The meeting began at 8:10 p.m.
Bob Gordon, president of
the Society, opened the meeting with the
He thanked all members of the board for their
service during the past year and for attending the meeting.
He thanked the local arrangement committee, Lewis Grossman and Jim
May, for their work in organizing the meeting. Bob noted that
their report would be the surrounding meeting.
He thanked the Secretary/Treasurer, Jack Pratt, for his work on the
He reported that the Executive Committee had taken no actions of
consequence during the past year. There had been approval of a
substantial subsidy for a book to be published by the University of
North Carolina Press, but fortunately a contribution from the William
Nelson Cromwell Foundation (to be discussed more fully later) had made
it unnecessary for the Society to spend its funds.
The minutes of the 2002 meeting were approved as they appeared on H-Law
and in the summer newsletter, and as distributed prior to this meeting.
2003 Program Committee
Ariela Gross added to the written report she had submitted by noting
that the committee had tried to put together a diverse program, from the
many proposals submitted. The committee had tried to emphasize
comparative and international topics. The large number of good
individual proposals had become parts of five panels. She thanked
all members of the committee for their service, with special thanks to
David Rabban for his help as chair of the prior year's program
committee. Ariela reported that online submissions of proposals
had helped, along with other electronic communications. She
suggested that future program committees might want to reconsider the
practice of having each member of the committee solicit a panel,
especially if the committee is as large as this year's (17 members).
The smaller size of the 2004 program committee could alleviate potential
2004 Local Arrangements Committee
The committee's report on preparations for the meeting in Austin, Texas,
had been submitted in advance.
2004 Program Committee
The committee had begun its work.
Jack Pratt noted the summary of the Society's finances that had been
distributed in advance. He called attention to the increases in
expenses, especially for the annual meeting. The significant
result has been that the Society faces a net loss for the current year.
Sutherland Prize Committee
Tom Gallanis reported that the Committee had recommended that the
Sutherland Prize be awarded to Professor Joseph Biancalana of the
University of Cincinnati College of Law for his article "Actions of
Covenant, 1200-1330"¨ in the Spring 2002 issue of Law and History
Review. In the view of the Committee's majority: "Professor
Biancalana's article provides an admirably thorough answer to two
questions of fundamental importance to the history of the common law of
obligations. First, when and why did the royal courts begin
requiring the plaintiff to produce a writing under the defendant's seal
as proof of their covenant? Second, how, when, and why did the remedy in
actions of covenant change? Professor Biancalana's answers are careful,
insightful, and persuasive. They show a remarkable command of legal
nuance and are the product of exhaustive research in the surviving
manuscripts. Important in its conclusions and meticulous in its detail,
this article fully merits the Sutherland Prize for 2003."
Tom Gallanis reported that the committee had tried to assemble a group
of diverse candidates for vacant positions. He announced that
Charlie Donahue was president-elect. Other results were as
Charles Donahue, Jr. - elected
Board of Directors
Stuart Banner - elected
Philip Hamburger - elected
Victoria List - elected
David Seipp - elected
James Whitman - elected
Adam Kosto - elected
Tahirih Lee - elected
Bob Gordon thanked Tom for his work on the Nominating Committee as well
as for his temporary service on the Sutherland Committee when one member
had to recuse herself.
A question was asked about the Sutherland Committee's listing all
journals reviewed during deliberations on the award of the prize.
Tom Gallanis reported that any such list would be very long, and
commented that he was not sure of the utility of the list. It was
noted that there had been an open invitation to authors to submit their
own articles. The concluding consensus was that the committee and
its chair should have discretion to decide whether to publish a list.
