The Pacific Coast Branch: 2013 Annual Report
The 106th annual meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, took place at the Westin Denver Downtown in Denver CO on August 8-10, 2013. The conference had 186 registered attendees, who participated in forty-seven different sessions. During the conference, Lilia Fernández (Ohio State University) spoke to the Latina/o Scholars Luncheon on the topic “Locating Latinas and Latinos in the Black and White City” and Elizabeth Escobedo (University of Denver) spoke to the Western Association of Women Historians luncheon on the topic “Finding Civil Rights in the Everyday: Mexican American Women and World War II” while President Carl Abbott (Portland State University) presented his presidential address, “Jim Rockford or Tony Soprano: Coastal Contrasts in Postwar Suburbia.” The presidential address appeared in expanded form in the February 2014 issue of the Pacific Historical Review.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch, American Historical Association, Lawrence B, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor, Westin Denver Downtown, August 8, 2013.
President Carl Abbott called the meeting of the PCB Council to order at 2:03 PM with the following individuals in attendance: past presidents Janet Fireman and Barbara Molony, Finance Committee Chair Al Hurtado, David Johnson and Susan Wladaver-Morgan representing the Pacific Historical Review, Council members Cathleen Cahill, Robin Walz and Georgia Mickey, Pedro Castillo from the Nominations Committee and Executive Director Peter J. Blodgett. Following approval of the 2012 minutes, Past President Molony took the chair and President Abbott joined David Johnson and Susan Wladaver-Morgan to participate in presentation of the Pacific Historical Review reports.
Discussion of the PHR reports began with a review of the selection process for the new editor of the journal (during which the Pacific Coast Branch was represented by Past President Janet Fireman). Dr. Fireman commended the Portland State University History Department for the seriousness with which it addressed the search and described it as a very well run search. At the end, the successful candidate was a very impressive individual, well versed in his field with very strong scholarly credentials. Marc Rodriguez, the choice of the search committee, was approved by the Pacific Coast Branch Council and Professor Rodriguez joined the Council meeting at 2:35 PM.
Carl Abbott outlined the new Memorandum of Understanding to the members of the Council for their consideration. Discussion ensued concerning changes made to the text in response to the needs of the position and the budget constraints of Portland State University. Council proceeded to approve the new MOA, which would supplant the existing extension of the agreement between the PCB and Portland State University in governing the operations of the Pacific Historical Review.
Pacific Historical Review Managing Editor David Johnson then presented the report of the journal in which he noted that between August 1, 2012 and August 1, 2013, the journal received seventy-seven submissions, accepted twenty for publication, and published sixteen. Over the year, 129 scholars served as external reviewers for the journal. The journal published 117 book reviews with 113 reviewers representing 91 institutions. At Johnson’s request, the Council then approved a slate of individuals whom the editors proposed as new PHR editorial board members and expressed its thanks to those board members whose terms had concluded. Discussion thereafter ensued concerning two forthcoming special issues focusing upon forty years of scholarship in Latino history and the burgeoning field of trans-Pacific history.
Executive Director Blodgett followed the PHR presentations with a report on the current financial state of the PCB. Having retained all its assets in cash through the year, the PCB has avoided any financial losses from the volatility of the investment markets and maintained complete liquidity of all its funds so that it could respond to needs such as its project to encourage graduate student attendance. Using monies from the John Schutz Travel Fund/Presidents Travel Fund and from the generous donations of past presidents, the Branch extended support for conference attendance to twenty-three graduate students, the largest number ever. Moreover, the Denver meeting brought a welcome increase in the number of vendors attending the conference. That being said, the amount of the award to each graduate student was reduced to $175 this year from the previous sum of $200 in order to increase the total number of students who would be assisted. Also, in an era characterized by historically low interest rates, the fact that the $2000 annual contribution from the American Historical Association and the annual royalty payment from the University of California Press (roughly $3500 a year) for the Pacific Historical Review represent the only guaranteed income streams for the Branch continually highlights the importance of revenue raised from the annual meeting. Nonetheless, the Branch’s finances remain stable and it continues its activities uninterrupted.
Executive Director Blodgett continued with a brief discussion of the local arrangements for the Denver conference and then, in the absence of Nominations Committee chair Eliza Feguson (University of New Mexico), Executive Director Blodgett announced that 151 members voted in this year’s election, with the following results:
- President-elect for 2014: Ann Hyde (Colorado College)
- New members of the PCB Council:
- Jeff Means (University of Wyoming),
- Phoebe S. K. Young (University of Colorado, Boulder)
- Jeffrey Sanders (Washington State University)
- New members of the PCB Nominating Committee:
- Marsha Weisiger (University of Oregon)
- Elizabeth Escobedo (University of Denver)
- Ray Rast (Gonzaga University)
The Council then offered its thanks to all those individuals who generously accepted the invitation of the Nominations Committee to stand for election in this year’s cycle, including Jennifer Thigpen (Washington State University), Tamara Venit-Shelton (Claremont McKenna College) and Erika Bsumek (University of Texas, Austin), who accepted nominations for Council, as well as Lissa Wadewitz (Linfield College), Melissa Stuckey (University of Oregon) and David Chang (University of Minnesota), who stood as candidates for the Nominations Committee.
