Minutes of the 123rd Business Meeting

Recorded by Sharon K. Tune

President Gabrielle Spiegel (Johns Hopkins Univ.) called the annual business meeting to order at 4:45 p.m. on January 4, 2009, in the Beekman Parlor of the Hilton New York. Michael Les Benedict (Ohio State Univ.) served as parliamentarian for the meeting.

Report of the Executive Director: Arnita A. Jones reported that registration for the meeting was 5,973, the highest in more than 40 years. She summarized the constitutional changes approved by the membership in January 2009, and subsequent revision of the bylaws, which were approved by Council at its spring meeting. She stated that Council had evaluated the Association’s investment policy, and agreed to move management of the AHA portfolio to TIAA-CREF. Ms. Jones reported that due to the downturn of the economy, the AHA’s investments were down 25 percent, with the $4 million endowment reduced to $3 million. On a more positive note, she observed that the AHA’s membership had decreased by just 200 members from the previous year. She concluded her remarks by offering thanks to the AHA staff, members of the Program and Local Arrangements Committees, the officers, and volunteers who made Annual Meeting a great success.

Report of the Editor: Robert Schneider (Indiana Univ.) reported that the American Historical Review’s 13-member staff successfully kept the journal on schedule and under budget. He discussed the partnership with the University of Chicago Press, publisher of the Review, and provided a mid-term report on the three-year contract. Mr. Schneider thanked the 12 members of the Board of Editors for their excellent advice and hard work throughout the year. He concluded by encouraging members to submit articles to the journal, observing that it is a rigorous process to publication but was also a rewarding process.

Report of the Nominating Committee: Jane Landers (Vanderbilt Univ.), chair of the 2008 committee, presented the report of the Nominating Committee, described the nominations process, and summarized the considerations in selecting nominees for elective office. She announced that 3,488 AHA members cast ballots, slightly more than in the previous year’s election. She then announced the results of the election held in November 2008: President: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Harvard Univ.); President-elect: Barbara Metcalf (Univ. of California, Davis emerita); Vice President, Research Division: Iris Berger (Univ. at Albany, SUNY); Councilor Profession: Sarah Maza (Northwestern Univ.); Councilor Research: John Kelly Thornton (Boston Univ.); Councilor Teaching: Barbara L. Tischler (Horace Mann School); Committee on Committees: Kriste Lindenmeyer (Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County) and Lloyd S. Kramer (Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Nominating Committee: Marshall C. Eakin (Vanderbilt Univ.), Poshek Fu (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and Carol Anderson (Emory Univ.) She concluded these remarks by expressing gratitude to all AHA members who agreed to run for office, her colleagues on the committee, and Sharon K. Tune, long-time assistant to the committee.

Reports of the Vice-Presidents: Teofilo Ruiz (UCLA) summarized the work of the Research Division, noting that during his three-year term the division sought to promote new programs in this country and abroad. Initiatives include a research project on “Sites of Encounters and Cultural Production,” efforts on behalf of early career scholars who have insufficient research funds, and work to make the AHA a more international organization. He thanked Robert B. Townsend and other AHA staff members as well as his colleagues on the Division for their contributions to the work of the Division.

Karen Haltunnen (Univ. of Southern California) discussed the efforts of the Teaching Division. She reported that teaching prizes are thriving and that a new award had been established—the Raymond J. Cunningham Prize—for undergraduate writing, $200 to be awarded to the student and $200 to the journal. She talked about the all-day workshop of the National History Center Clearinghouse and the Center’s future plans. She concluded by surveying the Division’s other oversight activities, and thanked Noralee Frankel and AHA and her colleagues on the Division.

David J. Weber (Southern Methodist Univ.), vice president of the Professional Division was unable to attend the annual meeting and his written report was distributed to attendees.

Other business: Resolution: AHA member Carlos Aramayo (Yale Univ./UNITE HERE) submitted a “Resolution That the American Historical Association Honor the Boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Presently Identified as Co-Headquarters of the 2010 Meeting.” Ms. Spiegel reviewed the constitutional process to discuss the resolution. Mr. Aramayo stated that he was aware that there were serious concerns about breaking the contract and offered UNITE HERE’s pro bono legal counsel. Mr. Ruiz discussed the costs of breaking the contract, reporting that doing so less than one year prior to the meeting would incur a penalty of $534,784 plus the loss of concessions totaling $181,000. On behalf of himself and Barbara Weinstein (NYU), both outgoing members of Council and thus with no vote at Council’s next session to act on the business meeting’s action, presented a substitute resolution. Following discussion by those present, the substitute resolution was approved by members at the Business Meeting and was forwarded for consideration by the Council at its Monday, January 5, 2009, session. (The Council—which had the options of acceptance, nonconcurrence, or veto—vetoed the resolution approved at the Business Meeting and passed a modified resolution, which was, however, in keeping with the spirit of the resolution adopted at the business meeting.)

Adjournment: Hearing no further requests for discussion, Ms. Spiegel concluded the meeting by thanking the program and local arrangements committees who developed the meeting, and the AHA staff for all their good work. She then introduced the incoming president, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Harvard Univ.), who accepted the gavel and declared the meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

Sharon K. Tune is the AHA’s assistant director for administration.