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Alan Kraut

University Professor Department of History

Additional Positions at AU

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.


PhD, History, Cornell University
MA, History, Cornell University
BA, History, Hunter College, CUNY

Languages Spoken

Reading knowledge of Spanish, French, and German

Download CV (PDF)

CAS - History
Battelle Tompkins - 143
Monday & Thursday 4:00-5:00 pm & by appointment
Contact Info
(202) 885-2410

Send email to Alan Kraut

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Department of History
Civil War Institute

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Media Appearances

  • 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.

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.

Professional Services

  • 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.

Professional Certifications

  • 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).

Selected Publications

  • “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.

Executive Experience

  • 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.

AU Expert

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.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.