ASAT is a regional chapter of the American Studies Association

People and Politics, Passages and Places:
The Rich Forty-Six-Year History of the American Studies Association of Texas, 1956-2002

Jeff H. Campbell
Midwestern State University

Slightly edited from the original, published in the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, 2003 (vol. 34, October).

  A complete chronicle of the forty-six-year history of the American Studies Association of Texas would require a full-length monograph. Such a treatment cannot be undertaken in a single issue of the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas (JASAT), but even an abbreviated account of some of the highlights of the association’s history is called for as ASAT approaches the half-century mark. There has been so far only one published historical sketch, one which covered the first twenty years of ASAT. Written by Gwin Morris, it was published in the 1977 issue of JASAT, occupying only four pages (2-5). When John Tisdale, editor of JASAT in 2000, asked me to undertake the task of offering a fuller sketch of major events and developments in the life of ASAT, I was some¬what hesitant. But when I realized that my activities in the organization span forty years, I decided that gathering information from other long-time members, consulting the association’s archives, go¬ing through past journals, and offering a record of at least some of the people, politics, and places that have made ASAT what it is today would be a worthwhile challenge.

  What follows is the result of my year of poring through correspondence, minutes, newsletters, and journals, and my drawing on my own memories and those of others. The story is in some sense a memoir since I cannot separate myself from the ASAT tradition. I hope to tell a story that will convey the continuity and growth of an organization that has made significant contributions to the development of broad-based scholar¬ship in Texas for nearly fifty years.

 As I worked through the many and various materials available to me, I concluded that there have been three significant periods in the history of ASAT. The first period is 1956-1969, from the founding of the organization to the establishment of the annual journal. The second period is 1970-1987, the period in which the journal’s primary purpose was to record the minutes and programs of each meeting and to publish the papers presented at those meetings. In 1988, the year the third period began, the journal changed its scope and purpose, becoming a refereed journal indexed by MLA and others. There are other significant developments that characterize these changing periods as well, but the launching and the changing of the scope of the journal make convenient milestones by which to mark progress and change.


 The official founding date of ASAT is March 24, 1956, but we need to go back just a little further to get the full story. The national American Studies Association (ASA), growing out of a post-World War II burgeoning of interest in programs studying American culture in a broad, interdisciplinary sense, was founded in December 1950 (Long 78). Until that period, many universities did not have separate courses in American literature. American history had its niche, of course, but American literature was in English, after all, and American authors were rather minor adjuncts to the major British authors and were included, sometimes rather hesitantly, in period courses. But in the late forties and early fifties, it became fashionable to believe that there was something unique about the American experience—of literature, art, music, philosophy—that justified its treatment as a subject for serious academic inquiry. Today that belief is called “American exceptionalism,” usually with pejorative connotations. But in the late 1940s and early 50s, it was an innovative call to a fresh evaluation of American culture. Actually, universities such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton, George Washington, and the University of Pennsylvania had tentatively begun programs in what they called “American Civilization” back in the 1930s. It was not until later, though, that institutions such as the University of Chicago and the University of Minnesota entered the field. By the late 1940s, there were sixty institutions offering undergraduate degrees in what they still called American Civilization, and there were fifteen graduate programs (Long 79). So by 1950, there was an interest in forming a professional organization to provide encouragement and stimulation to scholars engaged in the new interdisciplinary field. History, literature, and art groups could no longer satisfy their needs. Thus the American Studies Association was begun, with Carl Bode of the University of Maryland elected as its first president. In 1951, American Quarterly (the national ASA publication) began. Soon the association had over a 1,000 members, who paid annual dues of $5.00, which included a subscription to the quarterly (Long 79).

 Louis Rubin, Jr., was the first executive secretary of ASA, and he undertook to encourage the formation of regional chapters, asking Hudson Long of Baylor University to be chairman of a committee to explore the possibility of a Texas chapter. Rubin also asked Gordon Mills of the University of Texas to be secretary-treasurer, and careful consideration was given to the make-up of the original committee. Rubin wrote letters inviting people to the first meeting, to be held at Baylor on March 24, 1956. That date is considered to be the official founding date of ASAT. There were fourteen at that meeting, now considered to be the “founders” of ASAT: Hudson Long (English) of Baylor and Gordon Mills (English) of the University of Texas at Austin, plus John Q. Anderson (English), Texas A&M University; Paul F. Boiler, Jr. (History), Southern Methodist University; J. D. Bragg (History), Baylor University; Louise Cowan (English), Texas Christian University; Joe B. Frantz (History), the University of Texas at Austin; C. D. Johnson (Sociology), Baylor University; Joseph Jones (English), the University of Texas at Austin; Martin Shockley (English), University of North Texas; R. W. Steen (History), Texas A&M University; James Tinsley (History), University of Houston; Donald L. Weismann (Art), the University of Texas at Austin; and Ann Whaling (English), the University of Texas at Arlington (Morris, “The American” 2). (I have used the current names of the institutions.) The occasion was deemed important enough to justify a picture of these fourteen founders in the Waco Tribune-Herald.

 A nominating committee confirmed Long and Mills as nominees for their offices and added Shockley as vice president, and these officers were officially elected. Shockley was chairman of the appointed program committee, which recommended that the association meet the following fall—no later than October—and not in conjunction with any other professional society. Several thought that perhaps the meeting ought to be held in conjunction with an¬other meeting that people might already be planning to attend, but the committee stuck with the decision to have a completely separate meeting time, place, and identity. The meeting was to be from 10:00 a. m. until noon, with that time devoted to reading four papers—one each in literature, history, art, and anthropology. Then there was to be a two-hour luncheon period, with Louis Rubin invited to address the group, followed by a business meeting from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Although later than October, December 8, 1956, was chosen for the newly formed ASAT’s first conference, with Baylor as the site (Minutes 24 March 1956).

 Letters were written to all institutions of higher education in Texas, announcing the date and place of the meeting and asking for suggested names from the relevant departments who might be interested in such an organization. Gordon Mills then sent out 1,400 letters to individual faculty members “nominated,” so to speak, by their administrations (5 Sept. 1956). The national ASA office printed and mailed the program announcements to those who responded with interest. The literature paper was presented by Lon Tinkle from SMU: “Regionalism Is Not Enough”; the history paper was presented by Walter Prescott Webb from UT Austin: “The American West: A Problem in Civilization”; art and anthropology were combined in the presentation of Elizabeth Wilder Weismann from UT Austin: “Reflections on Folk-Art: Artistic and Historical Aspects.” Louis Rubin did indeed present the luncheon address: “Tom Sawyer and American Studies: Some Remarks on Novels and Regionalism” (Program 8 Dec. 1956). Webb’s address was later published in Harper’s and Rubin’s in American Quarterly (Morris, “The American” 3). Eighty-five people attended that first meeting—perhaps not a very high percentage from 1,400 letters but a good beginning for a new organization (Sign-up Roster 8 Dec. 1956).

 Paul Boiler, one of the founding fourteen, recalls that when he went to that first meeting, he had never heard Walter Prescott Webb speak and had not realized he was still living. “It was a wonderful experience for me to hear him lecture, having admired his book so much” (Letter 26 March 2003). Boiler recalls, “Webb began his lecture by posing a puzzle; he said we could work on it when our minds began wandering. But no one’s mind did wander. The paper was a fascinating discussion of Southwestern culture, its achievements and deficiencies. . .” (qtd. in Morris, “The American” 4).

