In 1963, ACLS, the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, and the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa formed a national commission to study the state of the humanities in America. The commission’s report, published in 1964, urged Congress and the president to create a federal agency dedicated to supporting the humanities. The recommendations made by the commission received widespread, bipartisan support, and just over a year later, at 1pm on September 29, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation ushering the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities into existence.

“ACLS is proud to have played a role in convincing President Johnson and the Congress to create the National Endowment for the Humanities 50 years ago this week,” said ACLS President Pauline Yu. “NEH’s achievements of the past half-century have vindicated the hopes of the proponents of this new federal agency.  It is safe to predict that the nation and the world will need the knowledge and values of the humanities even more over the next 50 years and NEH will continue to have a critical role in sustaining humanistic work.  Happy Birthday, NEH! And many more!”

Join ACLS this week in celebrating the 50th birthday of the NEH by joining the Endowment’s social media campaign. Share your appreciation for the humanities on Twitter with @NEHgov on Tuesday, September 29 at 1pm EDT using the hashtag #NEHturns50.

For more information about the NEH’s 50th anniversary, visit