Table of contents:
- Elections Board Report
- President’s Report
- Treasurer’s Report
- Finance Report
- Editor CHR report
- Secretary’s Report
- ACHA Website Report
- Annual Awards & Prizes
- Program Committee
The 2014 elections were conducted for the third time under the recently implemented Constitutional changes, which established an Elections Board. This year’s election board consisted of Una Cadegan, chair; Angie Dries, Leigh Ann Craig, Stefania Tutino, and Bentley Anderson.
The nominating process produced a varied list of candidates, allowing the Association to continue to broaden and diversify its Executive Council by region, discipline, gender, and institutional affiliation. The slate of candidates for the Executive Council included Paul Mariani, Santa Clara University; Martin Menke, Rivier University; Thomas Rzeznik, Seton Hall University; and Kevin Spicer, Stonehill College. For the office of vice president, Lisa Bitel, University of Southern California, and Liam Matthew Brockey, Michigan State University. And for chair of the Elections Board: Jay Carney, Creighton University; and Thomas Izbicki, Rutgers University.
On-line voting was held from September 9th to 23rd, with mail-in ballots being accepted until the 22nd. Because of the difficulties with the software company last year, we utilized a new company and system at a reduced price for the Association.
The results of the 2014 elections are as follows: Thomas Rzeznik and Kevin Spicer were elected to the Executive Council for the 2014-2017 term; Jay Carney, chair of the Election Board, 2015-2018; and Liam Brockey assumes the vice presidency in 2015 and the presidency in 2016.
The Elections Boards extends its congratulations and thanks to those who are willing to serve the Association in elective office. Thanks also to all those who nominated candidates. And special thanks to the ACHA webmaster, Andy Metzger.
Una Cadegan, chair
Over the past five years, the American Catholic Historical Association has undergone a remarkable transformation. Thanks to the activist leadership of a series of dedicated, long-sighted, and wise presidents – from Rev. Steven Avella through Larissa Taylor and Margaret M. McGuinness – and the able and energetic management of our Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Bentley Anderson, the ACHA has been able to achieve satisfactory resolutions to a number of longstanding issues.
Catholic Historical Review
The agreement that Margaret McGuinness negotiated with Trevor Lipscomb, Director of the Catholic University of America Press, provides all members of ACHA with free access to electronic copies of the CHR on a quarterly basis via Project Muse as well as all back issues of the journal that are available through that portal. Those members who prefer to receive print copies may elect to do so for an additional fee. This arrangement has been in place for a year now, and seems to have worked smoothly. A Memorandum of Understanding formalizing this agreement has been drawn up, and awaits approval at our annual meeting. This MOA guarantees the terms of the agreement for ten years, and can be renewed upon expiration.
Our finances are in good shape. The agreement reached with CUA Press removed a major drain on our resources. At the same time, the continuing rebound in the financial markets has meant further growth in our endowment, which continues to be managed by DB. Our able Finance Committee – Elizabeth McGahan, Rodger Van Allen, and Eric Wood – has set high benchmarks for DB’s performance, leading DB to adopt an investment strategy that is perhaps more aggressive than the norm for organizations such as ours. This has worked well for us during the extended bull market of the past six years, but if that bull market shows signs of faltering, we will need to shift to a more defensive investment posture. I know we can trust the Finance Committee, in conjunction with the Executive Treasurer, to closely monitor our investments and recommend any appropriate adjustment in our investment policy.
Electronic Communications and Web Site
The new ACHAhistory.org web site launched in July, very nearly on schedule; and though I am sure it didn’t feel that way to our web coordinator, Andy Metzger, from the outside the launch appeared to go off smoothly. The new site presents a more elegant electronic face to visitors and provides members with enhanced services. It is now possible to join the ACHA online, renew and manage our memberships online, hold our elections online, register for the annual meeting online, and access the electronic version of the CHR through this portal. All this, of course, makes life easier for the Executive Secretary, as well as more convenient for the membership. For an organization that is nearly 100 years old, the ACHA seems to be adjusting reasonably well to the digital age. It is perhaps worth noting that roughly the same percentage of members at all ranks, from graduate students to full professors, opted to receive the electronic version of the CHR.