 The pattern of a one-day, Saturday-only meeting with a morning of papers followed by a luncheon address and a business meeting became the norm for the next several years. Also the practice of meeting on the first Saturday in December continued until colleges switched the end of the fall semester from January to December. When the semester didn’t end until January, there was time for an early December meeting. Once the schedule changed, the meetings were moved to the weekend before Thanksgiving. The second meeting, in 1957, was held at the University of North Texas, with a theme of “We Hold These Truths.” Floyd Stovall of the University of Virginia was the featured luncheon speaker; his topic was “Jefferson and the American Idea in Education,” later printed in American Quarterly. The three morning papers were from religion, law, and literature, and all dealt with a phrase from the Declaration of Independence (Program 7 Dec. 1957). The secretary reported that there were 97 members and the treasury had a balance of $65.15 (Minutes 7 Dec. 1957). There was no official report of the attendance at that meeting, but 57 people signed in. Institutions represented were Baylor University, North Texas State College, Abilene Christian College, University of Houston, UT Austin, Texas Christian University, Lamar State College of Technology, Stephen F. Austin High School, Texas College, Texas A&M, Midwestern University, Southern Methodist University, San Antonio College, Arlington State College, University of Arkansas, East Texas State College, Stephen F. Austin State College (Sign-up Roster 7 Dec. 1957). (This time 1 have used the institutional names as they were in 1957.) Representation from Texas College is of interest since the original committee raised the question of inviting Negroes to join but decided that since the national ASA made it clear that anyone might join, no further statement should be made (Minutes 24 March 1956). At this second meeting, only one black college, Texas Col¬lege, was represented. As we shall see, the number of institutions represented has increased considerably over the years.

 The pattern of one-day Saturday meetings continued, as did the practice of having a theme for each meeting and inviting speakers to present papers on that theme. In 1958, the meeting was at UT Austin, and the practice of having both morning and afternoon papers began. The topic for 1958 was “Urbanization of American Life”; for 1959, “The Impact of Darwinian Thought on American Culture”; for 1960, “The Conflict and Merger of Anglo and Latin American Culture of the Southwest”; and for 1961, “Mark Twain’s Ordeal; A Reconsideration of Van Wyck Brooks’s Thesis.” Among the speakers at these early meetings were Henry Nash Smith, then at the University of California at Berkeley; Lewis Simpson, then at Louisiana State University; Stowe Persons, State University of Iowa; Will Wilson, Attorney General of Texas, who spoke on “The Spanish Legacy of Texas Law”; Rabbi Levi A. Olan of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas; and John Chapman, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. By 1961, three papers were presented in the morning and three in the afternoon, by members of the association (Programs 1958, 59, 60, 61).

 An especially significant development in 1960 was the establishment of the association’s archives in the Texas Collection at Baylor University, which also rated a picture and story in the Waco Tribune-Herald (see fig. 2). In the first batch were 160 items, and the collection continues to grow. I went through 13 3/4 linear feet of boxes, all filled with neatly filed materials, designated by years and/ or subject. This priceless trove of information probably would have been mostly lost without these archives. Most newsletters, minutes and programs of meetings are there. But in addition, there is a wealth of correspondence—carbon copies in many cases—that would likely have been discarded when the original keepers of those files died or retired and cleared out their offices.2

 The first meeting that began on Friday evening, rather than Saturday morning, was also the first meeting I attended—at UT in 1962. The theme was “Individualism in 20th century America.” This meeting was underwritten by and the papers subsequently published by UT. Speakers included Louis Hartz of Harvard University, Les¬lie White of the University of Michigan, Paul Samuelson of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Potter of Stanford University, and Frederick J, Hoffman of the University of California at Riverside (Program 1962). Obviously such a meeting was a special occasion, and the following year the one-day meeting pattern resumed.

Resolutions in those early days were seldom the routine thank- yous that we now seem to expect. In 1960, the meeting was in San Antonio and 55 registered, pretty good considering the total membership that year was 89. But those 55 were not shy about expressing their opinions to people in power. Three resolutions were passed. The first was directed to Governor Price Daniel of Texas, and it urged him to discourage the setting aside of desegregation laws, urging instead strict adherence to the law as interpreted by the US Supreme Court. A second resolution opposed the imposition of any kind of religious oaths to be taken by faculty at state colleges, and a third, sent to the Texas Legislature, urged serious attention to the matter of increased salaries for college professors so that Texas might keep pace with other states (Minutes 3 Dec. I960). In 1961, this trend continued but became somewhat more personal. Resolution #1, offered by founder Martin Shockley, censured J. Evetts Haley, a Canyon, Texas, rancher, whose right-wing organization “Texans for America” had raised objections to the teaching of Paul Boiler and Texas icon J. Frank Dobie and had specifically attacked Boiler’s high school American history textbook being considered for adoption in Texas schools. The resolution affirmed the association’s “confidence in the personal integrity and professional competence of Dr. Paul F. Boiler, Jr., Professor of American History at Southern Methodist University, and in Dr. J. Frank Dobie, of Austin, one of Texas’ most distinguished men of letters.” The resolution continued:

We affirm no confidence in Mr. J. Evetts Haley, either as censor of textbooks or as spokesman for American values. We censure the Texas Education Agency for permitting Mr. Haley’s scurrilous personal attacks upon Dr. Boiler and Dr. Dobie. We condemn the Texas Education Agency for [a] procedure under which testimony was admitted from [an] incompetent and non-professional witness with no opportunity for rebuttal or defense by [a] competent professional witness. We recommend to the Texas Education Agency and to responsible State officials that in the future textbooks be adopted by competent members of the teaching profession unhampered by efforts of unqualified laymen to impose their personal prejudices upon our profession. (Minutes 2 Dec. 1961)

 Copies of the resolution were sent to Governor Daniel; the Attorney General; Mr. J. B. Golden, Director, Textbook Division, TEA; Dr. J. W. Edgar, State Commissioner of Education; and the press (Minutes 2 Dec. 1961). Governor Daniel responded to Edwin Gas¬ton, ASAT secretary-treasurer, that he appreciated “having this expression of your group” (14 Dec. 1961). He remarked that the State Board of Education, as a State agency, could “not ignore the views of any person or group” and that he was “confident the views of the ASA will be considered . . . just as Mr. Haley’s arguments were heard” (14 Dec. 1961). Then he added, in a more personal vein, “As you probably know, Mr. Haley has expressed himself just about as strongly on many other matters, including my administration and me personally” (14 Dec. 1961). Mr. Golden wrote the only TEA response, and it perfunctorily expressed appreciation for the letter containing the resolution, noting that both letter and resolutions had been filed “with the State Textbook Committee for their consideration” (Letter to Edwin Gas-ton 14 Dec. 1961). No further notice or action was taken, and Secretary Gaston noted in concluding his report on responses to the resolutions that: “Significantly, the Texas press, to which copies of all of the resolutions were directed, had ignored the action” (News¬letter 5 Jan. 1962). A second resolution condemned the extremism of the Minutemen, the John Birch Society, and the Communist Party, thus proving ASAT to be an equal opportunity critic of extremism (Minutes 2 Dec. 1961). I found no record of what response that resolution may have received from any of the parties involved.