Law and History Review
Chris Tomlins called attention to his written report. He
acknowledged the continuing assistance of the American Bar Foundation in
providing office space and staff support for the Review. He asked
that the Society, through its president, thank the Bar Foundation, Renee
Brown (the Foundation's staff member who acts as the Review's editorial
coordinator, and Christina Dengate, copy editor at the University of
Illinois Press. The request received unanimous approval by the
Chris reported that the Review was in a very healthy position in terms
of the number of manuscripts received, 55-60 a year. The one
problem that he noted was the increasing length of the manuscripts,
which meant that more had to be rejected or that each issue of the
Review had to be longer. (He called attention to the fact that the
contract with the University of Illinois Press had to be renegotiated by
June 2004.) He observed that the cost of the Review had increased
as a percentage of the Society's expenses. With that fact in mind,
he would favor an increase in dues.
Bob Gordon noted that this would be Chris's final year as editor.
Bob thanked Chris for his exemplary performance. The board
responded with applause for Chris.
A question was asked about introducing password access to the Review's
online edition. Chris responded that he preferred to have open
access, though the policy should be reviewed regularly. He noted
that membership, both institutional and invitational, had remained
relatively stable. If institutional subscriptions declined, it
might become necessary to gate access to the Review, as a means of
encouraging institutional subscriptions. He reported that
individuals tended to stay as members once they joined, though he
thought that there was not much potential for growth, as evidenced by
the lack of significant growth from recent membership campaigns.
In response to a question about the possibility of increasing the number
of issues each year, Chris said that each issue would be smaller in
size, which would reduce the variety in each issue (because of the
length of each article). He was not confident that the result
would solve any problem. He said that there was currently no page
limit on submissions, though he did encourage authors to cut length; a
limit might become necessary in the future, though the Review had begun
with the goal of publishing longer articles than appeared in other
history journals. He also noted that increasing the number of pages
published each year would probably lead to higher contract costs.
Committee on Conference & the Annual Meeting
Craig Joyce, chair, thanked the local arrangements committee for its
work on the current meeting. He reported that the next two
conferences will be held in Austin, Texas (October 28-31, 2004), and
Cincinnati, Ohio (November 10-12, 2005). For the next two years,
the committee had offers pending from local committees in various
cities. For 2006, the leading cities were Baltimore and Ft.
Lauderdale; for 2007, Las Vegas. Craig summarized the past
practices used for selection of sites, noting that
those practices needed to be reviewed in light of the increased costs
faced for future meetings.
Jack Pratt summarized his recommendations for future meetings:
(1) engage a third-party meeting planner to assist in negotiating
favorable contracts with hotels;
(2) prefer meetings in second-tier cities, where costs will be lower;
(3) raise registration and luncheon charges, to reflect the actual
(4) restrict off-site events to those that can be entirely funded
During the discussion that followed, an additional recommendation was
made: That the program committee constrain the use of audio-visual
equipment, which is expensive to rent, to programs in which the
equipment is essential.
Bob Gordon suggested that if the board approved the policies,
implementation would be left to the committee and the
secretary/treasurer. The discussion showed the board's approval,
along with favoring Baltimore over Ft. Lauderdale and with a positive
reaction to a meeting in Las Vegas.
Bruce Mann supplemented the written report submitted in advance by
predicting that the University of North Carolina Press would probably
request subventions regularly for volumes in the future.
Fortunately, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation had provided a
generous grant to support publication of the book edited by Paul Craven
and Douglas Hay, Masters, Servants and Magistrates in Britain and the
Empire, 1562-1955. Future subventions would have to come from the
Society's general funds. Bruce suggested that it would be helpful
to consider a special fund for subventions or an addition to dues to
cover the costs of subventions; the Press and authors would continue to
have responsibility to seek their own subventions whenever possible.
Bruce also reported that the committee had begun its search for an
editor to succeed Chris Tomlins.
Bob Gordon thanked Laura Edwards for her service as book review editor
for the Law and History Review, which the board approved with a round of
applause. Al Brophy has assumed those responsibilities.
Tom Green, as co-editor of the UNC series, noted that the need for
subventions was a serious problem, especially for non-American topics.
It was difficult for the editors not to think in market terms when
reviewing a manuscript for publication. If decisions about
subventions were postponed until later in the publication process, the
publications committee would be confronted with a difficult decision
editorial effort had been devoted to the book. Bob commented that
the UNC Press had done a good job of reducing costs per volume.