With these practical matters resolved – with the ACHA on sound financial footing, its internet presence improved, and its electronic operations streamlined – we are now in a position to turn our attention to addressing some fundamental issues that touch, in one way or another, on our understanding of who we are as a scholarly organization.
1. Our improved financial situation has allowed us to take some relatively cautious initiatives, such as increasing the amount of our various book and article prizes. Are there other initiatives that we wish to undertake, such as (for instance) increasing the amount of the John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award, offering additional grants to assist graduate students with their research, adding a cash component to the honor bestowed by our distinguished achievement awards? Of course, any such commitment would require careful planning and budgeting. To that end, it may be time to ask the Executive Council and the Finance Committee to work up a formula for calculating how much revenue our growing endowment might generate on an annualized basis, so that we can have a better idea of what resources are available to use on such initiatives.
2. Now that the financial relations between the ACHA and the CHR have been amicably defined, we need to turn our attention to the intellectual relationship between the association and the journal. Since the conference program, membership information, and other ACHA news are now posted on our web site rather than printed in the pages of the journal, what does it mean to say that the CHR is the official journal of the ACHA? Are there ways of making our intellectual relationship more robust, perhaps by undertaking initiatives that involve coordination between our web site and the journal? With an eye to closer engagement, the editor of the CHR has invited the president of the ACHA to sit on the CHR editorial board, just as the editor of the CHR sits ex officio on our EC. How should we respond to his invitation? Would such an arrangement be mutually beneficial?
3. In recent years, the AHA has made a number of decisions regarding the organization and operation of its annual meeting that have had immediate and profound repercussions on its affiliated societies, including the ACHA. These have affected everything from registration for the annual meeting to the presence – more exactly, the absence – of an ACHA desk at the meeting, and from the fees we must pay for facilities to the times at which we can schedule our business meeting and other functions. The cumulative impact of these changes in AHA policy may well make holding our annual meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the AHA (as we have historically done) both more expensive and less convenient. I, for one, would be very sorry to see any loosening of the ties that have traditionally bound the ACHA to the AHA, but the time has come for a serious discussion of how to keep those ties from becoming unduly constrictive.
I end my report by thanking the many people who have selflessly given their time to ensuring the smooth functioning of the ACHA: the members of the EC and the other committees, who have always stood ready to offer wise counsel and cordial support; the stalwart members of our many prize committees, who must feel especially well informed, and perhaps a little sleep-deprived, after reading so many outstanding submissions; and Bentley Anderson, SJ, whose tireless labors on behalf of the association make him the indispensable cogwheel at the center of our organization. Presidents come and go, but I assure Angelyn Dries, OSF, to whose capable hands I shall soon pass the gavel, and Liam Brockey, to whom she in turn will pass it, that I am not going very far. Should they ever need it, they can count on my continued support and enduring commitment to the American Catholic Historical Association, which I have been very proud to serve as its first president to have been bar mitzvah.
Based on our membership and its various categories, dues generated approximately $27,000 this past year. To meet our spending needs, we withdrew $26,000 (or 2.5%) from our portfolio. As of December 15, 2014, our portfolio was valued at $1.23M, appreciating over $100K this past calendar year.
Volume 100 of the journal consisted of 859 pages of articles, a disputatio, forum and review essays, book reviews, brief notices, and the quarterly sections Notes and Comments (including four obituary notices) , Periodical Literature, and Other Books Received, with an additional twenty-two pages of preliminary material, and a twenty-two-page index, for a total of 903 pages. Once again, Professor Paul F. Grendler generously contributed money to support the journal.
Of the fourteen articles published, one treated a medieval topic, three early modern ones, four late modern European, four American, and two Chinese. Their authors came mostly from American institutions, but Australian, British, and Estonian universities were also represented. The ACHA Presidential Address dealt with an American topic. The Disputatio treated a Latin American controversy. The essays consisted of one Forum Essay on ancient Christianity in which six scholars from the United States, England, and Scotland participated, and a Review Essay by a Canadian scholar dealing with nine volumes of documents from the Gomá Archive in Madrid.
There were 198 book reviews and two brief notices. The book reviews can be subdivided into the following categories: general and miscellaneous (13), ancient (15), medieval (56), early modern (51), late modern (26), American (22), Latin American (7), Asian (5), Canadian (2), and African (1). Their authors came mostly from institutions in the United States (126 or 64%), but those in other countries were also represented: in England (32 or 16%), Scotland (9 or 4.5%), Canada (7 or 3%), Australia (5 or 2.5%), Germany (4 or 2%), Ireland (3 or 1.5%), Italy and the Netherlands (2 each or 1%), and one each from Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and Russia. Of the two brief notices, one was from an author at an institution in the United States, the other from the United Kingdom. Please see Table 1.
Msgr. Trisco reports that the journal could have published many more book reviews if all those who accepted books had submitted reviews punctually. At the end of this year 62 reviewers are considered delinquent. It is the journal’s practice to send such reviewers three reminders before considering the matter hopeless and then merely listing the title in “Other Books Received.” So far he has sent 99 first reminder notices and 69 second and third reminders. Authors who have been disappointed not to find in the journal reviews of their books may inquire of Msgr. Trisco (firstname.lastname@example.org) whether a review copy was received in the editorial office and sent out for review.
By November 7, 2014, the editors had received thirty-four new submission of articles. They came primarily from the United States, but also from Canada, China/Hong Kong, England, Grenada, Italy, and Russia. Table 2 shows the current disposition of these submissions. To put things in perspective, of the 43 articles received in 2009, 14 were published; of the 34 in 2010, 14; of the 34 in 2011, 13; of the 31 in 2012, six have so far been published and three await publication; of the 37 in 2013, one has been published and ten are so far accepted.
In the editorial office, Msgr. Trisco skillfully handles most book reviews and continues to compile the sections Periodical Literature and Other Books Received. Dr. Jennifer Paxton gives great assistance as associate editor, evaluating manuscripts and selecting reviewers for books on medieval topics. Dr. Robin Darling Young, who joined the board of advisory editors last year, provides her expert advice and has organized the Forum Essay that appeared in the Autumn issue. Ms. Katya Mouris has continued as the devoted assistant to Msgr. Trisco. During Ms. Mouris’s absence over the summer to study paleography and archival sciences in Germany, Ms. Bonnie Brunelle ably substituted for her. Ms. Elizabeth Foxwell remains the dedicated and expert staff editor.
With volume 100, the journal appeared in a new format. The cover design allows varying size illustrations; and the blue (Winter), green (Spring), red (Summer) , and orange (Autumn) colors make each issue stand out for the others. The new font (Caslon) results in more words per page. Plans go forward for two special centennial issues, one evaluating the contribution of the journal to the study of church history over the previous century and the other featuring studies in the latest historiographical trend, applying the study of material culture to the history of Catholicism. Dr. Maureen C. Miller skillfully organized and edited the issue dedicated to material culture and Catholicism which will accompany the Winter issue.
After years of discussion and negotiations, a memorandum of agreement has been drawn up by ACHAPresident Daniel Bornstein and CUA Press Director Trevor Lipscombe. The Press has generously agreed to give electronic access to the journal at no personal cost to all members of the Association and to provide to them hard-bound copies at near cost. The current president of the Association is invited ex officio to join the journal’s advisory editorial board. The journal will no longer publish the reports of the Association’s meetings, but will continue to print its award citations and the obituary notices of its distinguished members.
Nelson H. Minnich, Editor
TABLE 1: Book reviews and brief notices published in 2013.
TABLE 2: Manuscripts submitted in 2014 (as of November 7).
Membership. At the end of 2014, the Association had 486 active members, of whom 318 were Regular members, 43 were Emeritus/Retired members, 64 were Student members, and 51 were Lifetime members (individuals and institutions). Our Graduate Student numbers remain steady as well as the Emeritus/Retired numbers, but the Regular membership is influx once again. There will need to be a concerted effort by all members of the Association to promote the organization and to think creatively regarding a membership drive in the coming year.
Grants. In 2014 we awarded two Junior Faculty and three Graduate Student Summer Research grants. While these grants will be offered on a year-to-year basis, they are the kinds of scholarly initiatives the ACHA should be funding and promoting on an annual basis. Peter Cajka (Boston College), Sean Phillips (University of Notre Dame), and Carolyn Twomey (Boston College) were recipients of Graduate Student Research awards. Dr. Andrea Di Stefano of the University of New Hampshire and Dr. Sean Brennan, Scranton University, were the recipients of the Junior Faculty Research Grant; all the reports will be posted on the ACHA website during the coming calendar year.
Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting of the ACHA took place in Washington, D.C. 96 members, comprising 32 panels, presented their papers this year. As mentioned in the Secretary’s report, paper and panel proposals were submitted to the Program Committee via an on-line program for review. This new system allowed the Committee to accept or reject as well as organize panels and papers in an efficient manner. We will be using this system for the spring meeting submission as well as the submissions for the 2015 meeting in New York City. Again this year we posted the Program for our Annual Meeting on the ACHA web site for all to consult (www.achahistory.org)
Spring Meeting. The 2014 Spring Meeting was held on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Professor Walker Gollar of Xavier served as host. Approximately 50 members participated in the meeting as presenters, chairs or commentators. While the number in attendance was disappointing, the quality of papers was excellent, and the social aspects of this gathering were above the average. The Spring dinner was held at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Museum, which is located on the north bank of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. During the dinner, Professor Gollar made a presentation focusing on Cincinnati’s place and role in American antebellum history. period in providing safety to those escaping southern slavery. Those in attendance were also allowed to visit the various galleries in the museum, including a nineteenth-century slave pen. This talk prepared members for the ACHA-sponsored tour to the nearby town of Ripley, Ohio, known for the role its inhabitants played in the abolitionist movement, providing safe passage and shelter to runaway slaves traveling the Underground Railroad.
R. Bentley Anderson, S.J.
Last year Andrew Metzger, the ACHA webmaster, presented a plan-of-action to the Executive Council regarding the need to upgrade the website. This past fall that happened.
Recall that the goals when undertaking this project were to 1) Modernize design of website, making key information easier to find; 2) Improve renewal process for members; 3) Increase profile of the Catholic Historical Review; 4) Streamline administrative tasks. All that has been accomplished. All that remains to be done is pay down the debt associated with this upgrade. That will be done by the middle of the year.
Web Site. The website continues to prove that it was a very wise investment. This past year we used the Association’s website to disseminate information, promote various programs, advertise non-ACHA events, and announce grant and award recipients. Again the annual Program and the annual Association reports were posted on the website. Officer elections were again conducted on-line this year. Both the Washington, D.C., annual meeting and the Xavier spring meeting registrations were handled on-line; and we used an on-line system for accepting paper proposals for the 2014 annual meeting.
Factoid. Web traffic for the month of October:
- Unique users: 3,186
- 22 percent of site traffic is for members-only functions done by signed-in members (accessing CHR, managing membership, etc.)
- Average pages viewed per visit: 2.62
- Average time spent on site: 2:08 (note: this does not count time spent reading the CHR on Project Muse’s site)
- Most popular pages for Oct. 2014 (percentage of overall traffic in parentheses):1. Home page (22.35%)2. NYC 2015 information (7.25%)3. Spring conference information (6.69%)4. Join/renew membership (6.65%)
5. CHR access (any issue) (5.56%)
The 2014 John Gilmary Shea Book Prize
Trent: What Happened at the Council
The John Gilmary Shea Book Prize is given annually to the author of a book, published during a preceding twelve-month period, which is judged by a committee of experts to have made the most original and distinguished contribution to knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church. In making their selection for 2014, the committee noted: “Some books interest only specialists some cater only to a general audience; rare is the book that can satisfy the stringent demands of specialists and at the same time prove enlightening and engrossing to a wider reading public. John W. O’Malley’s Trent: What Happened at the Council is such a book. With a clarity and grace that make it a joy to read and a scholarly precision and richness that make it useful to experts, O’Malley’s Trent provides the first one volume overview in English and, in fact, the best in any language, of one of the most complicated and crucial events in Catholic religious history, laying out not only what happened at the Council, as the book’s title promises, which would be challenging enough because of the Council’s eighteen year history, but also the long, intricate pre-history of the Council and, in masterful Epilogue, the Council’s impact, successes, and failures. This is a book that will endure, be cited by historians, quoted by many because of its apt phrasing, and enjoyed by students, scholars, and educated readers for a long time to come.”
John Monfasani, chair, State University of New York at Albany
Liam Matthew Brockey, Michigan State University
Thomas Rzeznik, Seton Hall University
The 2014 Harry C. Koenig Book Prize for Catholic Biography
Soldier for Christ: The Life of Pius XII
The Harry C. Koenig Book Prize for Catholic Biography is awarded every two years, recognizing an outstanding biography of a member of the Catholic Church who lived in any age or country. The prize committee has selected Robert Vantresca’s Soldier for Christ: The Life of Pius XII as the inaugural recipient of the Koenig award for Catholic biography. Commenting on Ventresca’s work, the selection committee stated that “here is a scholar who has produced a well written, fair account that gives the best insight into one of the longest pontificates in the 20th century. The writing is scholarly yet effortless and engaging, presenting different views on Pacelli with as much objectivity as possible. Readers will appreciate the emotional intelligence that Ventresca brings to reading Pius’s personality.”
Ulrich Lehner, Marquette University
Ulrike Wiethaus, Wake Forest University
Charles Gallagher, Boston College
The 2014 Howard R. Marraro Book Prize
Egyptian Oedipus: Athanasius Kirchner and the Secrets of Antiquity
The 2014 recipient of the Marraro prize, given for a distinguished work in Italian history, is Daniel Stolzenberg for Egyptian Oedipus: Athanasius Kirchner and the Secrets of Antiquity. In announcing their decision, the Marraro Committee noted that “In this carefully researched and skillfully argued book, Stolzenberg provides both an in-depth analysis of Athanasius Kircher’s work on Egyptian hieroglyphics, and an explanation for the book’s popularity for over a century after its publication. By meticulously re-creating the intellectual milieu of 17th-century Europe, the author demonstrates how, even in its fundamental unreliability, Egyptian Oedipus reflected important intellectual trends, combining both the past and the future of European scholarship.”
Valerie Ramseyer, Wellesley college, ACHA representative to the national Marraro Prize Committee
The Peter Guilday Prize
“Sisterly Advice and Eugenic Education: The Katholische Deutsche Frauenbund and German Catholic Marriage Counseling in the 1920s and 1930s”
The Peter Guilday Prize for 2014 is given to Ms. Anette Lippold for her article entitled “Sisterly Advice and Eugenic Education: The Katholische Deutsche Frauenbund and German Catholic Marriage Counseling in the 1920s and 1930s.” Based on extensive work in the Freiburg archive of the German Catholic Caritas Association and in the Cologne archive of the German Catholic Women’s Confederation, Ms. Lippold demonstates that the claims of scholars such as Ingrid Richter and Annette Tinn that the Catholic Church in Weimar and Nazi Germany was no bulwark against eugenics need to be qualified.
While some Catholic theologians such as Hermann Muckermann held that eugenics was based on science and compatible with Christian ethics and they supported the National Socialists’ concern for the physical and genetic health, not all Catholic organizations fell in line with their views. The Frauenbund, founded in 1903 and led by lay women, initially resisted the secular municipal counseling services that dispensed birth-control, sex-education, and eugenic propaganda, but instead put its emphasis on offering sisterly advice that provided spiritual and emotional guidance to Catholic women. A similar organization, the Caritas Association, dominated by clergy, tried to put marriage counseling in the hands of trained medical professionals. The German bishops’ efforts to take administrative control of marriage counseling services were deftly resisted by the Frauenbund’s leadership. The bishops felt that medical professionals would be more effective at discouraging contraception, abortion, and eugenic sterilization. But the Frauenbund’s leaders insisted that they had important services to offer and they opposed the emphasis on eugenics promoted by some clergy and theologians who tried to get around the teachings of Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii (1930). The Frauenbund held that an experienced woman and mother who offered holistic guidance had an important role in marriage counseling and that the emphasis was misplaced on trying to prevent certain practices.
In a time of changing moral standards and of clerical leadership that put emphasis on condemning practices it considered at variance with Christian marriage, a group of independent-minded lay women insisted that sisterly-dispensed advice that addressed deeper concerns was at least an equally important element in effective marriage counseling. For having recovered the story of their struggle during the turbulent decades of Weimar and Nazi Germany, historians are indebted to Ms. Lippold and it is therefore a pleasure to confer on her the Peter Guilday Prize for her first scholarly publication.
Nelson Minnich, editor, The Catholic Historical Review
The John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award
The John Tracy Ellis Dissertation Award memorializes the scholarship and teaching of Monsignor Ellis, ACHA officer for many years. Its purpose is to assist a graduate student working on some aspect of the history of the Catholic Church. The recipient for 2014 is Emily Floyd of Tulane University. The committee agreed that Ms. Floyd’s research on the devotional use of religiously themed prints from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Viceroyalty of Peru is highly original and will likely produce important new understandings about “the Catholic devotional practices of ordinary individuals” in the Spanish lands of the New World. This proposal was outstanding for its clarity and organization in terms of her scholarly agenda and also for the clarity and practicality of her plan of research and her intended uses of the award. When complete Ms. Floyd’s dissertation promises to be an example of the best kind of interdisciplinary effort, combining Church history and the history of art in order to understand the lived experience of her subject population and the interconnections between their religious and artistic experiences.
Mary E. Sommar, chair, University of Pennsylvania
Amy Koehlinger, Oregon State University
Magda Teter, Wesleyan University
The Program Committee was established this year with Mary Brown of Marymount Manhattan College, Martin Menke of Rivier University, and Maria Mezzenga of The Catholic University serving as members. Mary Brown chaired the committee this year. In carrying out their duties, the committee was assisted by the ACHA Executive Secretary and Treasurer, who served as ex officio.
The committee accepted paper and panel proposals submitted via the ACHA website portal for NYC 2015. While the system worked as planned, it will need some revising as it was not as versatile as desired (e.g., grouping single papers was not possible, and data concerning all participants was difficult to obtain). The committee worked well together, but having three or four individuals determining panels and pairings was difficult as all committee work tends to be.
For the most part, the ACHA has accepted almost all paper proposals and panel submissions, and this year’s committee was no exception. This reality raises the question: does the Association want to become more selective in producing a program? Do we want to limit the number of panels approved? If so, what impact would this have on our organization and our members?
There continues to be problems among our members regarding the planning of the Annual Meeting. Some do not believe that the deadlines set by the Association are firm or that the deadlines do not apply to them. A clear explanation will be provided in 2015 regarding the requirement that all presenters be members-in-good-standing through January 2016 when proposals are submitted. Also, some members tend not to want to register in a timely fashion. Again, this was a problem for a few, but enough of a problem to delay the planning process.
The AHA/ACHA relationship hindered the ACHA’s ability to handle registration smoothly. Not being allowed to establish a registration desk at the AHA conference site has put undue pressure on the office of the Executive Secretary-Treasurer to complete all Annual Meeting tasks by early December. This restriction cannot continue. One suggestion for addressing this situation was to providing an ACHA meeting space at the conference site; this has been done. There will be an official ACHA suite at the Sheraton Hotel for the duration of the meeting. Participants will be informed of the room location via the internet once the room has been assigned and occupied.
Expenses for the Annual Meeting continue to rise. If the Association were to charge the exact amount needed to cover the annual gathering, the price of registration would be approximately $110 a person (this includes the cost of the luncheon and social). Presently we our registration fee for members is $30, the luncheon $25, and the social $5, which means the Association is underwriting the Annual meeting expenses by 45%. This percentage will be higher next year as we will most probably have to hold both the luncheon and social in one of the site hotels. Their fees are much higher for food and labor.
In order to have a better understanding of the situation, the committee has produced an expense report for the Executive Council to review.
2015 Annual Meeting expenses
AHA rental space $2000
Hotel Suite $1,700
Software for CFP $100
Luncheon (food) $2,250
Luncheon (labor) $650
Luncheon (rental) $500
EC luncheon $750
Social (food) $2000
Social (beverage) $700
Social (labor) $450
Folders, Pen, etc. $750
AV support $1000
Registration: $4,900 ($30pp)
Luncheon: $2,000 ($25pp)
Social: $400 ($5pp)