 Activist resolutions continued in 1962, this time deploring the riots at the University of Mississippi over the admission of James Meredith, with a copy sent to Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. The resolution said, in part: “We condemn the attitude of state authorities who did nothing to protect American citizens who were attacked and suffered from mob violence” and express our “sympathy for the large number of faculty who have taken a stand to obey the laws” (Newsletter 15 Jan. 1963). A second resolution set forth the association’s opposition “to discrimination against any American citizen on grounds of race, creed, or color” and affirmed it to be the policy of the association “to take into consideration the availability of desegregated facilities in accepting future invitations for its annual meeting” (Newsletter 15 Jan. 1963). A final resolution “deplored the unjust dismissal” of Rupert Koeninger, Professor of Sociology for fifteen years at Sam Houston State Teachers College, and requested the college “reconsider its arbitrary action and offer to reinstate” Koeninger (Newsletter 15 Jan. 1963). There is no recorded evidence that these resolutions changed any votes or the positions of important political leaders. But they were a vocal representation of concerns for justice and the defense of constitutional rights. I found only one resolution since 1962 that expressed calls for action or challenges of vested authority, perhaps because ASAT is now so much a part of the establishment and status quo that such calls seem inappropriate.

 Not all meetings were so overshadowed with serious issues. The 1963 meeting was held on the first Saturday in December at Texas A&M. Total recorded attendance that year was 78. It was the usual format, with four papers in the morning, a luncheon speaker, and then five speakers in the afternoon—straight through. No break from 9:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Program 1963). After sitting through four papers and lunch, we were told that the first scheduled after¬noon speaker had become ill and would not be able to present his paper. I’m not sure about all the others, but at least I and my col¬leagues breathed a great sigh of relief that there would be only FOUR papers to sit though that afternoon, thus shortening the marathon of sitting still in uncomfortable folding chairs. Before we could enjoy the relief, however, the chairman announced that they had found someone to take the sick man’s place. It seemed that an A&M professor just happened to have had a paper prepared on Queen Marie of Rumania, and they had persuaded him to come present it. I don’t think there were audible groans, but there was certainly no great joy as the poor man stepped to the podium. Well aware that his paper was too long for the time allotted, he spoke at breakneck speed for the next thirty minutes. I heard more than I ever wanted to hear about Queen Marie—and it was certainly quite a stretch to figure out what she had to do with “Concepts of the American Character,” the theme of the day.

 While I was fidgeting, Boiler was arriving, not having left Dallas in time for the morning session. There were two conferences going on at A&M that day, and Boiler and his friend peeked into the one they thought was ASAT. But they heard somebody breathlessly discussing Queen Marie of Rumania, so they tried the other room— where they found people talking about mathematics. His friend, who was next on the program, was shortchanged for time before he ever began. When he realized he was running over, he stopped reading and tried to summarize his paper. But that, too, took longer than he expected, and, as Boiler recalls, as he rushed on, his distress became obvious. Finally, when he got to the point where he mentioned that the pa¬per currency issued by the Continental Congress was so inflated that the expression “not worth a Continental” became common, he added ruefully, “just like this paper of mine,” left the podium, grabbed his wife, and they both hastily left the lecture hall. (Letter 18 June 2003)

 The 1965 tenth anniversary meeting was once more at Baylor. The Saturday format was followed: three papers in the morning, three in the afternoon, with Sculley Bradley as luncheon speaker (Program 1965). A digest of Bradley’s address was published in the spring ASAT newsletter (15 March 1966). The twelfth annual meeting at the University of Houston in 1967 featured Joel Porte from Harvard Business School. Eighty people attended, and ab¬stracts of all the papers were distributed tor the first time (Minutes 2 Dec. 1967). The meeting in 1968 was at UT Austin, with Norman H. Pearson, president of ASA, as luncheon speaker (Program 1968). Henry Rule from Lamar University, president of ASAT, proposed that we try beginning the meetings on Friday afternoon, with papers, and concluding on Saturday afternoon, with a roundtable discussion on an announced topic. Although John Q. Anderson from A&M worried that people could not get there for a Friday session, the idea was approved (Minutes 7 Dec. 1968).

 There was no Saturday afternoon roundtable, but the 1969 meeting at Texas A&M did begin Friday afternoon, although not until 4:00 p.m., with only one session of papers. Then there was a banquet that night with Lon Tinkle from SMU speaking on contemporary Texas in fiction. The Saturday morning session began early, since presumably everyone had arrived the afternoon before, so there were two sessions with a total of six papers in the morning. There were four papers Friday afternoon, six Saturday morning, plus the banquet and luncheon speakers (Program 1969). It was also at this meeting that Edwin Gaston of Stephen F. Austin State University, Jerry Dawson of Texas A&M, Eugene Jones of Angelo State University, and Gwin Morris of Wayland Baptist College “discussed the possibility of initiating a publication for the ASAT.” The proposal was well received at the business meeting, and Melvin Mason’s motion to authorize incoming president Gaston to appoint a committee to study the proposition was quickly passed. “Subsequently, Wayland Baptist College offered to subsidize the journal and provide office space. President Gaston appointed Gwin Morris editor” (Morris, “The American” 5), and with the publication of volume one of the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas in 1970, the second era of ASAT arrived.


 As I now undertake to discuss the second major period of ASAT growth, 1970-1987, I am not going to try to give a semblance of year-to-year narrative but rather highlight some of the most significant developments of that almost twenty year period, the primary one being the publication of the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas (JASAT). As we have seen, Gwin Morris was appointed editor; a grant from the American Enterprise Forum to Wayland Baptist did indeed underwrite the costs, and, as Morris wrote in the first issue, 1 (1970), the main goal of the journal was to publish “the proceedings of the annual meeting. It is hoped that this journal will continue each year to publish the scholarly works presented at the annual meeting and function as the official publication of the Association” (Editor’s Note). He also expressed the hope that it might one day contain papers solicited just for the journal and at some point a book review section. He reported that copies were distributed to all members of the association, with copies to the Library of Congress, American Quarterly, and public and institutional libraries in the state (Editor’s Note). Wayland bore almost all of the cost, and Morris bore almost all of the responsibility. Morris recalled in June of 2002:

I believe the grant from which I paid publication costs was only about $5,000—and that had to cover a number of historical awareness activities, such as Junior Historians, a regional history fair, and awards for junior high history teachers .... 1 remember that each volume was a challenge. Every person who had a hand in the publication had a full plate. I was teaching 15 hours and taking courses for my PhD. My entire staff was composed of work-study students. Poor JASAT really had a hand-to- mouth existence back then. Looking back from this vantage point, I am amazed that [JASAT] survived at all (Letter 27 June 2002).3

