“Our democracy relies on the knowledge our citizens have of our political history and the principles and values that history was built upon. Ensuring that this story is told is among NEH’s most important responsibilities and accomplishments.”

- Chairman William Adams, National Endowment for the Humanities

The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, established by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972, is the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.


The National Humanities Medal

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens' engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.

Past Recipients Include:

 Joan Didion

Joan Didion

 Theodore C. Sorensen

Theodore C. Sorensen

Other recipients include:

  • Richard Brookhiser
  • Hal Holbrook
  • Joyce Carol Oates