition is Fierce,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- 2008-present Exhibit Consultant on the Backyard and Privy for an exhibit on urban public health, Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
- 2006 Exhibit consultant on “Newcomers”, a permanent exhibition on migration and ethnicity in Western Michigan at the Public Museum, Grand Rapides, Michigan.
- 1997 Exhibit consultant for “Sitting Shiva with the Rogarshevskys,” an exhibit to accompany restoration of the Rogarshevsky apartment in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
- 1997 Exhibit consultant on the historic restoration of the Shapiro House at the Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
- 1996 Co-curated the exhibit, “Doctors at the Gate” on the role of the U.S. Public Health Service inspecting immigrants, at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
- Curated “Becoming Americans,” an exhibit on the immigration exhibit at the B’nai Brith Klutznick Museum, Washington, D.C.
Work In Progress
- Dr. Kraut is currently writing a book on the history of the Americanization movement and other efforts to integrate immigrants and refugees into American society and culture.
- A second project is on the American presidency and immigration policy.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- 2008-2010 Nonresident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute
- 2009 elected a fellow of the Society of American Historians
- 2008 Appointed Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians
- 2008 Author’s Award from the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance for Covenant of Care
- 2005 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for the Outstanding volume for a general audience from the History of Science Society for Goldberger’s War
- 2004 Henry Adams Prize for the Outstanding Book on the History of the Federal Government presented by the Society for the History of the Federal Government for Goldberger’s War
- 2004 Arthur Viseltear Prize for the best book on the history of public health from the American Public Health Association for Goldberger’s War
- 1998 Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award (Highest Faculty Honor offered by American University)
- 1995 Theodore Saloutos Prize for the Outstanding Book in Immigration and Ethnic History from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for Silent Travelers
- 1995 Phi Alpha Theta Book Award for the Best Book by an Established Author
- 1984 American University Award for Outstanding Teaching
- 1968 Woodrow Wilson Fellow
- 2003 – present Chair of the History Advisory Committee of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
- 2007-2009 Executive Committee of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society
- 2008 Chair of the Program Committee of the of the American Association of the History of Medicine Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY
- 2000-2003 President of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society
- 1997-2000 Vice President of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society
- 1988-1997 Treasurer of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society
- 2003-2004 Chair of the William Osler Medal Committee of the American Association for the History of Medicine.
- 1999-2003 Executive Board of the Society for the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
- 1996-1998 President of the Washington Society for the History of Medicine.
- 1992-1993 Chair of the Shryock Medal Committee of the American Association of the History of Medicine.
- 2003-present historical consultant to PBS series, History Detectives (Lion TV).
- February 2, 2009 historical consultant and on camera for PBS documentary film, Forgotten Ellis Island: The Untold Story of the Ellis Island Hospital (Conway films).
- January 1, 2009 historical consultant on PBS documentary Cinema Exiles, From Hitler to Hollywood (Film Odyssey).
- Spring, 2007 historical consultant and on camera in BBC’s Medical Mavericks, episode on Dr. Joseph Goldberger.
- November 1-13, 2005 historical consultant and on camera for PBS documentary Rx For Survival, A Global Health Challenge.
- October, 2004 historical consultant on PBS documentary film, The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Typhoid Mary, an episode on The American Experience (Nancy Porter Productions).
- February, 2003 historical consultant on PBS documentary film, Partners of the Heart, about African American Vivien Thomas and his role in assisting Surgeon Alfred Blalock to develop the surgery that saves so-called blue babies.
- January 8, 2003 historical consultant on the PBS documentary film, They Came to America on immigration experience.
- 2001 historical consultant and on camera for ESPN documentary film on Lou Gehrig for series, Fifty Greatest Athletes.
- October 5, 1998 historical consultant on PBS documentary film, A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio (Nina Seavey Production).
- January 11-15, 1998 historical consultant and on camera in “Matters of Life and Death” and “In Search of Ourselves,” two episodes in PBS series A Science Odyssey (producers Larry Klein and Alice Markowitz, respectively).
- January, 1997 historical consultant and on camera for three-part History Channel documentary film, Ellis Island (Greystone Communications).
- October 2, 1995 historical consultant and on camera in PBS documentary film, The People’s Plague: Tuberculosis in America, (producer Larry Hott).
- April 6, 1994 historical consultant on PBS documentary film, America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference, on The American Experience.
- December 13, 1989 historical consultant on PBS documentary film, Journey to America on The American Experience (Charles Guggenheim Prodctions).
- November 17, 1981 historical consultant on Virginia public broadcasting affiliate documentary film, Refugee.
Area of Expertise: Immigration, disease and public health issues, Holocaust, U.S. social and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ethnic history, Civil War, the American South, history of American medicine, American Jewish history, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island
Additional Information: Alan Kraut specializes in the history of immigration, and refugees and public health policy, including AIDS. He focuses on the effects of race, religion, and ethnicity upon American society and culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is the author or editor of eight books. His book Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the 'Immigrant Menace' received the Immigration and Ethnic History Society's Theodore Saloutos Prize. Other books include The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880–1921 (2nd expanded edition, 2001); American Refugee and European Jewry, 1933–1945; and American Immigration and Ethnicity: A Reader. Kraut's book Goldberger's War: The Life and Work of a Public Health Crusader won the Henry Adams Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government, the Arthur J. Viseltear Prize from the Public Health Association, and the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize from the History of Science Society. He and his wife, Deborah, published Covenant of Care: Newark Beth Israel and the Jewish Hospital in America (2007). Kraut was a consultant for the Office of Homeland Security on the revision of the history and civics part of the Naturalization Examination and was an expert witness in the Supreme Court case New Jersey v. New York. He is chair of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's History Advisory Committee and was president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the largest academic organization of immigration scholars in the United States. He was on the National Research Council's Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families. A frequent historical consultant to museums and media, Kraut is a consultant to New York's Lower East Side Tenement Museum and PBS television documentaries such as They Came to America and the popular PBS series History Detectives. In 2009, he was elected a fellow of the highly prestigious Society of American Historians. Kraut is a nonresident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think-tank on immigration and refugee policy. In 2011, he was elected vice president of the Organization of American Historians and will be president in 2013.
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.
AU News and Achievements
Historian Kraut Featured in Ellis Island Documentary
Immigration historian Kraut featured in new PBS documentary....
Kraut’s Examination of Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19 Relevant Today
History professor’s paper examines the pandemic as it related to U.S. immigrants....