 A new membership category had been inaugurated at the 1969 meeting: institutions were invited to become “Institutional Members,” with their contributions going directly to help support the journal and guaranteeing the institution a journal copy for its library (Minutes 6 Dec. 1969). Those responding that first year were East Texas State University, Lamar State College of Technology, North Texas State University, Sam Houston State University, Southwestern University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, Trinity University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Wayland College (I have used the names as they were in 1970). (Minutes 5 Dec. 1970). That first issue included all the papers presented at the 1969 meeting, including Martha Anne Turner’s (SHSU) paper “The Yellow Rose of Texas: The Story of a Song,” in which she surmised that the yellow rose was the mulatto woman who kept Santa Anna entertained in his tent while the Texans were preparing to attack (28-33). Her essay was reviewed in the Dallas Morning News by Frank Tolbert, and letters then began arriving, asking for copies of JASAT. Three hundred had been sold by the time of the next annual meeting (Grover 10). This first JASAT also contained the complete program of the 1969 meeting and its minutes and resolutions. Thus it admirably fulfilled its purpose of publishing papers and activities of the association, becoming its official publication. This journal was ninety- two pages long. The journal continued to be about the same number of pages and to contain the papers, programs, minutes, and resolutions of each meeting through 1987. When Morris moved from Wayland to East Texas Baptist University in 1977, the underwriting grant moved with him. Marvin Harris ably assisted Morris and then assumed the editorship in 1981, a post that he filled until 1987, with East Texas Baptist continuing its institutional support.

 A perusal of those journals from 1970 through 1987 reveals the development of patterns and traditions surrounding the annual meetings. The meetings continued to begin on Friday night the weekend after Thanksgiving, through 1973. In those years, there was a banquet on Friday night, usually with a nationally prominent speaker, such as Carl Bode in 1971 and Daniel Boorstin in 1972. The pattern varied a little in 1973, however, when the banquet speaker, although nationally prominent, was not an academic figure but Grandpa Jones from the TV show Hee Haw. He happened to be the brother of Dr. Eugene Jones, Chairman of Political Science at Angelo State University, where we met that year. That year also inaugurated the practice of holding meetings away from an academic setting and/or offering tours of historic or local color spots. The opening banquet was held on the grounds of the Ft. Concho museum, and in addition to “Grandpa,” we heard the director of the museum talk about the preservation and restoration of historic sites (Program 1973). This addition of a kind of in situ experience has been one of the most memorable aspects of ASAT meetings since then.

 The 1974 meeting was at the University of Houston, shifting this year to the weekend before Thanksgiving since the change of academic schedules foreshortened the fall semester to end before Christmas. (ASAT’s annual meetings continue to be held the week¬end before Thanksgiving with few exceptions.) No one had time for a meeting after Thanksgiving anymore. In addition, the 1974 program expanded to include a Friday morning portion, a tour of the historic Heritage Park in downtown Houston (Program 1974). Thus the trend begun at Ft. Concho was expanded into a full session of the annual meeting. At all these meetings, the number of papers presented ranged from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 14 (Pro¬grams 1970-1974).

The 1976 meeting, however, a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the association, was greatly expanded from previous ones. By initiating concurrent sessions, time was found for a total of 25 papers to be presented, plus a special Popular Culture panel discussion (Program 1976). This meeting at Baylor, under the leadership of ASAT president Melvin Mason, inaugurated the first Thursday evening activities, with a “Come as You Are” party given by him and his wife. The Friday night banquet honored ASAT founders with specially prepared medallions, and the banquet speaker was Henry Nash Smith. Mason remembers that Dr. Smith decided the best way to cut his speech was to slip out: he had not realized all the other honoring was going to be done and was expecting to give a full lecture of close to an hour (“Defining Moments”). It was at that meeting, too, that Mason first introduced the giant gavel that is still handed down from president to president. Mason says that he will never reveal the source of the great gavel. Apparently he is quite serious about his vow, for although his talk at the Hardin-Simmons meeting in 1999 was titled to suggest a revelation, the talk itself neatly avoided giving any significant information on the subject (Program 1999).

 In subsequent years, the practice of having a function Thursday night continued. The reading of papers now began on Friday morning instead of Friday afternoon. Sometimes there were concurrent sessions, but more often there were not. The numbers of papers presented varied from 10 to a maximum of 35, at UT Austin in 1985 (Programs 1976-1985). Tours and special activities became an important feature of the meetings. In Beaumont, we met at the old French Trading Post and then toured the Gladys City boomtown, site of the Spindletop gusher that introduced the oil era to Texas. When the annual meeting was held in El Paso, we had our choice of visiting the El Paso Wilderness Park and Museum or the Tigua Indian Reservation and Ciudad Juarez. When hosted by Lamar University at Port Arthur, we socialized in the historic Pompeiian Villa and next day had a boat tour of the harbor. At UT Austin, we toured the then-new LBJ library, and in San Antonio, we had dinner while cruising down the river. At Commerce, we made a side trip to the Sam Rayburn home in Bonham. These examples do not give the complete story but certainly suggest how such side events have added a great deal to the meetings and have added a real taste of local color and culture to what might otherwise have become a purely academic exercise in endurance (as in my experience with Queen Marie of Rumania). Incidentally, another characteristic of the meetings of this association is the geographical variety of our sites; they have been as important as the content of the papers.

 The content of the papers has always been varied, too. There are always the traditional analyses of literary or historical works or movements. But there have been numerous papers presented by non-academics, like A. C. Greene of the Greene Group that devel¬oped the planned suburban city of Flower Mound (1972) or Mary Patrick from Tunnel Hill, Georgia, who talked about “Being Indian: The Urban Indian in the 20th Century” (1976), and Vernice Payton, who talked about her memories of the black experience in Texas in the 1930s (1980). Susan Cayleff from the Institute for the Medical Humanities at UT Medical Branch spoke on the water-cure movement (1983), and Betty Chapman, a housewife from Houston, started a career that has led to her becoming the recognized historian of Houston women with her paper called “The Hidden Threads in the Tapestry” (1986). These are just samples of the out-of-the ordinary papers that ASAT has come to expect-—a trend that has continued, as illustrated by Alicia Zavala Galván’s presentation on massage therapy and popular culture at the 2002 meeting (Program 2002).

 Generally in these years, there was a major speaker of national reputation either at a Friday luncheon or Friday evening banquet. In addition to Henry Nash Smith, whom I mentioned as the featured speaker in 1986, was Carl Bode, one of the original founders of ASA, from University of Maryland. He shocked many of our naive and conservative Texas scholars by his frankly admitted tolerance toward marijuana (1971). Less shocking were addresses by David Milch, co-executive producer of the then-ground-breaking TV show Hill St. Blues (1985); Russell Nye from Michigan State discussing nineteenth-century developments in photography (1977); humorist John Henry Faulk describing his experiences of being blacklisted by McCarthy in the 1950s (1984); and Texas writer John Graves (1986). Perhaps less well-known nationally, but certainly widely known in Texas circles, was Joe Thomas from Rice who was revered for his portrayals of Mark Twain. He spoke in the persona of “Mark Oncet,” and his luncheon topic was “Afternoon of a Fraud” (1970).

