At the beginning of
this annual accounting of the affairs of the American Historical Association I
am happy to record a small but in these times significant gain in membership.
Last year we made something of holding our own with a gain .of two members. This
year the gain is twenty times as great, which is a more impressive notation than
to say we have forty-three more members than on the corresponding date last year.
Seven new life members have enrolled and sixteen have died. (For complete membership
statistics see pp. 37-39.)
The Treasurer's report, shows our finances are
in a healthy condition. The considerable gain in receipts over last year is in
part due to an effort to make all Review subscriptions begin with the October
issue, and is thus somewhat deceptive.
We have kept, despite losses of able
assistants, a competent and conscientious staff in the central office. Miss Catharine
Seybold has replaced Miss Blegen as assistant editor and Miss Joan Margo carries
the office responsibilities of Miss Bohning, resigned. These young women, with
Miss Washington as senior to us all, carry their special responsibilities and
serve as interchangeable parts when the load becomes heavy in any other sector
of the office.
Your Executive Secretary was obliged to assume added responsibilities
in connection with the Historical Service Board when Dean Theodore C. Blegen,
the Director, returned to his university duties on September 1. A part of the
salary of the Executive Secretary is charged to the Board's budget and paid directly
into the Associations treasury.
As one of the current war activities of
the Association, a brief report of the work of the Historical Service Board is
perhaps the first matter to report. The Board has been engaged since September,
1943, in preparing pamphlets for volunteer discussion groups in the Army in this
country and abroad. It has maintained a small staff in offices in the Annex to
the Library of Congress and has many collaborators both in and out of Washington.
The Board members have all been active in reading and criticizing manuscripts.
The difficulties and exasperating delays in connection with getting out the pamphlets
would make more than one chapter in the history of civilian military co-operation.
For what it has done, the Board and its Director, Mr. Blegen, and the staff, Mr.
Thomas K. Ford, Miss Sarah Davidson, and Mrs. Arthur J. Larsen, deserve an "E"
production pennant, and each pamphlet that has been accepted and printed deserves
whole rows of combat area ribbons. Mr. Blegen and I are both candidates for the
Purple Heart Speaking before complete returns are in, I should hope that by January
first some eighteen pamphlets would be available to the soldiers but none to the
civilians, which is a matter of regret for they are of equal importance to any
citizen whether in uniform or out. Almost as many more pamphlets are in various
stages of preparation. In form and substance they are a tribute to the scholarship
and adaptability of the authors and the editorial skill of the staff and the artists,
many of them in the army, who have designed their covers and illustrations.
Edward Evans has had charge in these matters of design in co-operation with the
Board's staff. The pamphlets are part of the far-flung program of the Division
of Information and Education of the Army., directed by Major General Frederick
H. Osborn. The liaison officer between the Historical Service Board and the department
is Major Donald W. Goodrich. No one could have been more helpful and understanding
than Major Goodrich in forwarding the whole enterprise. The editions of the pamphlets,
first set at thirty-five thousand copies, have been increased to printings of
two hundred thousand copies. The project, whether or not it goes on after this
year, will stand as an enterprise worthy of the approbation of the Association
and a credit to it in the years to come. May I record here, as the War Department
has already done, a word of unstinted praise for the intelligence, tact, and energy
with which its Director, Mr. Blegen, set it on its feet and saw it on its way