Publication Date

March 1, 2000

Perspectives Section


At its January meeting, the AHA Council approved a proposal to publish an AHA membership directory as part of the Directory of History Departments and Organizations.

According to Robert Townsend, the AHA's manager of publications and coeditor of the Directory, “This is the best solution to a concern I have heard from members over the past 10 years, who objected to being excluded from the Directory because they were not affiliated with a listing institution.” Townsend estimated that this would have the added benefit of significantly expanding the Directory‘s coverage of the profession, adding information on about 7,000 historians who had previously been excluded.

Immediate Past President Robert Darnton, who has championed the idea of a printed membership directory for the past two years, said he is particularly enthusiastic about the decision: "The directory deserves a place on every historian's desk. Some will use it as an address book, in order to locate fellow scholars; some will use it as a research tool, in order to find out who is studying what in the year 2000; and some will use it as a source of data, in order to get a general picture of the profession at the turn of the millennium."

The membership directory will be integrated into the current directory index (which will be relabeled a "Guide to Historians"). Nonmembers listed in the Directory will have only their institutional affiliation and e-mail addresses listed, as in the past. AHA members will be listed (unless they request to be excluded) in the index with name and contact information as well as areas of specialization, as follows:

Townsend, Robert, American Historical Association, 400 A St. SE, Washington, DC 20003. Affil.: AHA. Phone (202) 544-2422. Fax (202) 544-8307. E-mail: Research specs: 405, 722, 723. Current Research: historical profession in the United States.

The data for the membership directory will be pulled out of the membership database on May 15, to allow enough time for basic proofreading of the data.

Townsend encouraged AHA members to check and update their information at the AHA web site as soon as possible. A sample version of each member’s directory listing will be provided when the member logs in to the member services area of the web site. Members can also ask to be included in the online directory.

Despite the new wealth of information that will be provided, the AHA will not increase the current price of the Directory, which will remain at $55 for AHA members and $75 for nonmembers.

The Directory has enjoyed a significant boost in sales over the past year, thanks to the new Member Services Program, which allows members to subscribe to additional AHA publications. However, according to Townsend, the costs and sales of the next edition will need to be assessed later in the fall to determine whether this will be done on an annual basis.

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