 As nearly as I can discover, the practice of awarding a prize for the best paper presented at a meeting was authorized in 1978 (Minutes 18 Nov. 1978), but the first record of a prize actually awarded is in 1981. The prize went to Carol Hurd Green for “The Catholic Worker Movement: Beginnings.” Since then, the practice has con¬tinued, with two prizes given regularly in years when there have been concurrent sessions: one prize for each set of sessions. I have not felt it necessary to compile a list of all the winners—their names can be found in each year’s minutes—but two winners have special interest because they indicate something about the presenters who won the prize. The prize in 1984 was awarded to a promising young scholar from Lamar University named Tim Summerlin for his paper “Ideal and Reality in American Transcendentalism” (Minutes 17 Nov. 1984). That young scholar is now president of Schreiner University, which hosted the 2002 ASAT meeting in Kerrville. The next year, 1985, was the first year two prizes were given. One was won by Ernestine Sewell from the University of Texas at Arlington for her “A Reconsideration of Folk Poetry.” The other was won by Billy Joe Turner from Texas Southern University for his “The Harlem Renaissance and the Social Commitment Theater” (Minutes 23 Nov. 1985). It is one of my regrets that Turner is one of too few black scholars who have been active in ASAT. Perhaps that situation can be remedied in coming years.

 So these are the traditions and patterns that developed during the 1970s and 80s. There were also some key issues and developments affecting the organization and its relationship to the national ASA. When ASAT began, the only way to become a member of the state chapter was by joining the national ASA. We have seen that the annual national dues in 1956 were $5.00. Of that, $1 was returned to the regional chapters. As the dues went up over the years (up to $30 for an individual membership by 1976), the rebate also went up—to $2.00 then to $3.00. That’s not much money for an organization to operate on, and matters were made even worse by slow reporting of membership and paying of rebates by the national organization. Often members would join ASA, but their names would not be sent to the chapter secretary in time for mailings about chapter meetings. Thus members were not receiving needed information about regional activities. Perhaps that is why the ASAT membership hit a low of 78 in 1970 (Minutes 5 Dec. 1970). And, of course, if the names were not being sent, neither were the rebate fees (“De¬fining Moments”). Things got rather testy during the administration of ASAT secretary-treasurer Melvin Mason, 1971-1974. I happened to be president of ASAT in 1971, and Charles Peavy, who was our official delegate to the ASA council, and I had a conversation with Robert Walker, then ASA president, at the national convention in Washington, D. C., October 1971. I remember that I thought we had a helpful and candid conversation. Walker wrote me thanking me for our frankness: “I think you and Charles,” he said, “did an extraordinary job of presenting your concerns and summarizing the reaction to many of the questions you raised .... If I can do anything to help the Texas chapter, I will be happy to do so.” Peavy and I felt we had received needed reassurance that things would be more businesslike and prompt in the future and that ASA was not deliberately ignoring its Texas “orphans.” Some procedures were, in fact, changed, and better relay of information and more cordial relations ensued. Things were not entirely worked out, however. Although Peavy reported at the 1974 meeting that the ASA council had agreed to put a student from Texas on the national ballot for student representative (Minutes 18 April 1975), Diane Taylor, ASAT secretary-treasurer, discovered that promise never materialized. When Taylor wrote to Frances Opher, administrative assistant in the ASA office, on June 7 complaining that our student had been denied a place on the ballot, she found the cause was a six- month delay in recording the student’s membership. Furthermore, Taylor wrote Allen Davis, then ASA executive, that she was unable to correlate her list with his: his list showed 142 members while she had sent him 156 names (21 June 1975). The office, she insisted, should send a list of individual members all through the year. Things are better now—good computer programs available since the 70s do make a difference. Nevertheless, there still have been some unsatisfactory moments in the relations between the national and regional chapters, as we shall see when we get to our next period.

There was, in the 70s, suspicion of the intentions of the national organization and recognition that even at best the small amount of the rebate really did not supply ASAT with needed funds to operate. Therefore, Melvin Mason suggested (Letter) and Edwin Gaston moved at the 1971 meeting that Peavy, as our delegate, petition ASA for the right of regional chapters (not just ours) to institute associate membership, at $5.00 each, with such memberships entitling holders to receive all mailings and publications of the given region but not national ones (Minutes 4 Dec. 1971). The motion carried, but when Peavy proposed it to the national council, he was told it was unconstitutional (ASA Council 8 April 1972). Nevertheless, ASAT voted to adopt the regional dues option at the 1976 meeting (Minutes 22 Nov. 1976). We have been operating on that system ever since, and Richard Tuerk, our representative to the ASA Regional Chapters Committee during most of the 1990s, re¬ports that several other chapters charge regional fees of some kind (Letter). The Midwest ASA, for instance, charges extra for its journal, and these charges are included on the forms for renewal of national ASA dues (Letter). So it is clear that the national ASA has recognized the right of affiliates to collect regional fees. Since 1976, one has had the option of being a member of ASAT by pay¬ing the regional dues directly to ASAT or by joining ASA. All Texas residents who become members of ASA are automatically members of ASAT. This new regional membership policy allowed the association to have more money at its disposal, and, in fact, we developed enough money that an endowment fund of sorts was be¬gun, with investment in a CD, first at a bank in Laredo since Rex Ball, president in 1979, was at Laredo State (Minutes 17 Nov. 1979), then in various cities with the change in secretary-treasurers.

 Communications may have started to go more smoothly, thanks to national ASA reforms, but there was still some friction between Texas and the national organization. Charles Peavy reported in 1971 that a big issue was the formation of the “Radical Caucus” within the national association. That group decided at the May 1971 national meeting to reconstitute itself as the “Community of Scholars Concerned about America.” William Goetzmann, founder of the American Studies Program at UT Austin, had been concerned about the implications of the growing power of this group and critical of its agenda. He moved that the Texas chapter convey to the national council that as far as we were concerned, “we are all scholars concerned about America.” That motion was carried and duly forwarded (Minutes 4 Dec. 1971).

 Goetzmann decided in September of 1972 that he would run for president of ASA since he felt “that Texas schools were being ignored” and “that ASA was being governed by a staunch left-wing clique of scholars manque” (Letter). Robert Sklar, an active member of the “radical caucus,” was the leading candidate among the official nominees for president, and Goetzmann felt that his own candidacy would “add some balance and real scholarship” along with the “recognition of people with real American Studies degrees” to the leadership of the national organization (Letter). He enlisted Peavy as his campaign manager, and ASAT made its first—and to this date only—major venture into national, ASA politics.

 The ASA constitution provides for the addition of names to be added to its ballots if a petition is received from a requisite number of members. In an unprecedented conference call, in those days the latest technological wrinkle, the officers of ASAT agreed to recommend the nomination of Goetzmann for president of ASA and to mount a campaign to gather written petitions from our members to achieve that end. The campaign was launched, and Mason soon enough had thirty-eight signed copies, well over the minimum re¬quired. He called ASA executive Allen Davis, told him we had the petitions, and asked what he should do with them. Davis told him just to keep them in case there was ever any question, but in the meantime Goetzmann’s name would go on the ballot (“Defining Moments”). And Goetzmann won “in a landslide” (Goetzmann). In a somewhat gloating letter to the Texas chapter membership, Goetzmann commented in 1973 that he didn’t think we in Texas would any longer “suffer from neglect” from the national office (Newsletter 7 Nov. 1973).

