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What’s in a Name? Many H-Public readers will recall how the New York Times began its 3/4/07 obituary appreciation of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.: "With the death last week of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., at 89, America lost its last great public historian." The announcement of our collective demise was premature, but a telling measure of public confusion about who we are and what we do. What the Times writer probably meant was something like "public intellectual," but that hardly describes our work. Definitions of public history, none yet entirely satisfactory, continually come and go. Each of us has our own, and in-house most of us could probably make do with some variation on Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of pornography: "I shall not attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced,…but I know it when I see it." When we deal with the outside world, however, we urgently need – and our publics deserve – a description of public history that is realistic, succinct, and immediately intelligible. The NCPH Board recently adopted a new definition and announced it at the annual conference in Santa Fe. It reads: "Public history is a movement, methodology, and approach that promotes the collaborative study and practice of history; its practitioners embrace a mission to make their special insights accessible and useful to the public." Because we are troubled by what this new definition both includes and omits, we want to offer some comments, and suggest an alternative phrasing, in the hope that both will spark broad H-Public discussion. We question whether public history is a movement, a methodology, or even an approach. "Movement" does reference the social activist impulse that launched public history in the 1970s and continues to give it vitality, but since then public history has become so well entrenched in graduate programs and professional organizations that reformist terminology no longer seems apt. We also doubt that public history has, or needs, a distinctive "methodology." Public historians apply tried and true historical methods, collaborative strategies, and specialized techniques from other disciplines to theirwork at hand. "Approach" seems too ambiguous to be informative. We find the phrase "embrace a mission to make their special insights accessible" particularly unfortunate. By assigning agency to the missionaries, the phrase denies lay people a creative role. "Special insight" builds a wall between public historians and the publics they serve. Public historians may bring disciplined knowledge and analytic savvy to the table, but they cannot claim special access to Higher Truths. As a springboard for further discussion, we offer the following description of public history that emphasizes the collaborative character of the enterprise and the shared agency of everyone involved. "Public history practice is a multidimensional effort by historians and their publics, collaborating in settings beyond the traditional classroom, to make the past useful in the present." Kathy Corbett Gorham, Maine Dick Miller Morro Bay, California