University of Michigan
President: David Herlihy,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Midwest Medieval Conference
Ninth Annual Meeting
Saturday, October 23, 1971
a.m. REGISTRATION AND
a.m. MORNING SESSION
Presiding: David Herlihy, University of Wisconsin
p.m. AFTERNOON SESSION
p.m. SOCIAL HOUR
Mid-Year Update Letter
June 1, 1971
It is a pleasure to announce that the fall meeting of the Midwest Medieval Conference will be held at the University of Michigan on Saturday, October 23. Our thanks go to Professor Sylvia Thrupp and her colleagues at Michigan for gaining for us this invitation. Richard Face, Charles Connell, and Jan Rogozinski have labored hard and creatively in arranging the enclosed program. Our thanks go to them for assuring us another exciting meeting. Complete information concerning transportation to and lodgings at Ann Arbor will be mailed to you in the fall.
Probably all members of the Midwest Medieval Conference have now learned of the untimely death earlier this year of Robert Stuart Hoyt of the University of Michigan. Stu Hoyt was closely associated with our Conference from its origins, and his scholarly prominence added strength to our fledgling association. Over the years we formed the habit of looking for guidance and wisdom to Stu, who was unstinting in the help he offered. His loss is deeply felt.
As we look now to the future, our Conference faces some difficult decisions, which deserve our attention at the coming business meeting. CARA, the Standing Committee on Centers and Regional Associations of the Mediaeval Academy of America, has assessed us $50.00 in dues. As the Conference is a member of CARA and draws benefits from its membership, it is appropriate that the $50.00 be paid. Traditionally, however, we have collected no funds and still today have no treasurer or treasury. As the presidency changes every year, we have no fixed home in a university and cannot appeal to a single school to assume the burden. We must therefore decide whether we should create a treasury and recruit funds through dues or through a surcharge imposed on the registration fees at the yearly meetings. If we create a treasury, we should also apply to the Internal Revenue for the status of a non-profit association, contributions to which would be tax-deductible. The ramifications of creating a treasury and collecting dues are broad and complex. The decision would clearly affect the traditional informality of our group, which many of us have favored.
This and other problems will be discussed at the business meeting at Ann Arbor in the fall. Bring your ideas as well as your persons. The meeting will certainly maintain the standards of good scholarship and good fellowship which we have come to expect from our Conference.
P.S. If your address has changed or is changing, please notify Professor Richard L. Kay, Department of History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
MIDWEST MEDIEVAL CONFERENCE1
On Saturday2 October 23,3 1971, the ninth4 annual meeting was called to order by President5 David Herlihy after luncheon in the Vandenberg Room of the Michigan6 League. The minutes7 of the last meeting were approved as read by the secretary.
James Powell8 then proposed a memorial to the late Stuart Hoyt, which was unanimously adopted and the secretary was instructed to convey these sentiments to Mrs. Hoyt in a letter of condolence.
The Nominations9 Committee10 next presented as its annual slate the names of James Brundage as president, Frank Pegues as vice-president, and the undersigned as secretary; whereupon their election as acclaimed by applause.
An invitation11 was extended after this by John Henneman on the part of the University of Iowa, that the conference might suitably celebrate the completion of its first decade; to which the enthusiastic assembly responded with a round of grateful applause.
Finally a spokesman for the Mediaeval Academy's Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA)12 reminded the meeting that our conference has never paid to the committee its dues of fifty dollars13 per annum; and accordingly he urged that some means be devised whereby this obligation might be met. The consensus of the ensuing discussion was that the conference must at last relinquish its amateur status as an organization without dues. Consequently Donald Sutherland moved that an annual subsidy of fifty cents in favor of CARA be incorporated into the registration fee; moreover that on the present occasion this procedure be simplified by passing the hat;14 and finally, that all monies collected by these expedients be vested in a treasury administered by the secretary. The proposal was carried notwithstanding the objections of the secretary.15
The meeting was then adjourned inasmuch as there was no further business.