 Goetzmann says that he “set [his] sights on internationalizing American Studies,” and was able to get federal funding “to conduct five major world-regional American Studies conferences” in Austria, Japan, Iran, The Ivory Coast—and San Antonio, Texas (Letter). The San Antonio conference, November 6-8, 1975, served as the national Bicentennial ASA meeting and also replaced the usual ASAT chapter meeting. Charles Peavy was program chairman for the national meeting, which actually turned out to be international since concluding sessions were held in Mexico City, where “[t]he Mexican Government opened up the National Museum of Anthropology . . . just for ASA to visit and hold paper sessions” (Goetzmann). But ASAT members were not ignored or forgotten. Melvin Mason was put in charge of arranging panels of state presenters to discuss topics of particular interest to the Southwest (Mason). It was a hugely successful meeting, and certainly the national and international clientele were introduced to our state and recognized the vitality of our regional chapter.


 The beginning of the third era of ASAT history, 1988, witnessed a “funding crisis” for JASAT, according to Gwin Morris, one that had begun in 1987. The problem was centered at East Texas Baptist University because Gwin Morris, who had moved from Wayland Baptist to ETBU, had been allowed to carry the American Enter¬prise Forum grant with him. Yet suddenly the Forum no longer allowed its grant to be used to support JASAT (Morris Letter 24 March 2003). The meeting in 1987 happened to be at ETBU, and I made the motion that the association explore the possibilities of moving the journal to Baylor University and that the president be authorized to appoint an editor if such a move could be worked out. Morris, who had by then moved to Baylor, recalls “sitting across from Dr. Herbert Reynolds, the executive vice president [of Baylor] and working out the details” (Letter 27 June 2002). “Most members,” he adds, “do not realize how close we came to losing the publication at that point” (Letter 27 June 2002). Baylor agreed to provide both the institutional and financial support required to keep JASAT going. ASAT owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Morris and Marvin Harris for conceiving the idea for JASAT and for nurturing that idea to a stable reality. Without their dedication, JASAT could not have survived.

 Thus the move was arranged, and Glen Lich, then teaching in the Regional Studies Program at Baylor, was appointed editor, a post he filled through the 1990 issue. In those years, JASAT continued to publish papers presented at the meetings and to publish minutes of the meetings. But now, the editorial board began more careful refereeing of all submitted articles, and the bylaws of the organization specified that anyone reading a paper at an annual meeting was expected to submit the paper for consideration by the journal—but that the editorial board would determine those worthy of publication. In 1988, JASAT was listed as being published jointly by ASAT and the American Studies and Regional Studies Programs at Baylor (Table of Contents). The 1989 JASAT announced that it had become a member of the Conference of Historical Journals (iii). Clearly, JASAT was beginning to shift its focus from being merely a vehicle to record the proceedings of the ASAT meetings and toward becoming a scholarly journal with regional and national recognition. The achievement of this goal is indicated by the notation in the 1990 issue that in addition to the Conference of Historical Journals, JASAT now also belonged to the Conference of Editors of Learned Journals. More important, however, was the announcement that articles published in JASAT were now abstracted and indexed in three prestigious bibliographies: America: History and Life; Historical Abstracts; and the MLA International Bibliography (v). JASAT had now become a full-fledged scholarly journal.

 When Lich left Baylor, the University of North Texas stepped in to underwrite the journal, with James Ward Lee serving as editor. For 1991, JASAT was published “jointly by the ASAT and the Center for Texas Studies University of North Texas” (Table of Contents). Minutes of the annual meeting were dropped from the publi¬cation, although resolutions and sustaining and institutional members were still listed. Resolutions were dropped as well in 1992, but the sustaining and institutional members have continued to be listed because a significant portion of the membership fees in these categories goes directly to support the journal.

 Unfortunately, the marriage between UNT and JASAT was not made in heaven. Lee reported at the 1991 meeting that UNT would have to have an additional $2,000 in order to publish the next issue. Marvin Harris reported that ASAT had only $700 to offer, so an amicable (at least I hope it was amicable) divorce was arranged (Executive Board Minutes 22 Nov. 1991). A move back to Baylor was discussed at the 1992 meeting in Lubbock, and the association voted to pursue the move. Kenneth Davis, the ASAT president, announced that Baylor English Department chairman James Barcus, vice president Donald Schmeltekopf, Gwin Morris, and J. R. LeMaster had agreed to the plans discussed in Lubbock (3 Dec. 1992). So JASAT moved back to Baylor, this time with LeMaster as editor. Now credits said JASAT was published annually by the American Studies Program at Baylor University. LeMaster continued as editor through 1996 and has been a major contributor to the increased stature and stability the journal has achieved. As Richard Tuerk has pointed out, “We have been especially fortunate in having the support of J. R. [LeMaster]. He built the journal into a first- class publication” (Letter). Elizabeth Dunn, also at Baylor, took over the editor’s post in 1997; she was followed in 2000 by John Tisdale, then of Baylor. Marvin Harris began serving as book review editor in 1992 and has continued in that post since.

 The JASAT format over these last ten years has remained essentially the same: three or four substantial essays and twenty-five or so book reviews of interest to scholars of American culture. All submissions are carefully and stringently reviewed by the editorial board, and I can attest to the fact that the mere presentation at a meeting, even with expansion and development, does not guarantee acceptance of one’s paper. Two of my submissions have been turned down.

 Beginning with the 2002 issue, Elizabeth Elam Roth, an independent scholar and former member of Texas State University-San Marcos’s adjunct English faculty, replaced John Tisdale as editor. JASAT is currently funded directly from monies in the ASAT treasury, without any institutional subsidy. There is a sense, however, in which institutions still do subsidize the journal. The money from those who maintain “Institutional Memberships” goes directly to help fund JASAT. Members who maintain “Sustaining Member¬ships” also contribute directly to the maintenance of JASAT. Editor Roth noted in the 2002 issue that all material published is now copyrighted by ASAT. Our journal has developed into a publication in which we can all take great pride. It is one of the lasting monuments to the significant scholarly pursuits of our members.

 I suggested earlier that the strained relations between national ASA and regional chapters were not all resolved back in the 1970s. Richard Tuerk was the ASAT representative on the ASA Regional Chapters Committee for most of the 1990s. He recalls that committee’s first efforts in 1991 to obtain recognition by ASA as a standing committee (Letter). Tuerk reported good discussion and interaction with national executive secretary John Stephens and other officers but was a little troubled that Stephens’s main advice was to look beyond the regions’ concerns to think of ASA as a whole. Although there was talk of raising the member rebate to regionals from the $3 level where it had been for several years, when Tuerk suggested a raise to $4, Stephens suggested they put that on the agenda for the next year. The matter was addressed immediately, however, and the raise was approved. Further, at the 1992 ASA meeting in Boston, the Regional Chapters Committee was recognized as a standing committee, and, according to Tuerk, “the regional chapters [now] have a say in the way ASA works, a say we didn’t have before” (Letter) Furthermore, Tuerk adds, “I think the interchange between ASAT and ASA is a healthy one. Perhaps in the future this interchange will lead to both organizations’ attaining a more balanced view of American Studies” (Letter).

