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PC(USA) Chief Historical Officer announces retirement

March 7, 2013

Dr. Frederick J. Heuser, longtime Executive Director of the Presbyterian Historical Society, has announced his retirement effective January 1, 2014.

Heuser was appointed by Stated Clerk James Andrews in 1990 to succeed William B. Miller as the Society’s director.  In his role, Heuser also serves as an Associate Stated Clerk of the General Assembly and as part of the Office of the General Assembly’s Staff Coordinating Cabinet.  Along with Dr. James Moorhead of Princeton Theological Seminary, he serves as the Senior Editor of The Journal of Presbyterian History and acts as the Chief Historical Officer of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Under his leadership the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) initiated a number of programs that furthered the Society’s mission to collect, preserve, and share the heritage of American Presbyterianism. He will leave the Society poised to enter its next chapter and with a legacy that will endure for many years to come.  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons said, “Dr. Fred Heuser has provided excellent leadership for the Presbyterian Historical Society. Fred was always able to mine our history to bring light to our current challenges. He is highly respected among his colleagues and will be sorely missed.”  Heuser’s announced retirement comes at the same time the Office of the General Assembly is implementing a new organizational structure.

Fred Heuser began his service to the Presbyterian Church in 1982 when he became the first professionally-trained archivist at PHS. Prior to coming to PHS, he served as the Archivist to the Governor of New Jersey and before that completed a fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute Archives in Washington, D.C.  A graduate of Rider University, he earned an M.A. from Villanova University in history, and an M.S. in Library Science and Archives and a Ph.D. in American history from Temple University.  His published works have focused on Presbyterian mission history, women’s history, and conflict in the American Presbyterian Church.

He and his wife Lorrie are longtime members of the Collingswood Presbyterian Church in New Jersey where both have served in numerous leadership positions.  In retirement, Heuser plans to continue to be an active grandparent, pursue volunteer opportunities, and follow his lifelong passion as a jazz guitarist.