Publication Date

January 1, 1991

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to report the results of the 1990 election for AHA offices. (Elected candidates are indicated with an asterisk.)

Total Ballots Processed 3,693


President (one-year term)

*William E. Leuchtenburg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 2,987

President-elect (one-year term)

Jan Vansina, University of Wisconsin, Madison 1,518

*Frederic E. Wakeman, University of California, Berkeley 1,878

Vice President, Research Division (three-year term)

*Blanche Wisen Cook, John Jay College-CUNY 1,751

Stanley L. Engerman, University of Rochester 1,741

Council Members (three-year terms)


Place 1

*Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University 2,114

Joe W. Trotter, Carnegie Mellon University 1,216

Place 2

*Carole K. Fink, University of North Carolina, Wilmington 1,829

Woodruff D. Smith, University of Texas, San Antonio 1,440

Divisional Committee Members (three-year terms)


Joseph E. Harris, Howard University 1,441

*Anand Yang, University of Utah 1,597


*Claudia Koonz, Duke University 1,940

Roberta Manning, Boston College 1,292


*James Adomanis, Anne Arundel County (MD) Schools 1,583

Howard J. Shorr, Downtown Business Magnet School, Los Angeles, CA 1,312

Committee on Committees (three-year terms)

Place 1

*Keith M. Baker, Stanford University 1,722

Judith K. Walkowitz, Institute for Advanced Study 1,649

Place 2

*Susan E. Ramirez, De Paul University 1,582

Jaime E. Rodriguez, University of California, Irvine 1,483

Nominating Committee (three-year terms)

Place 1

*Rebecca J. Scott, University of Michigan 2,000

Eric Van Young, University of California, San Diego 1,164

Place 2

Jean H. Baker, Goucher College 1,501

*Nancy A. Hewitt, University of South Florida 1,628

Place 3

*Rudolph Bell, Rutgers University 1,655

Ted W. Margadant, University of California, Davis 1,499


The total number of ballots cast was 3,693. Although this figure is somewhat lower than the 4,059 votes recorded in 1989, it compares most favorably with 1986, when 2,893 members voted and with 1987 and 1988, when 3,600 and 3,510 members respectively exercised the franchise. It should be added that 63 ballots arrived after the November 1 deadline and could not be counted.

As was the case last year, the National Computer Systems of Burnsville, Minnesota, scanned the ballots and tabulated the results. Only 117 ballots needed to be handcounted, since most voters followed the instructions to fill in the circles with a number two pencil. A few voters criticized the slate of candidates, often in a humorous vein.

The nine members of the Nominating Committee met in Washington on Thursday, February 22, 1990, and we concluded our work by midday Saturday, February 24. A few prospective candidates were hard to reach, however, and these individuals were not contacted until Monday or Tuesday of the following week. Happily, all of them accepted the committee’s invitation to stand for election.

For nomination for President, the committee adhered to the recently established pattern of nominating scholars from fields other than European and American every fifth year. Prior to our meeting, committee members had carefully studied the list of nominees that came from the membership and solicited additional recommendations from colleagues across the country. We were sensitive to the need to present a slate of candidates that reflected the diversity of the membership relative to field, gender, race, region, type of institution, professional rank, and so on. This was a daunting task, even under the best of circumstances. We cannot claim to have met all of these criteria in our selections but we took our task very seriously, debated among ourselves with candor and respect, and ultimately agreed on a fine group of candidates. Along the way, we may have considered more than 200 members for the various offices.

Most of the individuals who were asked to run for office accepted without hesitation and with considerable enthusiasm. Five members declined, usually citing the pressure of other professional obligations as the primary reason for their decision. To complicate matters, the committee was occasionally disappointed to discover that several potential candidates were not members of the AHA. Since this problem has also bedeviled previous committees, it is clear that creative efforts should be made to expand the reach of the Association. In particular, members of minority groups and scholars in such underrepresented fields as Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America must become the targets of systematic and aggressive recruitment strategies. The AHA has made great strides in recent years to meet the needs of the entire profession but many challenges still remain.

I should report that the committee also nominated candidates for the Association’s award to distinguished senior scholars. As in the case of the nominees for the elective offices, we benefited from the suggestions made by the membership and we deliberated carefully before submitting the names to Council.

In closing, I should like to thank the AHA’s superb staff for contributing so much to the success of our efforts. Sam Gammon, as usual, gave us the benefit of his experience and provided us with wise counsel. Sharon K. Tune worked diligently and tirelessly to meet the committee’s needs and facilitated our work in a thousand ways. I also wish to thank all the candidates who ran for office and to congratulate the winners. I am confident that those who lost will continue to serve the Association in other ways. A special thanks also goes to the members of the Nominating Committee for their outstanding work. I enjoyed working with them over the past three years and I was honored to have been invited to serve in the capacity of Chair this year.

Colin A. Palmer
William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor and Chair,
Department of History, University of North Carolina
Chair, 1990 AHA Nominating Committee