   In 1994, the Regional Chapters Committee urged chapters to work on their histories and keep archives, which, of course, ASAT is doing. Also at the 1994 meeting, there were complaints of in¬stances where individuals joined regional chapters through ASA, but sometimes the word didn’t get passed along and members did not get the appropriate services they expected. Better bookkeeping was recommended. Although it sounds as if not much has changed in twenty years, ASA has produced a Chapter Handbook, which should be of continuing use to regional officers (ASAT Records, Box 2J549). Tuerk’s term as ASAT representative was to be up in 1996, but no one else volunteered to assume the duties, so he agreed to accept the assignment for another three years. In 1996, the California chapter reported devoting a session to recording oral traditions by making video tape recordings. Tuerk volunteered to organize such a session for the 1996 ASAT meeting in Marshall. The program was done, including remarks from Dorys Grover, Jeff Campbell, Melvin Mason, Donald Pickens, and Tuerk. That video tape, titled “Defining Moments in the History of the ASAT,” is in the archives and contains valuable information as well as amusing personal anecdotes. I have already recorded Tuerk’s comments about how important J. R. LeMaster was in seeing the journal through crucial transitional years. I think it is appropriate here to reiterate how important Tuerk himself was in representing us and our interests to the national ASA for almost a decade. His successor, Gena Caponi-Tabery, continued the tradition of valuable service to both regional and national organizations. Tuerk is also responsible for inaugurating ASAT’s website, which first appeared in 1997. Tuerk maintained that website until 2001, when then-president Eugene Young took on that responsibility from his home base at Sam Houston State University.

    The basic pattern of annual meetings has continued much the same since 1987. There has been a trend to an increase in the number of concurrent sessions, however, which means more presentations are offered at each meeting. Thirty to thirty-five papers at a meeting has not been unusual, but twenty-five or so is more common (Programs 1987-2002). As I pointed out above, the early meetings had a theme and only three papers and one guest speaker. Meeting themes have continued, but usually the call for papers adds that any paper dealing with American culture may be acceptable. Thus the theme gives some inspiration for people to prepare papers, but it does not put all submitters into a straight jacket. Sites have continued to provide variety: Wichita Falls, Huntsville, Abilene, Lubbock, Commerce, for instance. Tours and excursions have usu¬ally been offered at each locale. There have been fewer speeches by nationally known scholars, however. Hamlin Hill spoke at Denton in 1992 (Program), but by and large, luncheon or banquet speakers are more likely to be local scholars or persons of interest, certainly a less-expensive alternative. A significant innovation was introduced in 1989 with the addition of a creative writing section (Program). Members enjoyed sharing their poetry and short fiction at these sessions, often on Thursday night, but sometimes later during the conference. Such sessions have not been included since 1999, however (Programs 1999-2002). Several members have expressed the hope that such a creative writing section might be reinstated at future meetings.

   The constitution, originally written by C. D. Johnson in 1956 (Minutes 24 March 1956), was completely revised, updated, and approved in 1991. It sought to reflect current practices while allowing flexibility for future changes. It also included a rather thorough set¬ting forth of the duties of ASAT officers, considered an important addition to the constitution since our officers change every year and come from different institutions, and it is often hard to maintain continuity and know exactly what is expected. Also included was a statement of the obligations and duties of members of ASAT (Newsletter 35.2 [1991]).

 The usual pattern of benign congratulatory resolutions has uniformly continued with one exception. In 2000, Gena Caponi-Tabery, former ASAT president and then our delegate/representative to the national ASA, presented a resolution that ASA was asking all its chapters to adopt. This resolution asked the University of California system to lift its ban on affirmative action. The resolution stated that the California system “must open its doors to all students, that it should be a beacon for progress and equality, not re-segregation.” The resolution concluded: “The Regents’ reversing the ban will send a loud and clear message to the entire country that the attack on affirmative action and integration is a historic mistake that must not continue and must be reversed.” After the usual resolutions of gratitude and appreciation were passed, this resolution was also adopted, thus joining ASAT with the other nine of twelve regional ASA chapters to approve it (Minutes 17 Nov. 2000).

 Membership in the organization has remained at a relatively steady level. The low point seems to have been 1970, when only 78 members were reported. The total in 1975 was much better: 156. In 1994, there were 226, but in 2000, we were back down to 157. The report for 2002 shows a count of 238. And financially the association is sound. The first treasurer’s report in 1957 noted a total of $67.15 in the treasury. The 2002 report showed a checking account balance of $784.30 plus a balance of $5,210.98 in the money market account and a certificate of deposit.

 An important issue involving the legal status of the association was recognized and resolved during 2002. At the 1987 business meeting, John Warren Smith, then secretary-treasurer, reported that the national ASA office was encouraging regional chapters to seek incorporation. The motion to proceed with incorporation was adopted with only two opposing votes, and Smith was designated to arrange for such incorporation as a non-profit organization (Minutes 21 Nov. 1987). That task was completed successfully on April 8, 1988. But the Texas Secretary of State requires every four years an updating of the corporation’s “registered agent,” which, of course, had been John Warren Smith. When the Secretary of State’s office sent a notice to him at West Texas State University in May of 1995, Smith had retired and did not receive the notice. Unknown to ASAT, the state “involuntarily dissolved” our corporation when no response was received from Smith (Roth 7-9). Therefore, from 1995 until 2002, ASAT was legally no longer a corporation, but none of the officers or council members was aware of that fact. Elizabeth Roth, secretary-treasurer in 2002, was apprised of the situation when a check from the University of Texas at San Antonio intended to pay institutional membership dues was put on hold because the tax identification number for ASAT was not recognized as being in good standing. Obviously, it was time to bring the association’s corporate status up to date. Roth consulted both an accountant and an attorney, pursued numerous threads of inquiry, and, thanks to her prodigious efforts, ASAT now has a new tax identification number. At its most recent meeting (31 October 2002), the executive board approved taking steps to reactivate the tax-exempt corporate status with the State of Texas. For some seven years, the association was in legal limbo, and we were fortunate not to have incurred any serious consequences from the lapse of our corporate status. The association owes Elizabeth Roth deep appreciation for discovering and sorting though the many complications in order to re-establish ASAT as a non-profit corporation.

 As ASAT enters its forty-seventh year, then, its members are inheritors of a rich tradition of passages and places, politics and people. It is the people, of course, who have given life to this organization and whose dedication to its purposes has enabled it to flourish for almost fifty years. We are in a new millennium now, though, when multicultural, cross-boundaries pluralism has replaced American exceptionalism as the mainspring of American Studies. So it is up to a new generation of people to navigate the new passages and politics, to take ASAT to the new places it needs to go. I firmly believe that in 2056, one of today’s current officers will have become an old-timer like me and will undertake a centennial survey of ASAT’s development and will describe a still vital and evolving organization.


