University of Iowa
President: James Brundage,
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Midwest Medieval Conference
Saturday, October 14, 1972
a.m. REGISTRATION, Big
Ten Lounge, third floor, Iowa
9:45 a.m. MORNING SESSION--Illinois Room
Noon LUNCHEON--Ballroom, IMU
2:00 p.m. AFTERNOON SESSION--Illinois Room, IMU
5:00 p.m. RECEPTION--Faculty Club, third floor, IMU
7:00 p.m. DINNER--Ballroom
Mid-Year Update Letter
24 May 1972
The tenth annual meeting of the Midwest Medieval Conference will be held at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, on 14 October 1972. Donald Queller and the members of his program committee have arranged a varied and meaty program for the conference and a copy of the tentative line-up is enclosed with this letter. Don himself will not be able to join us in Iowa City, as he will be spending the next academic year as a Guggenheim Fellow in Venice.
Donald Sutherland and John Henneman, meanwhile, have been hard at work with local arrangements. The Conference will be housed in the Iowa Student Union and arrangements for varied kinds of entertainment are well in hand. The total cost of registration, luncheon, and dinner have been established at $11.00.
A formal invitation and the final version of the program will be mailed to you at the beginning of September. I hope that in the meantime you will make a note on your calendar to reserve the weekend of October 14 to attend the meeting of the Conference.
Best wishes for an enjoyable and productive summer.
James A. Brundage
Some weeks ago President Pegues asked your secretary to supply a few facts about the last conference. As the collective memory of an association of absent-minded professors, your historiographer rose to the occasion.
After a fruitless search, I finally recalled that the notes I had made in Iowa City had promptly been lost during the subsequent festivities. Perhaps I should have invoked the aid of the appropriate saint, but frankly I could not recall whether I should address such a petition to Saint Anthony or Saint Vitus. Consequently I decided to rely solely on the weak and suspect powers of purely human memory.
These minutes, therefore, will represent yet another of our adventures in medieval historiography. This time I shall be the scrupulously honest eyewitness who shall relate only what he can remember, neither adding nor subtracting from his fragmentary recollections. If the results appear to be somewhat scrappy and incoherent, it should be considered that of such stuff as psychohistory is made.
Here, then, are my best reminiscences, not padded with improvisation, not adorned with rhetorical ornament, not in fact refined by any artifice, but related just as they emerged raw and fresh from memory's warehouse, bank, treasury, or lumberroom.
The night before the meeting provided rich but irrelevant memories of a lavish cocktail party at the home of our host, Donald Sutherland.
But the next morning finds my mind a blank, which can, however, be filled in from the program. There was a trio of warlike papers: Robert Kovaric on his arch-anti-Albigensian crusader, Simon de Montfort; Norman Holub on the role of Mallorca in Catalan expansion; and Paul Solon on French military administration under Charles the Well-Served.
After some sort of luncheon, my memories again come into focus and zoom in on James Brundage presiding at the tenth annual business meeting. Everything seems very legal.
The minutes are read and read. In fact they last longer than all the other parts of the meeting put together, proving the truth of the maxim, "Ars long, vita brevis est."
Next Karl Morrison presented the slate of the nominating committee, which was adopted without further incident. For the most part, I can even remember the names of the nominees-- Franklin Pegues for president; Richard Face for vice-president; certainly one councilor was Sarah Farley, and it almost seems as if the other was Jack McGovern.
But here my memories may be contaminated by the stellar role undoubtedly played by McGovern in the next scene, in which he arose and with his usual grave and gracious manner, suggested to President Brundage that the conference might find hospitality next year in Milwaukee. With the equanimity of an archbishop acting in conciliar concert with his suffragan, President Brundage not only accepted the invitation but then proceeded to unfold to us the details of the local arrangements with what may have seemed to some an intuitive grasp verging on the miraculous.
Encouraged perhaps by this apparent clairvoyance, it was asked whether the presidential vision extended beyond next year. Brundage, squinting slightly, thought he could see us meeting some year soon in Cleveland. The annual progression from Iowa City to Milwaukee to Cleveland suggested a distinct trend for the conference to move in an easterly direction. Prodded by hope, one extrapolator boldly enquired whether the conference might consider the Midwest to include New York City. To which one of the assessors shrewdly responded with this syllogism: Since the Midwest is where it is thought to be, and since some think that New York City is the center of everything, therefore it would follow that New York is not only in the Midwest but also its very center.
Leaving that bit of sophistry to sink in, the president artfully turned to praise our present, barely trans-Mississippi hosts, John Henneman and Donald Sutherland, whose efforts on behalf of the conference were universally applauded with gratitude.
Richard Sullivan then rose to assure us that our ties to CARA and the Mediaeval Academy could be reckoned secure for another year. Indeed the Academy, by meeting in Los Angeles, had demonstrated its awareness that medievalists exist from coast to coast.
As the day's anticlimax, we learned that Gaines Post had been prevented by sickness from coming to our conference, where it had been hoped he might receive a copy of the Post Festschrift suitably inscribed by its contributors. To make matters worse, the presentation copy itself had not arrived and Jan Rogozinski, the promoter of this ceremony, had also absented himself. Only Joseph Strayer arrived according to plan, ready to make the presentation but under the circumstances something of a rex inutilis.
And with that incident my memory fades, though surely the meeting was closed with due process. Thereafter I cannot forget the controversy attending James Powell's afternoon paper on "The Role of Bishops in the Rise of Towns" and I recall with pleasure Richard Face's benign biography of Caffaro of Genoa. The afternoon closed with a downdated view of "All in the Family circa 1066" by Miles Campbell.
The conference concluded with cocktails in a plush faculty den deep within the Iowa union, followed by an ample banquet, after which Bernard Guenée of the Sorbonne subtly determined for us that political propaganda, if properly defined, did exist in the Middle Ages, or at least once or twice in fifteenth-century France.
On that note the conference and these minutes officially come to a close. Surely these fragmentary recollection of a single witness can be supplemented and controlled from other sources, such as the collective memory of the folk assembled here today, if not from the collective unconscious itself.