From the Timelines column of the May 2009 issue of Perspectives on History
Minutes of the 1909 Business Meeting
AHA Staff, May 2009
Editor’s Note: Continuing our commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Association, we print below extracts from the minutes of the business meeting of the AHA, held during the 1909 annual meeting in New York . The full report is on pages 40–48 of the Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1909 (Smithsonian Institution: Washington, D.C., 1911). The extracts preserve the original punctuation and capitalization; omitted material has not been indicated by ellipses.
The annual meeting of the American Historical Association for the election of officers and the transaction of other business was held at Columbia University in New York City on December 30, 1909, at 4 p. m., with the president of the association, Albert Bushnell Hart, presiding.
The first report to be read was that of the Pacific Coast branch, which was presented by Prof. Bernard Moses, the delegate of the branch.
Prof. Charles H. Haskins, secretary of the executive council, reported that that body had held three meetings during the year and had voted the usual appropriations for carrying on the work of the association. The council had arranged for the participation of the association in the International Congress of Archivists to be held in Brussels in August, 1910, appointing a special commission for that purpose. A special committee had also been appointed to consider the advisability of maintaining a commission on historic sites and monuments, and another special committee to consider the subject of a general index to the volumes of papers and annual reports thus far issued by the association. The council had decided that the twenty-sixth annual meeting of the association should be held in Indianapolis on December 27-31, 1910.
The secretary of the association, Mr. Waldo G. Leland, reported that the membership of the association stood at 2,743, representing a net gain during the year of 425. The total number of new members added had been 493. Thirty-eight members had died, of whom two were former presidents of the association, Dr. Henry C. Lea and Prof. George Park Fisher. The secretary’s office had printed and distributed during the year the biennial list of members which had been somewhat enlarged in scope and given the title of Handbook. The annual report for 1907, in two volumes, had also been distributed, and the annual report for 2008, also in two volumes, would be issued during the coming year.
The report of the treasurer, Dr. Clarence W. Bowen, showed that the net receipts of the year had been $9,521.24, the net disbursements, $8,648.68. The total assets of the association stood at $26,903.11, and increase during the year of $818.81.
The committee appointed by the president to audit the treasurer's report, Messrs. Edwin E. Sparks and Andrew McF.Davis, reported that they had found the report to be correctly given.
The report of the historical manuscripts commission was presented by its chairman, Mr. Worthington C. Ford. The commission did not plan to present any body of material for inclusion in the annual report for 1909 as the second volume of the Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas, composing of the second volume of the annual report for 1908, would be in press during the greater part of the coming year.
For the public archives commission the chairman, Prof. Herman V. Ames, reported that the commission hoped to present for inclusion in the annual report for 1909 a preliminary report on the archives of California by C.A. Dunway, a report on the public archives of Illinois by Messrs. Clarence W. Alvord and Theodore C. Pease, and a report on the archives of the Territory of New Mexico by Prof. John H. Vaughan. A new activity had been undertaken by the commission in the organization of a conference of archivists, which had been held in connection with the present meeting of the association, and the success of which had been such as to warrant planning for a similar conference next year.
For the board of editors of the American Historical Review Prof. George B. Adams, chairman, reported the resignation of Prof. Albert Bushnell Hart from the board after a service dating from the founding of the review in 1895. The council had elected as his successor, for six years from January 1, 1911, Prof. Frederick J. Turner, of Harvard University.
Dr. E.C. Richardson, chairman of the committee on bibliography, reported that the routine work of the committee had been confined to the unfortunate but necessary rejection of special bibliographies offered for printing, space for such contributions not being at present available in the annual reports.
The report of the general committee was presented by the chairman, Prof. George L. Sioussat. The committee had as in past years devoted its activities to increasing the membership of the association, and 493 new members had been added during the year. In most of the Southern States lists have been secured of persons who would probably be interested in the work of the association, and to those were sent pamphlets of information respecting the work and activities of the association and invitations to become members. A special canvass had also been conducted in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific States by the secretary of the Pacific Coast branch.
In the absence of the chairman, Prof. William A. Dunning, Mr. W. G. Leland reported for the committee on publications that, in addition to selecting the contents of the annual report for 1908, the committee had inaugurated the new series of prize essays of the American Historical Association by publishing the essay by E. B. Krehbiel on “The Interdict,” to which (in equal parts with W. S. Robertson's “Miranda”) the Herbert Baxter Adams prize had been awarded in 1907. The number of copies of “The Interdict” thus far sold (234) had been sufficient barely to pay the expense of publication. The second volume of the series, Clarence E. Carter’s “Great Britain and the Illinois Country,” to which had been awarded the Justin Winsor prize in 1908, was about to go to press and could be expected in the spring. Up to the present time 216 copies have been subscribed for. The attention of the association was called to the necessity of supporting the series and to the fact that continuous subscriptions could be made to the series at $1 per year, the amount to be added to the annual dues, thus avoiding the trouble of ordering and paying separately for the volumes.
For the committee of five on history in secondary schools, Prof. Charles H. Haskins reported, the chairman, Prof. A. C. McLaughlin, being absent, that a plan of a report had been prepared, adhering in general to the recommendations of the committee of seven. This plan was to be discussed at a conference to be held on the following day, and would be submitted to the association during the coming year.
The nominating committee then presented its report as follows:
December 30, 1909
The committee on nominations respectfully report the following nominations of officers of the American Historical Association for the ensuing year:
President: Frederick J. Turner
First vice president: William M. Sloane
Second vice president: Theodore Roosevelt
Secretary: Waldo G. Leland
Treasurer: Clarence W. Bowen
Secretary of the council: Charles H. Haskins
Curator: A. Howard Clark
Members of the executive council: Evarts B. Greene, Charles H. Hull, Max Farrand, Frank H. Hodder, Edwin Erle Sparks, Franklin L. Riley.
William E. Dodd,
George M. Wrong,
Upon the report being read it was moved and unanimously voted that the secretary of the association be directed to cast the ballot of the association as a whole for the candidates as nominated by the committee. The secretary being thus instructed, cast the ballot as directed, and the candidates as nominated were declared elected.
The retiring president expressed the feeling of gratitude felt by the entire association for the untiring efforts of those who had worked to make the twenty-fifth annual meeting so notable a success, especial thanks being due to the chairmen and members of the committee on program and of the committee on arrangements.
The meeting was then declared adjourned.