1. The material for this essay has been drawn from three types of sources: (1) my own memories of events and conversations; (2) letters I have received in response to my requests for information; and (3) minutes of annual meetings and executive committee meet¬ings (annual meeting minutes for 1969-1988 are printed in JASAT, 1-20 [1970-1989]; other minutes are in ASAT newsletters or in separate archival records of the appropriate years), copies of annual programs (either in JASAT 1-19 or as separate archival items), ASAT newsletters, and miscellaneous correspondence of ASAT officers and members, all of which are preserved in the ASAT Records at the Texas Collection in the Carroll Library at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. I have sought to include in my text clear references to the specific sources and dates of my information, but it seemed unwieldy and inappropriate to include in a Works Cited every set of minutes, every newsletter, etc. Therefore, the Works Cited includes the major categories of documents I used from the archives, but I have listed specifically only articles from JASAT or letters. All sources not specifically included as separate entries in the Works Cited are found in the ASAT Records in the Texas Clection at Baylor. I did not cite specific box or folder numbers on advice of Ellen K. Brown, Archivist, who pointed out that the archivists often move folders and material to different boxes and folders as the collection expands and changes. The archival material is, however, basically arranged in chronological order from box to box. Therefore, since I have given dates in every case, a subsequent re¬searcher will be able to locate the appropriate box or boxes of material.

2. Martin Shockley, for instance, is still very much alive but not in good health. When I inquired whether he might have any information I could use, his wife searched and couldn’t find anything relating to ASAT in his files. The reason she couldn’t find anything is that he fortunately had given all his ASAT-related material to the ASAT archives. The same is true of Hudson Long, Gordon Mills, and most of the other early leaders. We can be deeply grateful that Baylor has been willing to keep these archives for us and that our early founders had the foresight to start the practice of depositing things there. I urge all more recent officers to go through their files and records and deposit anything relating to ASAT into those archives.

3. Morris clarified the financial situation in a 24 March 2003 letter to Campbell: “I was the administrator of a grant from the Texas Bureau for Economic Understanding at Wayland. That granting agency became the American Enterprise Forum in the 1970s. When I went from Wayland to East Texas Baptist College, I carried the grant with me. In both cases I used funds from the grants(s) to underwrite JASAT.... The crisis came in the mid-eighties when the American Enterprise Forum had a change in leadership and dis¬allowed our use of its grant to underwrite the journal.”

Works Cited

American Studies Association of Texas. Minutes of Annual Meet¬ings, 1956-2002. Years 1969-1988 in Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 1 (1970) - 20 (1989). Other years in ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

---. Newsletters. 1956-2002. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

---. Programs of Annual Meetings. 1956-2002. Years 1969¬-1988 in Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 1 (1970)-19 (1988). Other years in ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

“American Studies Records.” Waco Tribune-Herald 25 March 1960. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco Texas.

Boiler, Paul F., Jr. Letter to the author. 18 June 2002.

---. Letter to the author. 26 March 2003.

Daniel, Price. Letter to Edwin Gaston. 14 Dec. 1961. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

“Defining Moments in the History of the ASAT.” Video tape recording. 1996. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Goetzmann, William. Letter to the author. 1 July 2002.

Golden, J. B. Letter to Edwin Gaston 14 Dec. 1961. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Grover, Dorys. Script for moderating the “Defining Moments in the History of the ASAT” video. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Long, Hudson. “The ASA: Yesterday and Tomorrow.” Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 2 (1971): 78-80.

Mason, Melvin. Letter to the author. 10 July 2002.

Morris, Gwin. “The American Studies Association of Texas: 1956-1976.” Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 8 (1977): 2-6.

---. Editor’s Note. Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 1 (1970): 2.

---. Letter to the author. 27 June 2002.

---. Letter to the author. 24 March 2003.

Roth, Elizabeth Elam. “Tax and Corporate Franchise Problem: Report to the ASAT Board.” ASAT Convention. Kerrville, Texas. 1 November 2002.

Taylor, Diane. Letter to Allen Davis. 21 June 1974. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

---. Letter to Charles Peavy. 21 June 1974. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

---. Letter to Frances Opher. 7 June 1974. ASAT Records. Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

“To Study Civilization.” Waco Tribune-Herald 25 March 1956. ASAT Records, Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Tuerk, Richard. Letter to the author. 5 Nov. 2002.

Turner, Martha Anne. “The Yellow Rose of Texas: The Story of a Song.” Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas 2 (1970): 28-33.

Walker, Robert. Letter to the author. 2 Dec. 1971. ASAT Records, Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.


Annual Conferences
(President, Hosting Institution, City)

E. Hudson Long, Baylor University

E. Hudson Long, Baylor University

Martin Schockley, North Texas State University

J. S. Spratt, Southern Methodist University

Moody C. Boatwright, University of Texas at Austin
San Antonio

James A. Tinsley, University of Houston

Paul F. Boiler, Southern Methodist University

Gordon Mills, University of Texas at Austin
College Station

John Q. Anderson, Texas A&M University

David D. Van Tassel, University of Texas at Austin

C. Dwight Dorough, University of Houston
San Antonio

Leonard A. Duce, Trinity University

Henry B. Rule, Lamar University

J. Milton Nance, Texas A&M University
College Station

Edwin W. Gaston, Stephen F. Austin State University

Jeff Campbell, Southwestern University

J. E. Ericson, Stephen F. Austin State University
Fort Worth

William H. Goetzmann, University of Texas at Austin
San Angelo

Eugene W. Jones, Angelo State University

Charles D. Peavy, University of Houston
San Antonio

Melvin R. Mason, San Houston State University

Darwin Payne, Southern Methodist University

Billie Phillips, San Antonio College

Rex Ball, Laredo State University

Donald K. Pickens, North Texas State University

C. Gwin Morris, East Texas Baptist College
El Paso

Joe Leach, University of Texas at El Paso

Martha Mitten Allen, Southwestern University
Port Arthur

Margaret Neussendorfer, UT at Permian Basin

Larry Dickens, San Houston State University

William Stott, University of Texas at Austin

J. R. LeMaster, Baylor University

Sue Hachbold, Del Mar College
Wichita Falls

John Warren Smith, West Texas State University

Dorys Grover, East Texas State University
Corpus Christi

Marvin Harris, East Texas Baptist University

Kenneth Davis, Texas Tech University

Richard Tuerk, East Texas State University

Margaret E. Galloway, University of North Texas
San Marcos

Priscilla Leder, Southwest Texas State University

Robert Abzug, University of Texas at Austin

Marvin Harris, East Texas Baptist University
San Antonio

Gena Caponi, University of Texas at San Antonio
Wichita Falls

Marvin Harris, East Texas Baptist University

Traci S. Thompson, Hardin-Simmons University

Donald Greco, Baylor University

Eugene Young, San Houston State University

David Breeden, Schreiner University
San Antonio

Gaye Johnson, University of Texas, San Antonio
San Antonio

Jeff Campbell, Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls

Charles Olson, Midwestern State University

Doug Ferndon, Baylor University

Anne Marie Whaley, East Texas Baptist University
San Marcos

Mark Busby, Texas State University
San Angelo

Terrance Dalrymple & John Wegner, Angelo State University

Lisa Reed & Richard Tuerk, Texas A&M University, Commerce

Kathleen Hudson, Schreiner University
Wichita Falls

Greg Giddings, Midwestern State University

Cassy Burleson & Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University

Barbara Miles, Sam Houston State University

Barbara Miles, Sam Houston State University

Barbara Miles, Sam Houston State University

Barbara Miles, Sam Houston State University

Barbara Miles, Sam Houston State University

Canceled due to COVID-19 Pandemic

John Schulze, Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls