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From the 126th Annual Meeting column of the September 2011 issue of Perspectives on History

To Chicago for the 126th Annual Meeting

Sharon K. Tune, September 2011

Photo courtesy the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.The 126th annual meeting of the Association will be held January 5–8, 2012, in Chicago at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, the Sheraton Chicago, and the Westin Chicago River North.

With 257 sessions, the program for this meeting is one of the largest ever assembled by the Program Committee. It is the AHA's 19th annual meeting in Chicago, the first having been held in 1893. Many of the profession's most distinguished members will be present to deliver papers and more than 1,500 scholars will participate. In addition, more than four dozen specialized affiliated societies will meet in conjunction with the AHA. Each affiliated society will hold its own sessions, luncheons, and/or meetings, as well as some joint sessions with the AHA. Anthony Grafton (Princeton Univ.) will deliver the presidential address the evening of January 6, in the General Meeting. At the same event, the AHA's book prizes, the Awards for Scholarly Distinction, the Anderson Prize, the Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize, Cunningham Prize, Equity Awards, the Feis Award, the O'Connor Film Award, the Roelker Mentorship Award, the Rosenzweig Prize, and the 2011 Honorary Foreign Member will be announced.

Accommodations

AHA annual meeting sessions and events are scheduled in the Sheraton and Marriott; affiliated society sessions and events are scheduled in the Sheraton, Marriott and Westin. The AHA has arranged for a block of rooms at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North. All hotels are located in downtown Chicago, and will be connected via a free shuttle service.

The Sheraton Chicago, 301 East North Water Street, will serve as headquarters and will house the AHA Exhibit Hall and AHA and affiliate events and sessions. The Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 North Michigan Avenue, will accommodate the Job Center, the Messaging and Internet Center, and AHA and affiliate sessions. The Westin Chicago River North, 320 North Dearborn Street, will house affiliate sessions and events. The Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North, 300 East Hubbard Street, will also have additional rooms available. The Courtyard has complimentary Internet access in all guestrooms and in all public areas.

Rates at the Sheraton, Marriott, and Westin are $109 single and $20 for each additional person. Rates at the Courtyard are $99 single, $119 double, and $10 for each additional person. All rooms are subject to city and state taxes, currently 15.4 percent. The discounted meeting rates are in effect three days before and after the January 5–8 meeting dates (that is, from January 2 through January 11), and are for a limited number of rooms only at each property.

Making a Hotel Reservation

Once preregistered for the annual meeting, attendees can make hotel reservations through the AHA Housing Desk. Peregistrants will receive confirmation of their registrations that will include information on how to make a standard room or suite reservation. Attendees will be able to make standard room reservations via the internet or the Housing Desk's toll-free number. International attendees can use the internet but will also be able to call a direct-dial number for making reservations. Suite reservations can only be made in writing via e-mail or fax addressed to the Housing Desk, and cannot be made via the internet or with the hotels directly. Reservation office hours for phone transactions are Monday through Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central Time. Internet and incoming fax services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Throughout the fall members can consult the AHA's web site (www.historians.org/annual) for complete details of each property's suite types and rates. The site will be updated frequently with availability information.

Acknowledgement: Acknowledgements are available via e-mail, fax, or mail. Acknowledgements will be e-mailed when e-mail addresses are provided unless otherwise indicated. All processing deadlines and cancellation policies are noted on acknowledgements. The hotel will not send a separate confirmation. A reservation ID number will be provided on the acknowledgement. This number is for referencing reservations through the AHA Housing Desk only. Attendees can contact hotels directly a week prior to arrival for the hotel's confirmation number.

Early Departure Fee: Some hotels have an early departure fee. Guests wishing to avoid an early checkout fee should advise the hotel at or before check-in of any change in planned length of stay. Hotels will inform attendees of this potential charge upon check-in.

Deposit Required: A credit card guarantee or one night room and tax check deposit is required for all the hotels. Credit cards must be valid through January 31, 2012. Major credit cards (MasterCard, Diners Club, Visa, American Express and Discover) are accepted.

Cutoff Date: The cutoff date for the AHA's official block at all hotels is December 16, 2011. After this date, the remaining inventory in each hotel's block will be released and rooms will be available at the AHA's convention rates on a space-available basis at the time of reservation. Frequent updates on availability will be posted on the AHA's web site at www.historians.org/annual. If hotel blocks sell out, the AHA will secure additional hotel rooms and post details on the AHA web site.

Changes, Cancellations, and New Reservations: Meeting attendees can continue to make and modify (depending on availability) or cancel reservations from September 15 through December 16, 2011. Starting December 21, attendees will have to call their selected hotel to cancel a reservation. (From December 17 through December 20, the AHA Housing Desk will be transferring reservation information to individual hotels for processing.) Attendees must cancel at least 72 hours prior to the reserved arrival date or one night's room and taxes will be charged.