Executive Director Blodgett then announced the winners of the various PCB awards:
- The Pacific Coast Branch Book Award: Derek S. Hoff, Kansas State University, for The State and the Stork: the Population Debate and Policy Making in US History (University of Chicago Press)
- The Norris and Carol Hundley Award: Susan Schulten, University of Denver for Mapping the Nation: History and Cartography in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Chicago Press)
- The W. Turrentine Jackson (Dissertation) Award: Proceso James Paligutan, “American Dream Deferred: Filipino Nationals in the US Navy and Coast Card, 1947-1970” completed for the University of California, Irvine
Thereafter, PHR Managing editor Johnson announced the two awards for articles that appeared in the Pacific Historical Review:
- The Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award (chosen by the entire editorial board) to Michael F. Magliari (California State University, Chico) for “Free State Slavery: Bound Indian Labor and Slave Trafficking in California’s Sacramento Valley, 1850-1864” (May 2012, Vol. 81 no. 2)
- The W. Turrentine Jackson (Article) Prize (chosen by the editors from among articles submitted by graduate students) to Laura Renata Martin (University of California, Santa Cruz) for “ ‘California’s Unemployed Feed Themselves’: Conservative Intervention in the Los Angeles Cooperative Movement, 1931-1934” (February 2013, Vol. 82 no. 1)
Blodgett also presented details about the Presidents Travel Award (23 graduate students received awards of $175 each) including the fund raising campaign undertaken by current President Carl Abbott, which had generated $2100 in donations from past presidents as of the date of the 2013 Council meeting. Discussion then ensued concerning the scope of future fund raising campaigns and who was eligible for such support. Council chose not to extend eligibility at this time beyond graduate students currently enrolled in academic programs.
Executive Director Blodgett then offered preliminary details about the 2014 annual conference. The meeting will take place in Portland Oregon at the Hilton Portland, August 14-16, 2014. Blodgett announced President Igler’s selection of Sarah Elkind (San Diego State University) and Hillary Jenks (Portland State University), as well as the conference theme “Dynamic Environments: Migration, Encounter, Exchange.”
Turning to the related topic of future meeting venues, Executive Director Blodgett solicited the input of PCB Councilors about sites for the 2015 meeting and beyond. Initial discussion centered on Al Hurtado’s exploration of sites in Sacramento CA for 2015 or 2016, including the Holiday Inn Hotel and the Sheraton Grande (both of which have unionized staffs). Subsequent discussion included the possibility of creating a more formalized rotation through various parts of the Far West as well as the possibility of exploring certain on-campus sites such as San Francisco State University. Further conversations among the members of the Site Selection Committee will continue online in the coming months.
Under the heading of “old business,” Executive Director Blodgett reviewed progress in finalizing his departure from this position and his replacement by Kevin Leonard of Western Washington University. Blodgett commented on the development of the memorandum of agreement with Western Washington University as well as the contract of employment for Kevin Leonard. In the coming year, Blodgett and Leonard will coordinate a meeting in Southern California during which Leonard will be added to the PCB’s Wells Fargo bank accounts, he will be added to the account signature cards and he will take possession of the PCB checkbook and related materials. Blodgett also stated that he will prepare the reports on the 2013 conference and the Branch finances for the PHR and for the 2014 Council meeting as he remains Executive Director until December 31, 2013. Discussion ensued concerning the transition in the Executive Directorship between Blodgett and Leonard and the Council approved Leonard’s contract of employment with the Pacific Coast Branch.
Under the heading of “new business,” incoming President Igler’s selection of new members of the PCB award committees and the new chair of the Nominations Committee were announced:
- Norris and Carol Hundley Award Committee: Eileen Wallis (Cal Poly Pomona)
- W. Turrentine Jackson Dissertation Award Committee: Susan Wladaver-Morgan (Portland State University)
- Pacific Coast Branch Book Award Committee: Steven Hackel (University of California, Riverside)
- 2014 PCB Nominations Committee Chair: Pedro Castillo (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Continuing with “new business,” President Abbott offered the thanks of the PCB Council on behalf of the Pacific Coast Branch to those whose terms of service were concluding with this annual conference, including
- Past President Barbara Molony
- Councilors Cathleen Cahill, Natalia Molina and Robin Walz
- Nominations Committee members Eliza Ferguson, Andrea Geiger and Linda Nash
- PCB Book Award Committee member Becky Nicolaides
- Hundley Award Committee member Katrine Barber
- Jackson Dissertation Award Committee member Andy Kirk
- Graduate Student Travel Award Committee member David Wrobel
No further issues awaiting discussion, President Abbott then declared the Council meeting adjourned at 4:20 PM.
Respectfully Submitted by
Peter J. Blodgett (immediate past Executive Director-PCB)
July 28, 2014