The trouble with minutes, as most of you know, is that they reflect so slightly the rich colors and fascinating texture of the actual event. To illustrate my point I have laid before you the text of the minutes of our last meeting, which I have drawn up in my most conventional manner. Now, for the benefit of posterity and for your immediate edification, I wish to elucidate my text with the help of that most incisive of all critical instruments, the medieval commentary. I trust that you shall appreciate from this demonstration how much is lost to the modern world by our failure to maintain the full rigor of scholastic analysis.
* * *
Having delivered my Prologue, I shall now give you first the division of the text: second, I shall explain the nature of the case, and then proceed to gloss the text by way of commentary. To begin, then, with
The DIVISION of the text. This unit is the ninth in a series that is potentially infinite. The author of the ninth member of this series has divided his narrative into three parts. And first he begins at the beginning , there at the words "On Saturday." After that comes the middle part of his narration, in which is described what was done at the meeting; and this middle part begins at the words "The minutes of the last meeting;" after that comes the third part, which contains the end of this account, and it begins where he says by way of epilogue "The meeting was adjourned."
The text having been sufficiently divided, let us proceed to the CASE. To understand this text, suppose that a collection of persons forming a universitas, or collegium as it were, have met for their annual chapter meeting, and one of their number here relates what was done at the previous meeting.
1Now that the situation is understood, let us examine the text, and note first the rubric superscribed that reads MIDWEST MEDIEVAL CONFERENCE. The society in question is so named by the first article of its constitution, which states "This organization will be named the 'Midwest Medieval Conference.'" But know also that through a printer's error of remote antiquity, yet another form of this title is also current, to with, "the Midwest Medieval History Conference."
2Advancing in due order we arrive at the commencement of text where it says ON SATURDAY, and I would have you know that it is the firm and established custom of this body to meet on that day of the week, and hence it is right and lawful that we meet on this our dies faustus: as Ulpian teaches in the Digest, in the title "De legibus senatusque consultis et longa consuetudine," at the law "Diturna consuetudo" (Dig. 1.3.33).
3After that, note at the word OCTOBER that in fact two ordinary meeting of this conference have been held in November and one extraordinary one in May. The autumnal date has fallen as early as October 10 and as late as November 15; but the average date is October 24, though to be mathematically precise that should be October 24.400.
4After that, at the words THE NINTH ANNUAL MEETING (we are still on line one), it is asked whether this meeting is properly numbered "ninth" inasmuch as it was at least the tenth occasion on which the group had assembled. Know that that the conference had its origin in a questionnaire circulated in 1962 by James Powell, then at the University of Illinois. This encyclical was addressed to medieval historians in Illinois and surrounding states, and such of the respondents as appeared in December of that year at the American Historical Association's convention--they were perhaps twelve in number--held a stand-up consultation or caucus in a convenient corridor after the Mediaeval Academy banquet, and agreed that a sit-down conference in the Spring would be more congenial. Accordingly, the first session took place at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale on Saturday, May 4, 1963, and was adorned with a constellation of papers by Richard Sullivan, Karl Morrison, James Brundage, Lowrie Daly, Arthur Hogue, and Paul Alexander. The hospitality provided by Lon Shelby included a complaisant motel sign that proclaimed, in letters two feet high, the greeting "Welcome Medieval History." So great was the success of this meeting that it was determined to hold another session in the fall of the same year, to make up for lost time, as it might be. And accordingly a second conference was held at Saint Louis in October of the same year, 1963. Thus according to some, the first annual meeting had two sessions. Others, however, deny that there could have been an annual meeting before there was a constitution, and since this was only adopted in Saint Louis on October 26, 1963, the Carbondale session would be accounted extra-ordinary and not numbered among the ordinary series of annual meetings. And the latter opinion seems to me the better one.
5After this, at the word PRESIDENT, know that nine persons have presided over the conference, beginning with Acting Chairman Richard Sullivan, who in the course of events became its first president. And in his place succeeded Lowrie Daly, James Powell, Stuart Hoyt, Lon Shelby, Donald Sutherland, Steve Slesserev, David Herlihy, and James Brundage.
