A History of SAMLA,1928-1978

Clifford Lyons, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In the spring of 1928, at a meeting of the North Carolina Modern Language Association in Raleigh, W. S. Barney, Head of the Department of Romance Languages at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, proposed the formation of a regional Modern Language Association for the Southeastern states. The following autumn, in response to invitations issued by a committee of which Barney was chairman, delegates from departments of modern foreign languages met in the Henry Grady Hotel in Atlanta on the morning of December 29, 1928. At this meeting the South Atlantic Modern Language Association came into being.

The delegates voted that the four member states would be North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; and that there would be an Executive Committee consisting of one Vice President from each of the four states and a Secretary appointed by the President. The Executive Committee chose as the next place of meeting Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Friday and Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving, November 29-30, 1929.

Although the records of this second meeting are meager, we know that there were group meetings on Friday afternoon and that it was voted to invite English teachers to become members of the Association. The third meeting was at Davidson, North Carolina, November 28-29, 1930, and the fourth at Columbia, South Carolina, November 27-28, 1931. On the membership list for 1930-31 there were 48 names; on the list for 1931-32 there were 166 names. Despite the stock market crash of 1929 and the deepening economic depression, SAMLA was sturdy from the first and rapidly increased in strength and stature.

Before chronicling further the earliest years it may be interesting briefly to consider first what SAMLA has become a half century later, as shown by the last annual meeting in our nation's capitol, November 3-5, 1977. While certain basic essentials remain much the same, there are changes and differences to be observed by many who remember well meetings on college and university campuses in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. Still active in SAMLA now are a few whose memories go back even to meetings of the early thirties, and more of us to the mid and late thirties. In 1977 there were about 4,200 members, of whom 1599 were registered for the meeting at the Sheraton-Park Hotel. For those attending regularly for many years the changes may not be as striking as for one who had not been a member for thirty years. Such a one is Chadwick Rogers (let us call him by that name), an able scholar and skilled linguist, who in 1948 left the academic profession for a career in government service, in Washington and for many years abroad. After retirement to his native Georgia he decided to attend again meetings of MLA and SAMLA, to refresh his scholarly interests and to renew old associations. He attended the 1976 MLA meeting and was present at the 1977 SAMLA meeting, where I saw him for the first time in many years. We had several pleasant conversations in the course of which I inquired as to his thoughts and feelings about SAMLA 1977 in comparison with the 1947 meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the last he had previously attended.

He was glad to do so, although any comparisons he might make would for him, he said, have no serious adverse implications for earlier or later SAMLA. His first impression of present SAMLA was its "bigness," along with admiration for the efficient and skillful way such a large meeting had been planned and was being managed. Reading in the January SAB the Executive Secretary's report of the 1976 meeting in Atlanta he had noticed that more than 300 SAMLA members, representing more than 100 institutions, appeared on programs or served as officers of about 75 individual meetings. He mentioned that despite its increased size the Washington meeting seemed like welcome calm after the 1976 MLA meeting in New York, with 8,000-10,000 in attendance and its almost bewildering number of Divisions and Discussion groups, not to speak of activist caucuses of various kinds. He recalled that the first MLA meeting he attended was in New Orleans in 1939, and he had checked his impression that MLA then was smaller than SAMLA now; he found that MLA membership in 1939 was 4,330, about the same as the present membership of SAMLA, but the attendance in New Orleans was 1,172, considerably less than the more than 2,000 who were in Atlanta at the Peachtree Plaza in 1976. He had also checked the SAB report of the 1947 Chattanooga meeting and found that of a membership of 540, there were 350 in attendance. He contrasted the program, for two days and one night, printed on eight small pages of a folder, with the 1977 program as published in the September issue of the SAB, with over twenty-five pages given to information and the schedule for associated group meetings, special meetings, Sections and Discussion Circles--for three days and two nights. The Simplified Schedule for ready reference was very useful. He had noticed the large number of acronyms for organizations which now meet during the SAMLA convention; he said he hadn't found out yet what some of them stand for, that it was almost like reading the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal about government. Although he thought that considering the times the expenses of attending were reasonable, he was amused to compare them with Chattanooga costs. In 1977 for dues, preregistration fee, and two luncheon tickets he paid $29.00, and at the special convention rate his hotel bill for him and his wife for two nights would be about $60.00. In 1947 dues were $1.00; all attending were guests for a luncheon in a dining hall on the University of Chattanooga campus; tickets for the customary Friday night banquet, in the hotel, were $3.00; and his hotel for one night was about $5.00. (1 pointed out to him that the scale of difference is shown by the amounts the treasurers accounted for: in 1947 for $579.79; in 1976 for over $74,000.) The Section programs were on campus, about half of them in "Academic Hall," suggestively representative of earlier annual meetings. He felt there was something good about that, although he supposed that meetings for so long had necessarily been in large metropolitan hotels that anything else would to many seem ancient and outworn.

When asked to comment on his sense of losses and gains from 1947 to 1977 he said he would do so with reluctance, for with respect to SAMLA generally his mood was far more one of celebration than assessment, certainly of negative assessment. But he did admit that he missed some virtues of a smaller association. He had a friend in Georgia, active and influential for many years from the mid thirties on, who confessed that with the enlarged membership and territory, he began to feel, even in the early fifties, somewhat a stranger, that he was no longer meeting with his academic neighbors; although he recognized that age and nostalgia might influence his judgment. Although he understood, he himself did not feel quite this way. At the MLA he found it frustrating to find those he wanted to see; he was not having the same difficulty in Washington, although because of the dispersed meetings at the same hour there were not the frequent and casual encounters as once, when everything was smaller, meetings and hotels, and almost all were together on the festive occasion. He thought the new scholarly journal good and desirable, though he did somewhat miss the old familiar Bulletin. He was surprised to read, especially considering the history and character of SAMLA, that except for quotations all SAB articles must be in English. And he was a little troubled that we have some caucuses, which for him have a political tinge. Wholly apart from one's just personal commitment to any cause, he had doubts about risking any loss of that degree of disinterestedness without which the significance of scholarship might be diminished. But he wanted no serious ambiguities about his response to SAMLA 1977. He was delighted that he could once more attend, and he rejoiced in the continued strength and promise of an Association which for so long had had an important influence in the Southeastern states on scholarship and teaching in the humanities.

This brief history must of necessity consider primarily the history of the Association as such. The SAB publishes abstracts of papers read at annual meetings, special articles, and records the articles and books written by members. There are reviews of the books. But there is not scope here to discuss and weigh scholarly contributions of SAMLA members; nor is there scope for charting the changing emphases in criticism, historical literary research, in folklore studies, linguistic studies, or approaches to the teaching of the languages and literatures. And unhappily there is no way to do justice to the unscheduled and unrecorded associations of members in the corridors, lounges, and coffee shops, where scholars of like interest discuss informally their projects and plans; and old and new friends enjoy seeing and being with one another, often in crowded hotel rooms where appropriate refreshments season the lively talk. Many remember, too, the long drives to and from annual meetings with congenial friends, often with pleasant overnight stops at wayside inns.

In preparing to write such an account as this one gathers far more data than can be included. The method must be highly selective, often merely pointing to what cannot be considered in detail. Some useful information is provided in the Supplements. The early histories are annals. Here will be given concise accounts for five periods in the history of the Association. There is inevitably an element of arbitrariness in the designation of these periods. In the past several months there has been one difficulty in keeping to a schedule: the lure of rereading in the SAB the editorials, abstracts of papers, reports, addresses, articles, reviews; most of them are not "dated." So often talk about progress and superseding, in the humanities generally, seems much beside the point.


The Early Years: 1928-1934

Almost all we know about the history of these years is found in the following: (1) South Atlantic Modern Language Association, a History, byJohn A. Strausbaugh, dated November 23, 1932. This is a four-page pamphlet. On the last page is a listing of "Members, 1931-1932." The pamphlet was distributed to members attending the 1932 annual meeting in Atlanta. (2) "Early SAMLA History," by Sam Shiver, a brief reporting of additional information, found with the help of W. S. Barney and George Watts. This is in the South Atlantic Bulletin, March, 1951. (3) An editorial by President George Watts in the South Atlantic Bulletin, January, 1950, in which there is the only published mention of the meeting in Raleigh in the spring of 1928. (4) The printed programs of the annual meetings 1932-1934. (5) The History of the Association, 1932-1937, by John A. Strausbaugh, in the Bulletin, October, 1937. In this last John Strausbaugh writes that in response to his reporting in the 1932 history the lack of adequate information a number of charter members sent to him newspaper clippings, old programs, and announcements. The file of these materials cannot be found. A document that would be of value apparently has not survived: the delightful and interesting talk that Sturgis Leavitt gave at the SAMLA luncheon in Augusta in 1958, recounting many events and circumstances of SAMLA's early history.

A copy of the rare 1932 pamphlet was sent to me by Thomas English. When going through some old files made available to me by Frank Duffey, I discovered two small pamphlets, 1934 and 1935, which on the reverse side of the cover print the VIII articles of the Constitution, which had been prepared and was presented by Edwin J. Erwin of Davidson College and adopted at the 1932 meeting. I found there also another copy of the 1932 pamphlet history, and several early programs--which make complete the program file from 1932 to 1978.

Reprinted in the Supplements Section are these basic documents: the 1932 History, the brief article by Shiver, and the Constitution adopted in 1932. The 1932 history has been reprinted once before (without the list of members), in the South Atlantic Bulletin, May, 1958. The 1932 Constitution, however, has not been published since 1935; it is an almost unknown document. Note that there are no Bylaws. It is hoped that the programs for 1933 and 1934 and the 1932-1937 history of the years 1932-1934 may be published in a future issue of the South Atlantic Bulletin. For 1935 and subsequent years the SAB provides the information essential for a history. It is especially appropriate that the 1932 program, the first we have, is here reproduced; this meeting was at the Atlanta Biltmore, site of this year's anniversary celebration.

With the thought that a few more bits of information might be gleaned, and that it would be interesting to learn as many as possible of the names of members in the first ten years who are living, letters were written to about twenty-five men and women whom I know in representative institutions of our area, enclosing copies of the 1932 history and the 1937 membership list, asking them to check names and to tell anything they might add about the early history. In their welcome letters Miss Alice Abbot of Greensboro and George B. Watts of Davidson and Concord, New Hampshire, both write that they were present at the meeting in Raleigh in the spring of 1928. Miss Abbot read there a paper for the group of which N. B. Adams of Chapel Hill was Chairman. Both report that there was not unanimous agreement about the desirability of forming a regional association. George Watts became active in SAMLA in 1930. Jay B. Hubbell, Sr., at ninety-three still busy with his scholarship, wrote three pages of reminiscences. He was asked by President Barney to be Chairman of the first English Section, at Davidson College in 1930. He recalls that George Coffin Taylor and Allan H. Gilbert read excellent papers. He was again Chairman of the English Section at the University of South Carolina in 1931. He gives an interesting account of the 1933 meeting at Duke University, where he was Chairman of the Entertainment Committee, and reports some changes in the printed program necessitated by the illness ("flu") of several scheduled speakers. One paragraph deserves quotation:

In 1930 Southern colleges and universities lagged far behind the great Northern and (some) Western universities. We had few distinguished scholars and most of them did not have access to a first-class university library. All that has changed, and I think SAMLA had a lot to do with it. I note especially the rapid growth in Southern literaryscholarship and especially in my own field of Southern literature. My The South in American Literature, 1954, would not have been possible without the various articles and books written by members of SAMLA. Some time in the middle 1940's I remember William Riley Parker, Secretary of MIA, told me that SAMLA was much the best of the regional associations.

