2001 Annual Report

:: 2001 Board of Directors Meeting ::
Chicago, Illinois   ::   Hotel Allegro
Thursday, November 8, 2001, 7:30 p.m.

 The meeting began at 7:40 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Tom Green, president of the Society, opened the meeting with the following remarks:

He thanked Vicky Woeste and the entire local arrangements committee for their work on organizing the conference; he also thanked Jack Pratt for his work as secretary/treasurer.

He reported that the executive committee had made the following six decisions since the last meeting of the board:

Approved payment of up to $1500 to the secretary/treasurer to defray expenses associated with attending the annual meeting (as part of that decision, the allocation of any complimentary rooms in the annual meeting hotel should be in this order: secretary/treasurer, president, president-elect);

Approved payment of up to $1500 for the editor of the Law and History Review to attend the quarterly meetings of the History Cooperative;

Approved a one-time payment of $500 to the University of Illinois Press for making available a “pre-print” service that allowed access through the web to manuscripts of articles prior to their publication;

Approved payment of up to $600 per annum to the graduate student member of the Board to defray expenses associated with attending the annual meeting;

Approved the expenditure of $140 as a one-time expenditure to augment the Murphy Award; and

Increased the annual dues for institutional members from $75 to $85. 


The minutes of the 2000 meeting were approved as they appeared in the summer newsletter, and as distributed prior to this meeting.

Committee Reports

2001 Local Arrangements Committee

Vicky Woeste expressed the committee’s appreciation to Tom Green for his support and summarized the events planned for the current meeting. Following the report, the Board expressed its thanks to the committee.

2001 Program Committee

Bill Novak, chair, thanked the members of the committee for their work. He noted that with eight time slots for papers, there were fifteen panels that dealt with American law and seventeen panels that were non-American or comparative. In addition, the plenary address is not an Anglo-American topic. The committee had recruited thirteen panels on its own, and accepted 19 panels from 29 proposed as full panels. There were twenty-seven individual papers submitted; none was accepted.

The committee thought that there were three issues that would require discussion in the future: (1) how to expand the opportunities for the many good papers that were submitted; (2) how to recruit papers outside the Anglo-American topics; and (3) how to deal with the lack of British legal history among the unsolicited panels, the British papers on the program having been solicited by the committee.

Bill expressed thanks for the support of Tom Green. The Board expressed its appreciation for the committee’s work.

2002 Local Arrangements Committee

There was no report from members of the 2002 Local Arrangements Committee, from San Diego. Tom Green noted that it was likely that there would be no Sunday morning sessions, to allow everyone to fly home that day.

2002 Program Committee

David Rabban, chair of the 2002 Program Committee, reported on the process planned for selecting papers. The Committee would try to help junior scholars in forming unsolicited panels.

2003 Local Arrangements Committee

Lewis Grossman and Jim May represented the Committee, reporting that the search for a hotel had settled on the Capitol Hilton in November. They will go forward with planning events for the meeting.

Nominating Committee

Phillip Hamburger, on behalf of the Nominating Committee, reported on the results of the recent election, noting that the low turnout was problematic:
President-Elect (uncontested) Harry Scheiber (elected)

Board of Directors

Greg Alexander
T.J. Davis
Sally Gordon (elected)
Donald Kelley (elected)
Victoria List
Katherine Parrow
Richard Ross (elected)
Lucy Salyer (elected)

Graduate Student Board Member

Karen Bruner (elected)
Jed Shugerman

Nominating Committee Bob Cottrol (elected)

Annette Gordon-Reed (elected)
Renee Lettow
Emily Van Tassel

He also reported the Committee’s view that it would be helpful for future committees to be able to meet in person at the annual meeting, to allow for more complete discussion of the slate of candidates. In the discussion that followed, Tom Green suggested that the Nominating Committee itself should consider the issue in the coming year and report back to the Board next fall.

Tom thanked the committee for its work this year, especially that of the chair, Mary Dudziak.

Honors Committee

Dick Helmholz reported the Committee’s recommendation of three new corresponding fellows: André Gouron, Hector MacQueen, and Peter G. Stein. The Board unanimously approved the recommendation.

Committee on Conference & the Annual Meeting

Craig Joyce, chair, presented the committee’s report. The next two conferences will be in San Diego (November 7-10, 2002) and Washington, D.C. (November 13-16, 2003). For future locations, two cities in Texas were under consideration, Austin and San Antonio.

Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

Jack Pratt presented a summary of the Society’s finances to date, explaining that the accounts do not yet include all of the income and expenses for the annual meeting.

Publications Committee

The chair, Bruce Mann, summarized the points made in the written report, emphasizing (1) the discussion of a revised structure for the Society’s dues; and (2) the Committee’s evaluation of Dirk Hartog as co-editor of the series at UNC.

