University of Missouri - St. Louis
President: Schafer Williams,
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Midwest Medieval Conference
Friday, October 8, 1976
Reception. Gallery Room
Saturday, October 9, 1976
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee. Outside the Gallery Room.
First Session. Gallery
Chair: Jan van der Meulen, Pennsylvania State University
Second Session. Gallery Room.
Chair: Barbara A. Hanawalt, Indiana University
12:00 Lunch and Business Meeting. Mayan Ballroom.
Third Session. Gallery Room
Chair: Louise Buenger Robbert, St. Louis, Missouri
Banquet. Mayan Ballroom.
Bryce Lyon, Brown University
President's Reception. Following. Location to be announced.
Our best source for the fourteenth annual meeting of the Midwest Medieval Conference is a merry tale that has come to us in the form of a novella--one of those charming, salty, vernacular anecdotes that are famous for their mordant verbal humor, which all too often appears pointless in English translation.
This one concerns a simple merchant who returned to his home in Ottumwa, Iowa, after an extended business trip to Saint Louis. Since he appeared to be somewhat worse for the wear, his wife demanded an account of his stay in the big city.
"I had appointments on Friday and Monday," he explained, "so I was stuck there over the weekend. Saturday morning I was up early and visited the Arch and the Old Cathedral, but then I could think of nothing better to do than go back to my room at the Bel-Aire Hilton and watch television. The lobby was full of some guys wearing name tags, so I asked the bellboy what was going on. "Midwest Medival Conference," he said, and told me if I wanted to know more, I should ask for Steve Rowan and the conference desk downstairs. Rowan seemed to be the chief honcho there and he was busy as a beaver with a broken dam, but he took time to tell me what it was all about. "Urban centers and settlements" was all he said, but that was enough. I've always liked that show "Medical Center," so I got a badge and this little program and went in. And it was worth it! I've never seen so many doctors in one room, not even on television. There they were, just like it says in this here program--Norman Pounds showing slides of small medival towns and Jeremy Adams with color maps of Holy Toledo. Then there was Bernie Bachrach telling all about some French civit-ass and David Nicholas with a mimeographed map of Flanders."
"That's all printed in the program," his wife said suspiciously. "What did they do at the business meeting?"
"Oh that was a fine affair," the merchant replied easily. "See, Ive made some notes in the margin. The business was run by their president, Spike Williams was his name. He thanked Rowan for making the local arrangements with the help of Bill Maltby and Dick Helmholz. And he thanked Tim Runyan, too--he was like the producer of this program on medival centers. Then they was all invited to meet next year some place near Chicago and accepted like a shot. The president talked a while about something called CARA that they all belonged to--like the AMA, I think--and they're going to continue to belong and send a representative, who's going to sit on their council but will have to pay his own way to CARA meetings. Then there was a report by their bicentennial committee, all about a big pageant that I didn't understand, but they all seemed to be in it.
"That was all there was to the business except that a dean named Sullivan got up and told who was slated for brass hats next year. Here, I've got it written down: Karl Morrison for president, Don Queller for vice-president, Skip Kay for secretary-treasurer, and Barbara Hanawalt and Bernie Bachrach for councillors. The applause was just about as unanimous as you can get.
"Then there was more about medival centers in the afternoon, with more doctors talking. Dr. Riesenberg had a lot to say about notaries in Perugia, and two doctors from Illinois told us about electoral corruption--Dr. Queller took Venice and Dr. Trexler did Florence--and you can believe I was ready for the high-rise cocktail party that followed. It was a fancy dress affair and we had a fine view of the Arch from the top of the Hilton, and all. The party was so good that the banquet afterwards is sort of fuzzy, except that, like it says on the program, Bryce Lyon, who seemed to be the top doctor there, told 'em that his friend Henry Pirenne was right in there with the best of them founding some medival journal called the 'anals,' only he was a gentleman and pronounced it 'on-alls.'
"Now that was it, except for a wing-ding of a reception given by President Spike, and that bash went on and on into the wee hours."
"You fool," said his wife, who was proud of her education, "those men were doctors of philosophy. That was conference on social history!"
"Social history?" said the simpleton. "Well I don't know about the history, but it sure was social."
This was the only conference not held at an academic host institution.
From the program:
Hotel Accommodations: At the Bel-Air Hilton can be ordered on the enclosed card. Rates are in the following ranges:
Location: The Bel-Air Hilton is located in downtown St. Louis, close to the Greyhound and Trailways bus stations, and a short taxi ride from the Amtrak station. Limousine service from Lambert St. Louis International Airport is available every 25 minutes during the day and costs $3.25.