Allan Gilbert wrote that nothing of those years has survived in his files. This tireless and richly productive scholar devoted most of his letter to the detailed work he is doing on the text of Paradise Lost. At ninety he helps keep himself fit by swinging an ax. Along with other information William P. Cumming includes a vivid recollection of the Davidson meeting of 1930. Two young men, fresh from New York, teaching at a small college in the region, tried to dominate the proceedings and instruct the southern provinces how the organization should be run. "They couldn't be quieted but were effectively ignored." Cumming was the first President of SAMLA after affiliation with MLA in 1956 to attend meetings of the MLA Executive Council. Elizabeth F. Johnson of Rock Hill, South Carolina, probably was present at the 1929 meeting, for she was elected Vice-President for South Carolina. I have heard about but not from her. Elizabeth Johnson has been an influential member of SAMLA. Augustine LaRochelle and Alice Abbot, both of Greensboro, write that from the first they drove with the Barneys to SAMLA meetings, and thus may have been at the 1929 meeting. It was pleasant to talk with 0. P. Rhyne of Clemson at commencement time in Chapel Hill. He attended the second meeting at Converse College in 1929 and the meetings in following years. He is now ninety-three. Learned through correspondence are names of members living who attended meetings in the earliest years (in addition to those already mentioned):

1930: Raymond Adams, William McKnight (as an undergraduate he was a helper at the meeting), Raymond Jenkins, Richard Pettigrew, Sterling Stoudemire.

1931: Francis Hayes, M. B. Seigler, Herman Spivey. SterlingStoudemire read a paper at this meeting.

1932: Probably many of the italicized names on the 1932 membership list. At this meeting papers were read by Hampton Jarrell, Harry Russell, and George Watts.

At this time of SAMLA's fiftieth anniversary it seems fitting to know the names of those still among us who had a part in its beginnings and may participate in or read at this event. At the same time we remember with gratitude those no longer with us, from later years as well, who helped make SAMIA what it was and what it has become. The names in Strausbaugh's 1932 history, and in the list of members, are an honor role for our earliest years.

At the Atlanta Biltmore in 1932 the adopted Constitution provided that the Executive Committee, formerly composed of one Vice-President representing each of the four states, should thereafter be composed of four elected members to serve for two years, with two to be elected each year. Alabama was admitted to membership this same year. There were five member states from 1932 until 1945, when Tennessee became a member. When Alabama was admitted there was some questioning the appropriateness of the name South Atlantic.

The printed program for 1932 shows the plan of the meetings. On Friday there was a general session at 2:00 P.M., which was followed by Section meetings. There was a banquet Friday night and more Section papers on Saturday morning. The next year at Duke there were approved changes: the Section meetings began on Friday at 10:00 A.M., and after lunch there was a general session but no Section meetings. The banquet and Saturday morning program were as before. This general pattern was followed for many years. It is asserted by Strausbaugh and has been attested by others that President Coffman's address in 1933 was exceptionally influential in the developing strength of SAMLA. The activities and projects recommended were carried forward by able committees appointed and functioning within a few months. The general session at Charleston in 1934 was devoted to reports of these committees: Archibald Hill for the Committee on Dialect Studies and the Linguistic Atlas; W.S. Barney for the Committee on Pedagogy; A. P. Hudson for the committee on the Folksong; Jay B. Hubbell for the Committee on the Bibliographical and Other Resources Having to Do with Americana and American Cultural Relations in the South; Sturgis Leavitt for the Committee on the Bibliographical Resources for Study in the South with the exception of Americana; Research Work in the Modern Foreign Languages, English and American Literature. The length of some of these titles was no hindrance to accomplishments.