Law And History Review

Chris Tomlins summarized the written report submitted in advance of the meeting. He asked the Board to record its appreciation to the American Bar Foundation for its continued support of the Review. He noted the recommendation that subscription prices be reconsidered and asked approval of the Board to a study of the cost to mount all of the backset of the Review in electronic format. There was no objection expressed, with the understanding that the Executive Committee might bring the question back to the Board. The motion to thank the Bar Foundation, Renee Brown, Laura Edwards, and Christina Dengate received unanimous approval. Tom Green expressed the Board’s thanks to Chris for his continued service as editor.

Ann Lowery, from the University of Illinois Press, summarized the written report that she had submitted to the Board in advance.

Surrency Prize Committee

The Surrency Prize Committee submitted a written report of its “unanimous decision to award the 2001 prize to Professor James Jaffe for his article ‘Industrial Arbitration, Equity, and Authority in England, 1800-1850,’ which appeared in volume 18 of the Law and History Review. Jaffe examines the variegated forms of arbitration used in English industrial trades in the nineteenth century. Through a detailed exploration of the practices of the mining, pottery, and printing industries, Jaffe demonstrates how a voluntary system of arbitration grew up in individual trades alongside Parliamentary efforts to encourage arbitration as public policy. Voluntary industrial arbitration not only resolved disputes, but helped establish working rules for entire trades. Aware of the importance of arbitration, employers and workers struggled to implement and control arbitration systems to their own advantage. In telling this story with clarity, insight and precision, Jaffe has brought legal history, social history, and labor history into fruitful dialogue.”

Sutherland Prize Committee (Martin Wiener)

Christopher Brooks, representing the Committee, reported the unanimous decision to award this year’s Sutherland Prize to Dr. Robert Shoemaker, University of Sheffield, for his article, “The Decline of Public Insult in London 1660-1800,” which appeared in Past and Present, no. 169, 2000: 97-131. The citation follows:

This ambitious article makes thorough and technically knowledgeable use of ecclesiastical court records, correlated with the experience of other courts, to persuasively argue that the total number of actions for defamation declined in the course of the eighteenth century, and that the character and language of the cases that were prosecuted also changed significantly. It suggests that the decline in litigation reflected a real decline of public insult and was part of a broader cultural shift, in which the power and significance of the spoken insult was being undermined. His is a fresh and exciting approach to these legal records, exploring them as not only technical and specific documents (which of course they were) but as also participants in the cultural and social life of their time. In this article Dr. Shoemaker has impressively utilized legal records to present a strong case for a broader transformation of social life.

Studies in Legal History

Dirk Hartog reported on behalf of himself and his co-editor, Thomas Green. He thanked Chuck Grench at the UNC Press for his help during the year. The Board supported the expression of thanks. 


Chris Waldrep said that in addition to the material contained in the written report, the H-Law committee was committed to making H-Law a record of the Society’s activities. On behalf of the Board, Tom Green thanked Chris and the H-Law committee for making H-Law a vital part of the Society. The Board expressed its thanks.

Membership Committee

There was no report from the Membership Committee.

Committee on Documentary Preservation

There was no report from the Committee.

 Future Projects Committee

Bill Nelson reported that the Committee had focused on two issues: (1) What to do as an organization for graduate students, to make them feel more at home. He noted that this year’s meeting had held a reception for graduate students for the first time. He invited other ideas to help graduate students. (2) What to do to improve relations with scholars outside North America and Great Britain, noting the proposal under new business to make $5,000 available to support participation by foreign scholars in the Society’s annual meeting.

In addition, Bill added a third, long-term issue: Whether the Society wanted to move beyond its present activities to do more to promote legal history in the world. To achieve that goal, would require the Society to become involved in fund-raising.

Tom Green reported that the first graduate student reception had been sparsely attended, because it could be held this year on Thursday, before most graduate students arrived. Nevertheless, he thought that the reception was a good idea, one that should be continued, though at a time during the main meeting.

Old Business

Hurst Memorial Committee

Avi Soifer reported for the committee on the successful completion of the first Willard Hurst Legal History Institute, in Madison, Wisconsin, June 11-22, 2001. The next Institute will be held in Madison in 2003. The Committee planned to meet Saturday morning to discuss what should be done with the additional funding available to the Society.

New Business

The Board unanimously approved the recommendation in favor of adopting a progressive dues structure. No recommendation was made for an increase in dues at this time.

The Board unanimously approved the recommendation:

to place up to $5,000 in the hands of the Program Committee (each year) to help scholars from abroad with travel/hotel costs associated with our annual meeting, assuming the scholars are on the program. The hope is to develop more relationships with foreign scholars and to enable the Society to develop more relationships with legal history organizations abroad.

The Board unanimously approved the concept of having the pre-registration form for the annual meeting seek a voluntary contribution to subvene the registration fees and meals for graduate students, leaving the Executive Committee to work out the details.

There was discussion of the provision of child care at the annual meeting. There was some concern about liability should the Society be the provider. The suggestion was that the local arrangements committee for each annual meeting should work with the host hotel to provide child care.

The meeting adjourned at 9:56 p.m.