6After this, at the word MICHIGAN, you must understand that the conference met on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with incomparable Sylvia Thrupp as our hostess. And that you may learn where on earth the Midwest is, hear how its bounds have been defined by our itinerant congress, which traversed two campuses in a single day at Saint Louis, namely Washington University and Saint Louis University, and next we occupied an academic hotel at Michigan State in East Lansing; then passed to Chicago as guests of Loyola; and after this progressed to the University of Indiana at Bloomington, where Arthur Hogue arranged the unsurpassed feat of three concurrent official cocktail parties; thereafter we recessed to what some would maintain is the true and trans-Mississippi Midwest at Creighton University in Omaha; but the next year found us at the other extreme, with the University of Cincinnati. Happily the following year returned us to our natural place at the University of Illinois in Urbana, and from this center we rose to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, or the early paradise as some would have it; and finally the pilgrims progressed to Ann Arbor and the meeting described by our author.
7Note how his next word, MINUTES, which is to say acta or res gesta drawn up in concise form, although on that occasion they were garrulous, diffuse, and distinctly frivolous.
8After this, the words JAMES POWELL should not be glossed over, because it can be truly said that "it is a wise regional association that knows its own father."
9After this, at the word NOMINATIONS, note that although these can also be made from the floor, yet there is no record that this prerogative has ever been exercised in practice.
10After this, at the word COMMITTEE, be assured that the president appoints all committees in conformity with Article VI, Section 1-A of the 1963 constitution. Moreover, Section 2 goes on to list four species of the genus committee: namely program, local arrangements, nominating, and ad hoc; but note that subsection D provides that the president must secure the "approval" of the council to appoint a committee ad hoc.
11After this, at the word INVITATION, be informed that this in early years was delivered like grace after all mere business had been transacted; but in these latter days the invitation has taken its place among committee reports, and rightly I say, for it is in effect a report of a local arrangements Committee that is delivered in words concerning the future.
12After this, at the word (or rather acronym) CARA, you should consider that this is an epicycle of the Mediaeval Academy, and accordingly this satellite chiefly governs eccentric behavior, id est extraordinary and experimental programs. Be certain, moreover, that since CARA did not exist at the hour of our nativity, its influence over this affiliate has been wholly postnatal, though nonetheless benign; for, as appears more fully in the first decade of our minutes, CARA was invented just in time to replace the tiresome question of the conference title as a perennial issue wherewith the otherwise routine business of the conference might be enlivened. And this commentator would gladly play fifty cents a year to alleviate the tedium of his text.
13After this, at the words FIFTY DOLLARS, pause and marvel at the fact that subsequently CARA lowered its dues to $25 per annum.
14After this, at the phrase PASS THE HAT, it must be said that this was never done. Nonetheless, the conference turned a mysterious profit of $122.99, despite the circumstance that only 105 of the 142 participants actually paid. This neat profit was transmitted to the secretary at the instance of Professor Thrupp, and at her suggestion, President Brundage concurring, your secretary skimmed $75 off the top as an honorarium for Philipe Wolffe; leaving a balance of $47.99 or $2.01 less than the current dues then expected by CARA. Thriftily awaiting CARA to reduce its rates, the secretary eventually transmitted some $40, leaving $7,99 on deposit with the University State Bank of Lawrence, Kansas, to cover the cost of servicing the checking account. Fortunately the new chairman of CARA, Stanley Kahrl, subsequently informed your secretary that the dues were lowered to $25; and moreover, that the conference has been forgiven its considerable arrears; and consequently, that the overpayment of $15 has been credited to future dues; and finally that CARA has been banking an annual surplus of $500, which after three years of operation leaves $1500 in the bank, or rather in the Mediaeval Academy coffers, where CARA keeps its kitty.
15After that, where the author speaks of THE OBJECTIONS OF THE SECRETARY, see Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae, question 162, article 4 on the roots of evil, which according to Gregory and Augustine include both pride and avarice. Furthermore it is contrary to reason that an organization so rich in computerized historians should entrust its financial affairs to a member who leans on the broken reed of a remedial course in elementary mathematics.
The rest is evident from the letter of the text.
Wisconsin was well represented at this conference!