SAMLA: 1935-50

From 1935 TO 1950 Sturgis E. Leavitt was Editor of the South Atlantic Bulletin. Closely associated with him in founding and editing the SAB during those years was Thomas H. English. The Committee on Bibliographical Resources and Research, appointed in 1934, after deliberations concluded that it could best accomplish its purposes by publication of the South Atlantic Bulletin. This was a happy decision, for it is difficult to imagine how the Association could have developed and prospered as it has without this excellent publication. The first issue, which appeared in May, 1935, was a broadside (approximately 11 by 16 inches). The second paragraph of the statement about the SAB on the one large page deserves quotation, for the clearly set-forth purposes and promises were richly fulfilled in the years of publication which followed:

It has been thought that the primary purpose of the Bulletin should be to encourage and to some extent lend guidance to research by furnishing information about it. It should publish, for example, descriptions of important collections in the libraries of the Southeast, and reviews and notices of scholarly publications by our members. It should also make known the results of investigations regarding the attitudes of school authorities toward research, sabbatical leaves, and related problems. It should report on new projects and the progress being made on projects already under way. It should carry announcements and plans for the annual meeting, and after the meeting devote all or part of one issue to the proceedings. Under membership news the Bulletin might carry notes about promotions, new appointments, and transfers.

There was the added reminder that all members would receive the SAB and that the annual dues were $1.00--as they remained until 1955. The format familiar to us until 1970 was adopted for the second issue. At the eighth annual meeting, in Athens, Georgia, the members without dissent approved the recommendation of the Executive Committee that the South Atlantic Bulletin be adopted as the official organ of SAMLA, that Sturgis Leavitt be appointed as editor, and that the Editorial Board be composed of Thomas H. English, the President and Retiring President of the Association, and the Secretary-Treasurer. The Editor asked the Association to pay only the mailing costs. Until Leavitt's retirement as Editor in 1950 the funds of the SAB and of the Association were separate funds. By means of small subventions from UNC, modest income from advertisements, low printing costs, and secret magic, Leavitt was able to sustain the venture and never once failed to publish an issue, usually right on time. The Association even inherited in 1950 a small savings fund surplus he had accumulated.

It is possible only to list or comment briefly on the variety of articles and reports published in the SAB to carry forward the declared purposes: abstracts of all papers read at annual meetings; member participation in programs of MLA and of other professional organizations; the scholarly publications of members; reviews of books written by members; theses, dissertations and the directors; scholarly journals (such as the new Southern Folklore Quarterly); important organizations (such as ACLS); the founding in 1943 of the Southeastern Renaissance Conference and publication of the proceedings (continued since); the founding in 1947 of the Southern Humanities Conference (SAMLA continues to give financial support); Foundations; University Presses.

Important were the articles and reports, many of them by Thomas English, on the resources of libraries in the Southeastern states. The Committee on Bibliographical and other Resources Having to Do with Americana and Cultural Relations in the South, appointed in 1934, headed first by Jay Hubbell and then by Herman Spivey, did superior work, as shown by their reports on library resources and by annotated bibliographies, four of which, by Spivey, were published as Bulletin Supplements. Guy Cardwell and Richard Beale Davis gave encouraging assistance. There were reports of the good work of other committees: Organization and Work in the English Language, The Folksong, and Pedagogical Problems. The Reports by Thomas B. Stroup, Chairman of the Committee on the Status of the humanities, were so thorough and helpful that several times they were on the program for the general sessions. Related to these were the many good editorials, addresses, and articles having to do with the status of foreign languages in the colleges and universities; and there were reports on the problems of English in the curriculum, both composition and courses on the English language. Lists of members and publications by members were published in the Bulletin until 1946; thereafter they were separately published Supplements.

On invitation from the national Association, SAMLA met with MLA in Richmond, December 29-31, 1936. There was only one SAMLA program, consisting of two reports; and there was a meeting of the Executive Committee. It had earlier been decided by the Executive Committee that officers elected at the 1935 meeting would remain the same until the Rock Hill meeting in 1937. Despite the confusion caused by Roosevelt's presidential proclamation in 1939 that Thanksgiving would be on the fourth instead of the last Thursday in November, the 1939 meeting in Birmingham was well attended.

The success of SAMLA influenced groups elsewhere. The newly organized South Central Modern Language Association had its first meeting in November, 1940. In 1938 Roger McCutcheon and several others from the English Department of Tulane University came to observe the meeting at Gainesville, Florida. A delegation of foreign language representatives attended the Birmingham meeting the next year. They were all so favorably impressed that steps were taken to organize SCMLA. Their South Central Bulletin was and still is modeled on our Bulletin of those years.

At Columbia, South Carolina, in 1931, the Executive Committee considered the possibility of having the proceedings of annual meetings published in PMLA.In 1939 the Secretary of MLA, Percy Long, began publishing the proceedings in the PMLA Supplement. In 1940 the first Vice-President of the Association was elected. (The designation "Vice-President" was used until 1932 for state representatives on the Executive Committee.) At Agnes Scott College in 1941 there was a joint meeting of an English Section and the College Section of the National Council of Teachers of English, then also meeting in Atlanta.

The war years were difficult years for SAMLA. By a mail vote of the members it was decided not to hold the annual meeting in 1942. Many members of faculties, including two members of the Editorial Board, were in the armed services, and there were other difficulties. The Bulletin, published steadily during the years there were no annual meetings--1942, 1943, 1944--was a source of continuing strength. There were excellent articles on the humanities and their significance for the war and post-war years. The Association suffered a great loss in the death of John A. Strausbaugh in 1943. His able and faithful work as Secretary of the Association from 1932 to 1943 is deserving of the highest praise. I. W. Brock was elected to the office. It had been decided in 1942 that all elected officers should continue in their posts until the next annual meeting could be held In 1943 the President, Frederick L. Jones, entered military service and the Vice-President, Guy R. Vowles, became President.

The fifteenth annual meeting, the first since 1941, was in Columbia, South Carolina, November 23-24, 1945. There were 225 registered, only 45 less than at the 1941 meeting, but there were fewer papers on the program. The 1946 meeting was somewhat unusual: the Friday morning and afternoon meetings were at Tuscaloosa on the campus of the University of Alabama, and then members returned to Birmingham for the Friday night banquet and Saturday morning section programs at the hotel. There were innovations at the 1947 meeting in Chattanooga (I have already reported Chadwick Rogers' comments on this meeting). The Friday afternoon General Session, traditional since 1933, was discontinued. In its place the new Folklore section had its first scheduled meeting and there were scheduled Discussion Circles, which, at Allan Gilbert's urging, had been experimented with before the war. Although there had been in earlier years papers on American literature, for the first time a Section on American Literature was scheduled on the program. In an Editorial President Allan Gilbert, advocated, among other things, that consideration be given to publishing scholarly articles in the SAB. In response the Editor, while welcoming discussion and dissent, reaffirmed the traditional purposes and scope of the SAB.

The year 1950 is of unusual importance in the history of SAMLA. In November, 1949, I. W. Brock, because of heavy new University duties, had resigned. He was an excellent Secretary-Treasurer and as an Associate Editor of the SAB made an important contribution, as Leavitt testified. In March, 1950, Thomas English resigned as Associate Editor of the Bulletin; in November Sturgis Leavitt resigned as Editor. These two men had completed fifteen years of distinguished service to the Association. On Leavitt's recommendation Frank M. Duffey was appointed Editor and S. W. Shiver, having resigned as Secretary-Treasurer, was continued as a member of the Editorial Board. Quentin 0. McAllister was elected Secretary-Treasurer.

President George B. Watts made several significant recommendations in a vigorous editorial in the January, 1950, SAB, the opening paragraph of which gives us our first and only published information about the spring meeting in Raleigh. He pointed out that there had been no history since 1937 and recommended that one be written and published, and asked that an attempt be made to find additional information about the earliest years. The "History of SAMLA 1937-1950" was written by the Secretary-Treasurer, Sam Shiver, and published in November of that same year. In March, 1951, appeared the already noted brief article by Shiver, "Early SAMLA History." In the same editorial Watts pointed out that there was no record of a revised version of the 1932 Constitution, which he said was unknown to most members and some officers. With the Executive Committee's approval he appointed a committee, with W. P. Cumming as Chairman, to make revisions necessary to bring it up to date and when approved to publish it. The Committee's recommended version, after much discussion and modification of some details, was approved at the 1950 meeting and published in the SAB of March, 1951. As much as possible of the 1932 wording was preserved, but some revision of the basic articles was necessary and there are almost three columns of added Bylaws. This is a major revision and supplementing of the 1932 Constitution. It contained a provision that the Secretary-Treasurer "shall prepare the History of the Association every five years for publication in the Bulletin." Unhappily the 1937-1950 history is the last we have. This provision was deleted in the 1969, 1977 Constitutions.

Virginia was welcomed in 1950 as a new member state of SAMLA. Tennessee had been admitted in 1945 and Kentucky in 1949. There were now eight member states. Considering the 690 members and the enlarged territory one can appreciate Watts's editorial clause: "Now that the Association has become so large," which seemed apt in 1950.

It is interesting to compare the 1950 program with that of 1935, when there were seven Section meetings: two French-Italian, two German, one Spanish, two English. In 1950 there were seventeen Sections: two French, two German, two Spanish, one Portuguese, one Teaching Problems (foreign languages), three English, two American Literature, two Freshman Composition, one Folklore, one Comparative Literature. It is understandable that in 1947 the buff-colored program folder of six pages, traditional since 1932, became a folder of eight pages. The last appearance of this folder format was in 1950.


SAMLA: 1951-1960

The Secretary-Treasurer for nine of these ten years was Quentin 0. McAllister. The program format was new--two white sheets stapled and folded to make eight pages, pages larger than those of the buff folder. During this period there were changes in the plan of the annual meeting. Friday had always been the first day of scheduled meetings; beginning in 1952 in Miami there was a program on Thursday night, a general session replacing that discontinued in 1947. The first guest speakers at this general session were Jesse Stuart, novelist and poet, and William Riley Parker, MLA Secretary and Editor of PMLA.The last Friday night banquet, long a tradition, was at Columbia, South Carolina, in 1954. In 1955 a subscription luncheon, at which the President normally gave his address, took the place of a banquet. In 1956, however, Agnes Scott College, Georgia State College, and Emory University generously entertained all members, spouses, and visitors at a luncheon on the Emory campus, the last of such pleasant occasions. The Business Meeting was first scheduled for Friday night in 1955.

By 1960 there were twenty Sections and three Discussion Circles: Advanced Expository Writing, Literary Criticism, and Renaissance. New established sections were Slavic, Southeastern American Studies Association, and South Atlantic Dialect Society of America. Pressures for new sections required increasingly the attention of the Program Committee. More sections give desirable opportunities for participation to more scholars, especially young scholars. But some regulation of proliferation and distribution is necessary. In 1958 the Association adopted a constitutional amendment which made all matters pertaining to Sections subject to the approval of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee delegated to the Program Committee authority to act during the year, the actions to be subject to review. After long urging by many, the Association finally changed the traditional Thanksgiving weekend meeting time to early November, effective first at Augusta in 1958. At Daytona Beach in 1955 was celebrated the Silver Anniversary of SAMLA. This was the twenty-fifth annual meeting but the twenty-seventh anniversary. The loss of three annual meetings during the war threw year and meeting numbers out of phase. In 1958 the Association approved another amendment: "The Vice-President shall normally succeed to the Presidency." In 1960 the Executive Committee made clear their interpretation of "normally": "under all but the most unusualand extraordinary circumstances." After 1960 the Vice-President succeeded to the Presidency. In 1960 the Association accepted with appreciation the offer of the University of Georgia to store permanently and make available to interested scholars the manuscripts of papers read at the annual meeting. Although in previous years facilities had been provided for chairmen of departments and candidates to meet, the Faculty Exchange, reported as an "innovation," was established in 1960, as well as a Message Center.

From 1951 to 1960 attendance at the annual meeting more than doubled, increasing from 306 to 641. This number does not now seem large, but it had an inevitable effect on finding places which could provide adequate facilities, more and larger meeting rooms. The last year when Section meetings were held on college or university campuses was 1956. The Executive Committee began to plan three years in advance. More members, more meeting rooms, more services require more money. Dues were raised to $2.00 in 1956; to $2.50 in 1959.

