Achievement and Heritage Awards
On November 17, 2021, the National Archives Foundation honored Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Jon Meacham with our prestigious Records of Achievement Award for his commitment to chronicling the American story.
The Records of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National Archives Foundation to an individual whose contributions have fostered a broader national awareness of the history and heritage of the United States as exemplified in the National Archives’ records.
As one of the most respected voices in American history, culture, and politics, Jon Meacham’s collective works help Americans understand the character and motivation of our leaders while celebrating the great diversity of our nation. His life’s work including American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House; The Soul of America: the Battle for Our Better Angels; Destiny, and Power: the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush; His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope; Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, and so many others helps the public understand our American stories. Previous recipients of the Foundation’s awards include: Laura Bush, Tom Hanks, Ron Chernow, Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Taylor Branch, Robert Edsel, Steven Spielberg, David M. Rubenstein, Ken Burns, Annette Gordon-Reed, and more.
The theater program includes an interview between Michael Beschloss and Jon Meacham.
Jon Meacham was born in Chattanooga in 1969 and educated at St. Nicholas School, The McCallie School, and graduated from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, with a degree summa cum laude in English Literature; he was salutatorian and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
A trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, The McCallie School, and The Harpeth Hall School, Meacham chairs the National Advisory Council of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. He has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and of Trinity Church Wall Street as well as the Board of Regents of The University of the South. The Anti-Defamation League awarded Meacham its Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Prize. In 2013 the Historical Society of Pennsylvania presented him with its Founder’s Award; in 2016 he was honored with the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute’s Spirit of Democracy Award. Meacham also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005 and holds honorary doctorates from Middlebury College, Wake Forest University, the University of Tennessee, Dickinson College, Sewanee, and several other institutions.
He lives in Nashville with his wife and children.
Past Recipients of the Records of Achievement Award:
- Cokie Roberts (2019)
- Laura Bush (2018)
- Tom Hanks (2017)
- Ron Chernow, Thomas Kail, and Lin-Manuel Miranda (2016)
- Taylor Branch (2015)
- Robert Edsel (2014)
- 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)
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 B. Mars.