Published Date

September 17, 1972

This resource is part of The AHA Review Board: A Preliminary Report (1972). 

At the present time, dues account for only 36.7 per cent of association revenues, a substantial decrease from the 1967 proportion of 54.5 per cent, even though dues continue to be, as they always have been, our largest single source of revenue. This noteworthy decrease is not due to any decrease in membership. Even with the last increase of dues effective in July 1971, membership remains comparatively stable at the plateau it has reached in recent years:



September 1972
Regular 12,404
Student 3,670
Life 434
Other 323
Total 16,840

December 1968
Regular 13,046
Student 3,191
Life 445
Other 138
Total 16,820

But the history of our slowly increasing level of dues will show at a glance that they have been all too modest and nominal for an association chartered by Congress to serve the needs not only of the historical profession but of history and its study in the United States.


Regular $5.00
Student $5.00

Regular 7.50
Student 7.50

Regular 10.00
Student 10.00

Regular 15.00
Student 15.00

Regular 20.00
Student 20.00

In these years, when teaching salaries have been increasing at a rapid rate, association dues remained merely nominal, lagging far behind the enhanced ability of members to pay for the expanding activities and publications of their association.

Under any circumstances, the dues structure of the association must, we believe, meet the following criteria: It should help provide the income necessary to carry out the tasks mandated by the membership. It should bear some relation to income, rank, and age. It should be designed to reflect the various categories of members. And it should encourage, where possible, support from all friends of history. As they now stand, association dues fail to meet these standards: they are comparatively low; they are unprogressive; they are restrictive in their categories; and they fail to attract history’s supporters wherever they may be found.

It is therefore our belief that dues should be raised-although not extensively-in order to bring them into line with related scholarly and professional organizations.1 We also believe that dues should bear some relation to income, without requiring members to disclose their salary and other resources-as they must in some other organizations. The most efficient and equitable manner to achieve this end is to link dues to professional categories. Furthermore, the designation of categories must be more inclusive than at present. Finally, we think that institutional memberships and special individual memberships should more actively be encouraged by the creation of new membership categories.

We envision the following dues structure, subject of course to periodic revision by the Council under provision of the constitution

  • Instructors and assistant professors: $20 (as at present)
  • Associate professors: $25 (an increase of $5)
  • Full professors: $30 (an increase of $10)
  • Undergraduate students and graduate students not teaching full time and for a five-year maximum (with faculty certification): $10 (as at present)
  • Spouses of members in all categories: $10 (as at present)
  • Teachers emeriti and professors emeriti: $10 (as at present)
  • Primary and secondary school teachers, archivists, librarians, government and institutional historians, and others: $20 (as at present)
  • Life membership: $600 (an increase of $200 payable in not more than four installments within two years)

Furthermore, the Review Board recommends three new categories of membership for reasons that seem to be equitable and self-evident:

  • Foreign $20
  • Contributing $50
  • Sustaining $100

Finally, to avoid any emergency calls for voluntary contributions in the future, and to offer college and university teaching departments of history an opportunity to support their professional association, the Review Board recommends a new category of institutional membership, the annual dues to be paid from their departmental funds.

Such provision for institutional dues is not unknown among our colleges and universities. Many university libraries pay annual dues of $1,500 to their professional association; university presses pay $800. Moreover, many regional and special-subject scholarly associations receive institutional support.

We therefore recommend the establishment of annual dues of $30 for each of the 1,065 undergraduate departments of history and $100 for each of the graduate departments of history. While we assume all such departments would thereupon receive extra copies of the AHR for their use, the payment of departmental dues should be construed as additional support for current services provided institutions by the AHA (such as faculty recruitment, annual meetings of graduate departmental chairmen) and as the means by which the association can become more effectively involved in the problems of college and university teaching.

The Review Board recommends this new scale of dues to the Council (and the membership) with reasonable confidence that it will produce at least $100,000 additional in annual operating funds and-no less important-restore dues income to about half of the association’s revenue.


  1. MLA annual dues are $25 for regular membership, $7 for students not in full-time teaching capacities and for a four-year maximum, $10 for spouses, and $18 for foreign members. APSA dues are set at $20 for those earning under $12,000, $25 for those earning $12-15,000, and $30 for those earning above $15,000, $10 for students and emeriti professors, $5 for spouses, $1000 for life, and $35 for institutional membership. American Sociological Association dues are $30 for regular membership (which brings subscriptions to the association’s two journals, the American Sociological Review and Contemporary Sociology, a journal of book reviews), $20 for an associate membership (for the first five years of membership without voting rights), $15 for student membership, and $12 for foreign members. []