Publication Date

September 1, 1989

Perspectives Section

From the Executive Director

As our members return from summer holidays or professional incursions (libraries, archives, etc.), the September issue of this AHA house organ provides a tightly-packed bunch of information concerning noteworthy matters that engaged headquarters staff during the period between the mid-April buttoning up of the May-June issue and the August closure of this one. The tight packing is a reflection of the healthy nature of our discipline, since employment opportunity notices take up such a large fraction of our available space. In fact a quick comparison with the September 1982 issue shows just about twice as much space is now devoted to vacancy listings.

Much of the activity of the Association staff during the period under report was generated by the spring meetings of the three divisional committees—Research, Teaching, and Professional—and by the two-day meeting of the Council and its Finance Committee in May.

Although much of the business of the three divisions was forwarded to the Council for its action and is reported under that rubric (see Council News page 4), a number of other items were dispatched at the division committee level. For example, the Research Division meeting in mid-April accepted the final format of a new book prize in medieval Spanish history, earlier approved in principle by the Council. It also adjusted the terms of two other prizes and refined the criteria for awarding of the J.F. Jameson Fellowship, a joint enterprise of the Library of Congress and the Association. The new, biennial Premio del Rey has been endowed by Fr. Robert I. Burns, S.J., Loyola University, Los Angeles, who generously dedicated the awards he received from the Lull and Catalonia prizes in Spain to set up this new prize, covering Spanish history and culture A.D. 500-1516.

The Teaching Division at its late April session acted on recommendations to bring into being pamphlets on the approaching Columbian bicentenary and to select AHA representatives to meet regularly with the board of the Society for History Education.

The Professional Division continued its active consideration of complaints, allege breaches of the AHA Standards of Professional Conduct. Four such cases are now active. It voted to continue reprinting the Standards annually in this publication and to encourage affiliated societies to reprint it also. The division reviewed its experience in hands-on supervision of the Cincinnati annual meeting’s Job Register, suggesting certain changes. It also decided that in San Francisco this December the Job Register should experiment with the practicality of operating a small number of rented private interview rooms as well as the major gratis facility.

Association headquarters was pleased to have a visit from former AHA executive secretary Boyd C. Shafer and Mrs. Shafer in late April. Dr. Shafer, among his many, achievements as chief executive of the AHA, purchased the first part of the present headquarters building.

A solemn event engaged AHA officials in early May—the Washington memorial meeting to commemorate AHA Past-President Richard B. Morris’s life of service to the profession. Many tributes were paid by the Washington-based historians to Dick Morris and affectionate anecdotes were aired in great number. His last, long labor for the AHA was the co-chairship of the joint AHA-American Political Science Association Committee overseeing our successful Project ’87 for most of the preceding decade.