Even so, there could be a series of volumes that need subventions of
approximately $5,000 each.
Bruce reported that the committee had talked extensively about the
concerns and had decided to respond on a case-by-case basis for the
Future Projects Committee
Bill Nelson called attention to the proposal contained in the
committee's report which had been distributed in advance - the committee
proposed the following by-law:
The President shall have authority to negotiate terms on which the
Society shall participate as a co-sponsor with other organizations of
academic conferences. Provided, however, that no Society monies
shall be used in any fashion to support such conferences unless and
until the Board of Directors adopts general rules and standards for
appropriating and spending such monies. A special committee
appointed by the President shall choose by unanimous vote all members of
the society who will participate in any co-sponsored conference.
The committee made the proposal with the understanding that joint
conferences would be approved so long as no Society money was spent.
Bob Gordon explained that the ambition was to have the Society cooperate
with regional international conferences. After discussion, the
board approved the proposal, with the understanding that the committee
would make minor changes in language to reflect the discussion.
[At its next meeting, the committee discussed the proposal further and
decided that it was not necessary to amend the by-laws.]
Surrency Prize Committee
Richard Ross reported that the committee had recommended that the Erwin
C. Surrency Prize, for the best article or review essay published during
the previous year in the Law and History Review, be awarded to Stephen
Jacobson for his article, "Law and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century
Europe: The Case of Catalonia in Comparative Perspective," which
appeared in volume 20 of the Law and History Review (2002). The
citation read: "Stephen Jacobson's marvelously broad and ingenious
article explores how resistance to civil law codification contributed to
Catalan nationalism in the nineteenth century. He richly explains
how jurists, politicians, and controversialists took a decaying regional
law, revived and modernized it in the process of resisting codification,
and reimagined that law as one of the foundations of Catalan social
identity and national solidarity. Far from being backward or
stubborn, resistance to codification becomes, in Jacobson's telling, a
creative project. Jacobson's treatment of his theme is remarkably broad.
He manages to weave together the political history of nineteenth-century
Catalonia and Spain; the intellectual context supplied by French,
German, and English debates on codification; and an analysis of the
substantive features of uncodified Catalan law that made it attractive
to its advocates. In so doing, Jacobson shows just how varied,
deep, and unpredictable were the
connections between codification and nationalism."
The committee also recommended an honorable mention for the 2003 prize
be awarded to Ronen Shamir for his article, "The Comrades Law of Hebrew
Workers in Palestine: A Study in Socialist Justice," which appeared in
volume 20 of the Law and History Review (2002). The citation read:
"Ronen Shamir has offered a new perspective on 'socialist justice' by
exploring the aspirations and operation of the 'Comrades Law,' a legal
system set up by the General Federation of Hebrew Workers (the Histadrut)
in pre-World War II Palestine. The Comrades Law sought, on one
hand, to provide socialist justice as an alternative to the courts of
the British colonial government. On the other hand, it tried to
further the project of nation-building pursued by a variety of Zionist
institutions before the foundation of Israel. Shamir's masterful
depiction of the tensions between these two roles allows him to
contribute to debates about the possibilities and limits of socialist
justice. In particular, he is able to show how the imperatives of
nation-building led the Comrades Law to subordinate the education and
empowerment of workers to the bureaucratic needs of the Histadrut."
Richard called attention to internationalizing of the field of legal
history, as evidenced by the fact that the most recent recipients of the
prize were authors of non-American topics.
Chris Waldrep supplemented the written report by noting that the
ten-year anniversary of H-Law had passed this summer. He reported
work on the web page to make it easier to find using search engines.
Bob Gordon commended Chris and the other moderators for their work
during the past decade. The board responded with applause.
Jack Pratt reported that the on-line membership directory was now
available. Access is open, though only those with membership
numbers and email addresses can make changes to their own data.
