Publication Date

February 1, 1990

Perspectives Section

From the Executive Director

Headquarters staff straggled into Washington from the annual meeting in San Francisco all during the first week in January, eyes still bloodshot from their long hours working the Hilton corridors and meeting rooms. Notwithstanding their weariness, they share a feeling of exhilaration that the San Francisco annual meeting was a great success. Registration hit 3,392, over 1,150 higher than at the 1983 meeting in the Golden Gate City. Laudatory comments were received from many about the excellence of the program crafted by Timothy Tackett and his colleagues on the 1989 Program Committee, and of the operations in the Hilton, Westin/St. Francis, and the Galleria Park hotels supervised by Peter Pierson and his Local Arrangements Committee, which were smooth and efficient. Indeed the only criticisms heard were from frustrated “Flying Dutchmen” wandering hopeless and helpless along the halls of the Hilton trying to find out how to get from Exhibit Hall to session rooms or bedrooms! The Job Register staff, situated between these sought-after sites, ended by serving frequently as geographic experts for the wanderers.

The many actions taken by the AHA Council at its two meetings December 27th and 30th are reported elsewhere in this issue.

A few notes of other activities which preceded the annual meeting deserve mention in this brief column. On November 30, members of the Council’s Finance Committee held their annual meeting with the Association’s five trustees over luncheon at Fiduciary Trust International, our investment bankers since 1932. The Association is in fact their oldest individual investment account, though one of their smaller ones. It can be said that at the meeting the Finance Committee was literally in the world of high finance, since it took place on the 95th floor of World Trade Center Two in New York City. As always, the Committee came away grateful for the care and thoughtfulness which our five trustees, all experienced Wall Street executives, devote to our modest portfolio. The trustees asked to have standing and oral instructions incorporated in a written statement of Association objectives for its investments, which President Harlan drafted, and which the Council approved on December 27. Our guidance incorporates conservation of capital, ethical investment policy, and capital growth as principal objectives, since the AHA sets no income target figure and relies on capital enhancement to offset inflation.

On December 8–10, the 1990 Program Committee, cochaired by Ronald Walters, The Johns Hopkins University and Jean H. Quataert, SUNY-Binghamton, began its activities in a two-day session in Washington, DC. Early indications are that the strong emphasis of the last two Program Committees on comparative history, which has produced such interesting sessions, will continue. The Association owes to its dedicated members who take on these program responsibilities an immense debt of gratitude. Indeed it is the willingness and dedication of so many of our members who serve on prize and other committees, in elected offices, and in many other unpaid and responsible capacities which makes the AHA a viable concern.