The Alexandria Historical Society has selected historian, author and preservationist William Seale as the winner of its 2008 Alexandria History Award. The annual Alexandria History Award is given to a person or persons who have made noteworthy contributions to the preservation of the historic, cultural, and artistic heritage of Alexandria. Dr. Seale will be presented with a certificate and gift at a special awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., at The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street.
Dr. Seale is being honored for his 2007 history book, The Alexandria Library Company, which documents the history of Alexandria’s library company from its founding in 1794 to present. Dr. Seale is a leading authority on the preservation and restoration of historic properties and specializes in public buildings, such as courthouses and state capitols. Dr. Seale serves as the editor of “White House History,” a journal published by the White House Historical Society, and is the author of several titles on the subject, including The President's House: A History, The White House: The History of an American Idea, and The White House Garden.
Two special honorees and four local high school students will also receive awards at the ceremony. Carlton A. Funn, Sr., a retired teacher, will be honored for his contribution to black history education through National / International Cultural Exhibits (NICE), which he founded. NICE is a traveling exhibition that has been shown more than 400 times to school and community groups in 11 states over the past 50 years. Robert E.L. deButts, Jr., a great, great grandson of Robert E. Lee, will be honored for his discovery and stewardship of two trunks belonging to ancestor Mary Custis Lee that had been stored at Burke & Herbert Bank. He donated the trunks to the Virginia Historical Society where researchers and curators have been cataloging and preserving their valuable contents.
The awards for outstanding high school history students will be presented to Taylor Wuerker of T.C. Williams, Jennifer Nguyen of Bishop Ireton, Smith Alexander Marks of Episcopal, and Alexander Propp of St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes.
Following the award presentation, Dr. John R. Maass, historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History at Fort McNair, will deliver a short lecture titled "Past Imperfect," in which he will discuss the importance of history today to the general public, and point out some of the differences between public and academic history.
The event is free and open to all. For more information about the 2008 History Award, contact Douglas Thurman, President of the Alexandria Historical Society, at 703.548.7052.