Committee on Documentary Preservation
The committee's report was circulated in advance. Discussion
followed, focusing on the need to be attentive to proposals to destroy
As explained in its written report, the committee proposed that the
Society's by-laws be amended to increase from ten to fifteen the maximum
number of honorary fellows allowed. Following discussion, the
proposal was approved unanimously, with Harry Scheiber abstaining.
Hurst Memorial Committee
Bob Gordon reported that the 2003 summer institute had been a great
success. He pointed to the University of Wisconsin's web pages for
further information. The next meeting will be in the summer of
Murphy Grant Committee
Harry Scheiber reported for the committee, noting that the first award
had been made in the past year.
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Bob Gordon announced a new prize award, supported by the William Nelson
Cromwell Foundation. Sally Gordon explained that the award would
be $5,000 for excellent work in legal history. The Foundation had
committed to support the award initially for five years. The
target of the award would be young scholars, not associate or full
professors. The procedure anticipated that a committee of the
Society would provide the Foundation with three, ranked names in
mid-September, allowing the Foundation's board to make a selection at
its meeting in late October. The winner would be announced at the
Society's annual meeting.
Bob Gordon, on behalf of the executive committee, proposed that
membership dues be increased to the following structure:
For individual members, with annual income:
below $50,000 - $60
$50,000 to $74,999 - $70
$75,000 to $99,999 - $80
$100,000 to $124,999 - $90
$125,000 to $149,999 - $100
$150,000 and above - $125
Student members - $20
Sponsor - $250
Sustaining - [eliminated; was $75]
Life member - $1000
For institutional members - $100
For non-US members, add $10 in each
Bob explained that the increase was needed because of higher costs in
all aspects of the Society's operation -- Law and History Review, UNC
Studies in Legal History series, and the annual meeting. The
likely increase in costs for the Review and for the series had already
been discussed. The additional costs for the annual meeting were
due to a combination of factors, including: (1) increased charges by
hotels to make up for lost revenue after the terrorist attacks of 2001;
(2) special charges for off-site events; and (3) higher charges
generally when meetings are held in large cities. Those increases
had been partially offset by the increase in the registration fee for
the annual meeting; but other hoped-for revenues had not materialized --
contributions from local donors and income from investments.
Because the Society's current dues were low in comparison with those of
other learned societies, the hope is that an increase will not cause a
loss of members. Bob estimated that the new dues structure could
provide as much as $25,000 in additional revenue each year.
During the discussion that followed, an additional suggestion was made
that the registration form for the annual meeting have space to invite
contributions toward expenses of graduate students who want to attend
the annual meeting.
Bob also suggested that in addition to altering the dues structure to
provide sufficient income for the Society's ongoing commitments, this
was an appropriate time to build capacity to do more than that. He
referred to the occasional calls on the Society for subventions for
books in our Studies in Legal History Series. In addition, he
suggested that the Society should continue the valuable policy of modest
travel grants for foreign scholars to give papers at the annual meeting.
There are also ambitions for the Society's playing a role in organizing
regional/international conferences in legal history; while most of the
funds for these would be raised specially for the occasion, he hoped
that the Society would be in a position to help members with travel
expenses. He also pointed to the efforts to update the Society's web
site and online address list, efforts which he hoped could be enhanced
by links to bibliographic resources in legal history. Finally, he
noted that some would like to expand the Society's public education
functions, to make more and better legal history accessible to general
audiences. All of those ambitions pointed to the need for a
campaign to solicit contributions from members and from other possible
contributors. Bob suggested that the Society send a letter (maybe
signed by ASLH presidents from Laura Kalman to Charlie Donahue)
requesting contributions from our
membership along with pledge cards; and also individually
addressed letters to retiring members asking that they make modest
bequests to the Society in their wills. He noted that there were
ongoing efforts to identify foundations that would be worth cultivating,
even though it was not easy to find ones that make legal history a
The motion to alter the dues structure passed with Barry Cushman noting
At the conclusion of the meeting, Tom Green thanked Bob Gordon for all
his work as president. The board echoed the thanks with applause.
The meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m.
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