If a reservation is not cancelled and the individual is a "no show,”the hotels will charge one night's room and taxes as a penalty.

Making Travel Arrangements

Association Travel Concepts (ATC) is the official travel agency for the annual meeting. ATC has negotiated discounts with American Airlines, United Airlines, Amtrak, Hertz Rent-a-Car, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car to bring attendees special air, rail, and car rental rates that are lower than those available to the public. To take advantage of these rates and benefits, e-mail reservations@atcmeetings.com. ATC is available for reservations from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. A link is also available through the AHA's annual meeting web page at www.historians.org/annual or directly from ATC's web site at www.atcmeetings.com/aha.

Airfares: By contacting ATC, attendees traveling on American Airlines will save up to 5 percent. Some restrictions may apply and service fees will vary. Travelers on United Airlines will receive up to 15 percent off tickets purchased more than 30 days prior to the meeting. Discounts will apply for travel several days before and after the AHA's meeting dates of January 5 through 8 for service into O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Attendees will be able to contact airlines directly, by toll-free number, noting discount codes, but the discount ID cannot be used on either airline's web site. See the AHA's web site for further details.

ATC will also search for the lowest available fare on any airline serving O'Hare and Midway. ATC is a full-service travel agency that provides personalized service, advance seat assignments, special meal requests, frequent flier programs updates, electronic ticketing, e-mail access for convenient booking of your tickets, and more.

Train fares: Amtrak offers a 10 percent discount off the best available fare to Chicago between January 2 and January 11, 2012. To book, call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 and refer to Convention Fare Code X57H-932. Please note that this discount cannot be booked via Amtrak's web site—you must call Amtrak or your travel agent directly and mention the fare code. The offer is not valid on Auto Train and Acela Service but is valid with Sleepers, Business Class, or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. Fare will be valid on Amtrak Regional for all departures seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.

Car rental: Attendees can arrange to rent a car at discounted rates through Hertz Rent-a-Car and Enterprise Rent-a-Car. See the AHA's web site for complete details.

Ground Transportation

From Airports:

Chicago O'Hare International Airport is located 17 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and has three domestic terminal buildings and one international facility. All terminals provide passengers quick and easy access on the upper level to the Airport Transit System (ATS). The ATS is a free, 2.5-mile-long automated people mover system that operates 24 hours a day, connecting all four terminals and the remote parking lots.

O'Hare Airport is served directly by taxi, rail, shared-ride van, and bus. Taxicabs are located on the lower level curbfront at all terminals and are available from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. A ride from the airport to the hotels takes approximately 30 minutes and costs between $35 and $40, depending on traffic. For wheelchair accessible vehicles, call United Dispatch at 1-800-281-4466. A shared-ride program permits up to four people not traveling together to share a cab from the airport for a flat fee of $15 per person. Conveniently located at the lowest level of the Main Parking Garage, the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Blue Line travels between O'Hare and downtown Chicago. The station can be reached from Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (domestic arrivals), and is accessed from Terminal 5 (international arrivals) by free, frequent airport shuttle trains. The fare is $2.25 and travel time is 45 minutes to downtown Chicago. Trains leave from outside terminals on the lower level every 5 to 10 minutes, days and evenings, and every 30 minutes from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. GO Airport Express offers daily, door-to-door service to/from O'Hare Airport. Their hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., departing approximately every 5 to 10 minutes outside the baggage claim areas of the Lower Level of the Domestic and International Terminals. The fare to the city is approximately $25. Lift-equipped vehicles are available on request for passengers with disabilities. Advanced notice is strongly urged. Two shuttles provide service between O'Hare and Midway: Coach USA Wisconsin offers hourly service between 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pickup is at the Bus Shuttle Center; one-way fare is $13, roundtrip fare $23. Omega Airport Shuttle also offers hourly service between the two airports from 7 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Pickup is located at bus/shuttle center door number 4. The one-way fare is $16.

Midway Airport is located 10 miles from downtown Chicago and is served by 7 carriers, with major operations for AirTran, Delta, and Southwest. The main lobby area at the center entrance of the airport is where the information booth and all vehicle pickup services are available. Taxis and shuttle services are available on the lower level of the three-level terminal building. A ride from Midway to the downtown hotels takes between 20 and 30 minutes and costs between $25 and $30, depending on the time of day. Chicago Transit Authority offers rapid transit between Midway and downtown Chicago on the CTA's Orange Line. Service operates all day, every day, except during overnight hours (roughly 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.) or after 11 p.m. on Sundays. Alternate overnight (“owl”) service is available via the N62 Archer bus. Trains leave from a station connected to the east side of the airport and take 20 to 30 minutes. The fare is $2.25. GO Airport Express also provides transportation to downtown hotels. Vans depart Midway every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. An information counter is located at Lower Level Arrivals door LL3. The pickup area is located outside door LL3, inside lane. The trip to downtown hotels takes 30 minutes and a one-way ticket is approximately $19. Lift-equipped vehicles are available on request for those passengers with disabilities. Advanced notice is strongly suggested. For transportation between Midway and O'Hare, consult information about two shuttle companies under O'Hare information above.

