Like No Other
William Lloyd Fox, April 1992
Organizations of professional historians have generally the common attributes of incorporation, bylaws, officers, dues, headquarters, publications, and annual meetings at which scholarly papers are presented. But there is an organization in Washington, DC—some might say a non-organization—of professional historians drawn from the metropolitan area that has no charter, no bylaws, no officers, no dues, no publication, and no scholarly papers delivered at its twice a year—fall and spring—luncheons at the George Washington University Club.
With a rather prosaic name, the DC Historians' Luncheon has been meeting for nearly fifty years, originally in the old Student Union of George Washington University, later at different campuses such as Catholic University of America, Georgetown University, Montgomery College, and the University of Maryland, and for twenty-odd years at the attractive George Washington University Club. The format of the meetings is simple: a social hour, a delicious buffet, which is followed by brief announcements from the assembled concerning new publications, new programs, and research in progress. Within the last year or two an added attraction has been a ten-minute talk by a distinguished historian on his or her work.
Ironically, no one knows how or exactly when this group of about 250 academic, public, and private historians was founded! The late Wood Gray of George Washington University chaired the Luncheon for about twenty years. He was followed by William Fox of Montgomery College, who served as chair (no official title) for ten years. For the last five years an executive committee of about a dozen has been responsible for the fall and spring meetings.
Visitors are always welcome. For details call (202) 994-6230 or write the Department of History, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052.
William Lloyd Fox is professor emeritus of history at Montgomery College and is currently historian of The Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction.