President: Robert S. Hoyt,
University of Minnesota
Midwest Medieval History Conference
Saturday, October 21, 1967
9:15 A.M. REGISTRATION. Eppley Auditorium
10:00 WELCOME: Very Rev. Henry W. Linn, S. J., President
10:15 MORNING SESSION
Luncheon and Business Meeting. Brandeis Student Center.
2:30 p.m. AFTERNOON SESSION
Social Hour -- Brandeis Student Center -- Rose, Gold and
6:15 Dinner: Brandeis Student Center
Mid-Year Update Letter
May 25, 1967
The Sixth Annual meeting of the Midwest Medieval Conference, as you may have already heard informally, will meet at Creighton University, Omaha, on Saturday, October 21, 1967. Professor Franklin J. Pegues and the program committee have worked hard and successfully to prepare a truly interesting and varied program. Professor Allan Schleich and the committee on local arrangements have been laboring hard to prepare for the meeting, and he tells me that "we have become a highly efficient centralized organization." You will receive additional information about the meeting directly from Allan Schleich this summer and early next fall. We look forward to a rewarding and enjoyable meeting.
Now in its sixth year, the Midwest Medieval Conference may well be considered an established organization, although we have succeeded admirably (especially from the President's point of view) in maintaining its informal character and lack of unnecessary organization. As you probably know, another regional organization has grown up during the past year on the Pacific coast. This is the Medieval Association of Northern California, whose membership, I am informed by James J. Murphy, its President, represents all of the Pacific coast and mountain states.
You will recall that last year at Bloomington there was a considerable discussion of the problems of bibliography. A committee on bibliography of the Midwest Medieval Conference was established, under the chairmanship of Frank Pegues, and I was asked to report to the Council of the Mediaeval Academy of America. I did so at the February meeting of the Council. At the annual meeting of the Academy in April at Toronto, a committee on bibliography for the Mediaeval Academy was appointed, with Frank Pegues representing the midwest and Lynn White representing the Pacific coast. Preceding the Toronto meeting there was a two-day session on medieval bibliography in which Peter Sawyer and I participated. The growing interest in the rapidly increasing problems of bibliography is further illustrated by the recent creation by th eAmerican Historical Association of a new Standing Committee on Bibliographical Services to History on which I have been asked and have agreed to serve. It might be useful for those who are interested in bibliography to plan to arrive in Omaha early in order to discuss recent development on the evening of October 20.
Another subject that might be well worth discussing is whether a greater effort ought to be made to include scholars in other fields than history in the membership of the Midwest Medieval Conference. The new Pacific coast organization is definitely a conference on medieval studies rather than history. There would seem to be both advantages and disadvantages to trying to make the Midwest Medieval Conference more diversified and, inevitably, much larger in membership. At the business meeting on October 21 I would welcome your suggestions or points of view that you would wish to express, and, if it is impossible for you to attend, I would be glad to receive your views in writing prior to the meeting.
Please be sure to mark October 21 on your calendar and be sure to attend what Allan Schleich has promised will be a well-planned meeting in pleasant facilities. I look forward to seeing you there.
Robert S. Hoyt
President, Midwest Medieval Conference
On Saturday, October 21, 1967, some seventy-five medieval historians of the American Midwest gathered at Creighton University in Omaha for their fifth annual meeting. This the first occasion on which the conference was held significantly west of the Mississippi, where somewhat to their surprise cis-Mississippians were welcomed as Eastern visitors to what claimed to be the geographic center of the Midwest. The explanation would seem to be that the Midwest has the shape and properties of an ellipse, with two foci rather than a single center. In this hypothesis, Illinois evidently constitutes the eastern focus around which the conference revolves for some five years, as on an epicycle. But the sixth year reveals the full sweep of our orbit as we swing westward around the second focus, somewhere in the Missouri basin.
Another regularity is observable in the ephemerides of the conference, namely the biennial alteration between hosts civil and ecclesiastical, not to say Jesuitical. Thanks to the local arrangements effected by Professor Alan Schleich, Omaha will be remembered along with Saint Louis and Chicago for a genial hospitality to which few merely state-supported institutions can aspire, at least officially.
Those who were not with us in Omaha will be pleased to learn that Ceres and Bacchus, welcome though they were in our midst, still yielded first place to Minerva. To be blunt, the distinctive feature of the conference once again was a program that everyone actually attended. In the morning session, Byzantine pagans and the courts Christian were respectively presented to the faithful by Walter Kaegi and Father Sheehan. The afternoon papers circumnavigated the shores of the western Mediterranean, starting from Florence, where Charles Davis exposed the Malaspini question. Spain was our next stop, and there Sister Dolorosa Kennelly considered "The Economic Implications of the Peace"... the Peace of God, that is. Finally we were borne to Lower Languedoc, where Jan Rogozinski examined urban unrest with the experienced eye of a native Chicagoan.
The high point of the day arrived only some refreshments later, when after dinner Gaines Post offered a magisterial harvest of "Suggestions for Research in Medieval Legal Ideas and History." Ever a delight to hear, Professor Post on this occasion excelled himself in viewing with charm and pointing with humility.
I should not forget to report that after the luncheon a business meeting was also held, which attended to the customary formalities under the jovial direction of President Hoyt. After an anecdote from the chair concerning a priest, a bunny, and a psychiatrist, the slate presented for the nominations committee by Richard Sullivan was approved by acclamation, to wit: Lon Shelby, president; Donald Sutherland, vice-president; Richard Kay, secretary. An invitation to convene next year at the University of Cincinnati was rendered all the more agreeable by the eloquence of Professor Slessarev, to whom the local arrangements were subsequently entrusted, while John Barker was placed in charge of the program.
In the absence of Frank Pegues, the president reported for the bibliography committee that the Mediaeval Academy had established a committee to coordinate the bibliography of medieval studies, on which our conference is represented by Professors Pegues and Speiser. Fortunately the fate of the bibliography is not determined by joint committees, and Chairman Hoyt went on to explain how he and Peter Sawyer had cut the Gordian knot with a three-by-five card from the International Medieval Bibliography.
The chair's call for old business elicited the minutes from the secretary. The reading of this diffuse and largely irrelevant document suggested to the president a really old piece of business, and he mooted the venerable question of our title, "The Midwest Medieval Conference," or rather titles, for the printed program persistently inserts the word "History," apparently under the influence of the East Lansing Doctrine, formulated at the second annual meeting (and your secretary here quoted from the minutes of that meeting).
President Hoyt now enquired whether the conference title should be changed to conform with present policy and practice, but as might have been expected, consistency proves not to be the bugbear of medieval minds. Although several views were advanced, no one proposed a change. The secretary observed that the mailing list, which for practical purposes defines our membership, is in fact neither limited to historians nor confined to the Midwest. On this pragmatic note the annual meeting closed for want of further business.
Note that the conference program inserts the word "History." This was addressed at the business meeting.