Achievement and Heritage Awards

2014 Honoree: Robert Edsel

Robert Edsel. Photo by Jimmy BruchThe National Archives Foundation presented historian Robert Edsel with the 2014 Records of Achievement Award on October 28, 2014, in recognition of his outstanding work bringing to life the storied history of men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the Allies during World War II, known collectively as “the Monuments Men.”

The Records of Achievement Award is a tribute to an individual whose work has fostered a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the United States through the use of original records.

The National Archives holds millions of records created or received by the U.S. Government during and after World War II relating to the Nazi-era looted cultural assets, including the original records of the Monuments Men. These voluminous National Archives holdings document the activities and investigations of U.S. Government agencies involved in the identification and recovery of looted assets, including the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and U.S. occupation forces in Germany and Austria. The materials also include contain captured German records about looted art, including the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) card file and related photographs, which served as evidence in the Nuremburg trials.

James Rorimer with soldiers, paintings at Neuschwanstein

About Robert Edsel


Mr. Edsel has dedicated more than twelve years to painstaking and far-reaching research about the Monuments Men, leading to the publishing of his first book Rescuing Da Vinci, a detailed pictorial account using some 460 photographs, many never before seen. Since then, Mr. Edsel also co-produced the Emmy-nominated documentary film, The Rape of Europa, and produced an educational program entitled The Greatest Theft in History, which includes nine hours of video resources and a website of easily utilized teaching resources; published the first study devoted to Nazi Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering’s entire paintings collection, entitled Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering by Nancy Yeide; and has written two additional books, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, and Saving Italy:  The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the NazisThe Monuments Men has been translated into more than 25 languages and served as the basis for Academy-Award winner George Clooney’s film of the same name, released earlier this year.

Mr. Edsel is also the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a not-for-profit entity, which was one of ten recipients of the 2007 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Bush during a ceremony held in the East Room of The White House.

The Gala and Records of Achievement Award Ceremony is made possible by AT&T and the generous support of Governor Jim Blanchard and Janet Blanchard and the Maris S. Cuneo Foundation.


Past Recipients:
  • Steven Spielberg (2013)
  • David M. Rubenstein (2011)
  • Ken Burns (2010)
  • Annette Gordon-Reed (2009)
  • James McPherson (2008)
  • John Hope Franklin (2007)
  • Brian P. Lamb and C-SPAN (2006)
  • Tom Brokaw (2005)
  • David McCullough (2004)

Heritage Award

The Heritage Award takes its name from the “Heritage” sculpture outside the National Archives Building and recognizes individuals, corporations, and organizations whose deeds are consistent with the Foundation’s mission of educating, enriching, and inspiring a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage. The Foundation’s Heritage Award was presented in 2012 to philanthropist Jacqueline Badger Mars.