From the Amtrak Station:

Chicago is the hub of Amtrak with 50 trains arriving or departing daily. The main station is Union Station at 210 South Canal Street. Cabs are available on the lower level of the station at Adams and Canal Streets. A taxi ride from Union Station to any of the hotels runs between 10 and 20 minutes and costs approximately $10.

General Information

Group Meetings and Reunions: Societies and groups that have not already made arrangements to hold sessions or other meetings should send their requests for room space as soon as possible to Sharon K. Tune, Director, Meetings (fax 202-544-8307). Please specify preferred date, inclusive hours, attendance forecast, and any special setup desired.

Business Meeting: Resolutions for the business meeting signed by 50 members of the Association will be accepted until November 1 and must be no more than 300 words in length. Resolutions should be sent to the executive director at the AHA office, with a copy to the parliamentarian, Michael Les Benedict, 106 Dulles Hall, Ohio State University, 230 W. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210.

Location of Offices and Events: AHA sessions will be held at the Sheraton Chicago and the Chicago Marriott Downtown. The AHA Headquarters Office/Staff Room will be located in Sheraton River Hall B and the Local Arrangements Committee office will be in the Sheraton Columbus Room B. Meeting registration counters will be located in the Sheraton's River Hall B. The Job Center will be located in the Marriott's Grand Ballroom Salon 1. The Exhibit Hall will occupy the Sheraton's River Hall A. The Messaging and Internet Center will be in Marriott's Grand Ballroom Salon 1. Quiet rooms will be located in the Sheraton's Ohio Room and the Marriott's Great America Room.

AHA Registration

Advance Registration: Intending participants are urged to preregister at the reduced rates of $162 members, $212 nonmembers, $75 student members, $115 student nonmembers, $78 retired and unemployed, and $39 precollegiate teachers. The AHA also offers special, members-only preregistration rates for teachers leading groups of up to three students; these rates will be $69 for middle and high school teachers and $197 for undergraduate teachers and pre-candidacy teachers. Registration can be accessed at historians.org/annual. Advance registration for all must be received by midnight EST, December 19, 2011. The special group rates mentioned above will not be available after that date or at the meeting.

Please note that preregistration for the 2012 meeting will be handled by Convention Data Services and forms should be sent to them at address shown on the form and not to the AHA at its Washington, D.C., address.

Registration at the Meeting: The registration counters at the annual meeting, located in River Hall B of the Sheraton Chicago, will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on January 5; from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 6, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 7. Fees for registering after December 19 and at the meeting will be $190 members, $240 nonmembers, $81 student members, $121 student nonmembers, $83 retired and unemployed, and $44 precollegiate teachers.

Admission to the Exhibit Hall, Job Center, and the Messaging and Internet Center will require a 2012 meeting registration badge.

Refund Policy: Advance registrants who are unable to attend the meeting may request a refund of their registration fee. Cancellations and refund requests must be submitted in writing and postmarked (or e-mailed) by December 20, 2011. Refunds will be processed less a $20 administration fee. No refunds will be issued for requests postmarked or e-mailed after December 20, 2011. Refunds will not be given for no-shows. Cancellations and refund requests should be submitted to American Historical Association, Business Office, 400 A St SE, Washington DC 20003 or e-mailed to staffaccountant@historians.org. Faxed refund requests will not be accepted. Proof of payment—copies of front and back of canceled check or copy of credit card statement—may be required.

Exhibit Hall

The exhibit hall will be located in the Sheraton's River Exibition Hall and will be open January 5 from 3 to 7 p.m.; January 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and on January 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Job Center

The Job Center will be located in Salon 1 of the Marriott's Grand Ballroom, Salon 1. Hours of operation will be January 5 from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; January 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and January 8 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Messaging and Internet Center

The Messaging and Internet Center, which will facilitate electronic communication among attendees and make finding them easier, as well as provide general access to the internet, will be located in the Marriott's Grand Ballroom Salon 1.

The Program of the Annual Meeting will be mailed to members in mid-October. The annual meeting web pages at historians.org/annual, which will be continually updated, will provide detailed information about the meeting and all necessary links.

Sharon K. Tune is director, meetings and administrative operations for the AHA.