SAMLA accepted the invitation of MLA in 1956 to affiliate with the national organization. Beginning in 1957 Presidents of SAMLA, as well as Presidents of other regional MLA's, began attending meetings of the MLA Executive Council. In recent years, in addition to attending Plenary sessions of the Council, regional Secretaries have met with the MLA staff in the fall. These are the other regional Associations: Philological Association of the Pacific Coast (founded 1899; it includes classicists); South Central MLA (founded 1940); Rocky Mountain MLA (founded 1947); Midwest MLA (founded 1959); Northeast MLA (founded 1967). Each has its Association publication. SCMLA has about 2,000 members, the others about 1,000. The relations with MLA were cordial and collaborative, especially in strengthening foreign languages in the schools, colleges, and universities. There was a SAMLA Liaison Committee that collaborated with the MLA FL program. Through the years SAMLA members have always been active in MLA, as officers of programs sections and as readers of papers. The Seventy-fifth Anniversary Issue of PMLA,1958, listed Allan Gilbert, Frederick Jones, and Raymond Jenkins near the top among scholars who had had the greatest number of research articles accepted for publication in PMLA. The following SAMLA members have been elected to the MLA Executive Council: George R. Coffman, 1936-1939; Hardin Craig, 1935-1938; Urban T. Holmes, 1940-1943; Jay B. Hubbell, 1946-1949; Clifford Lyons, 1953-1956; Sturgis Leavitt, 1956-1959; Fredson Bowers, 1963-1966; 0. B. Hardison, 1968-1971. John H. Fisher was MLA Secretary, 1963-1971, and President in 1974. Germaine Brée was MLA President in 1975 and served on the Executive Council, 1961-65, 1973-75.


SAMLA: 1961-1967

During this period there was a very large growth in college and university enrollments, especially in public universities. The attendant growth in faculties no doubt explains in good part the exceptionally rapid growth of SAMLA. When membership increases, attendance at meetings increases, of course; but this has been unusually so in SAMLA, for the percentage of members attending meetings has always been large, seldom below 50% and has been as high as 74% In 1961 there were 1218 members and 850 registered at the meeting; in 1967 these numbers swelled to 2,500 members and 1,700 at the meeting. Yet a survey showed that of 2,700 MLA members in the territory only 800 were also SAMLA members. In 1961 there were twenty-five sections and circles and eighty-one papers were read; in 1967 there was only one more section but ninety-four papers were read. The meetings were described as "overflowing." The program format was changed in 1961 to a booklet, its fifteen printed pages wholly devoted to the meeting; in 1967 inclusion of over 40 pages of publishers' announcements, listing books of interest to SAMLA members, had thickened the booklet to sixty-one printed pages. In 1961 the Secretary-Treasurer was responsible for about $6,000; in 1967 for over $22,000. In 1967 for the first time a Certified Public Accountant was employed to help audit the books. From 1959 on SAMLA met every other year in Atlanta. Even there two hotels were required for meetings rooms in 1967. In the "off-years" during this period there were meetings in Miami, Greenville, and Charlotte. Although the two last are cities of some size the facilities were only marginally adequate.

Two more states became members of SAMLA: West Virginia in 1961 and Maryland in 1963. The original SAMLA territory of four states was now expanded to ten states. The District of Columbia was admitted in 1968. Another important event was the establishment of the SAMLA Studies Award. In 1966 the Association accepted with appreciation the generous offer of the University of Kentucky Press to provide an annual five-hundred dollar award for a manuscript chosen by the Association, which the Press would publish. In 1967 Nathalia Wright, Chairman of the Awards Committee, made the presentation to the first winner of the award, Robert West, for his manuscript: Shakespeare and the Outer Mystery. In 1972 the University of Georgia Press became sponsor of the award and Aubrey Williams was appointed Chairman of the Committee.

At the meeting in Greenville, 1964, The Association approved an amendment to the Constitution which increased the size of the Executive Committee from four members to six, each member to serve three years rather than two. SAMLA dues were raised in 1966 to $3.50; an incentive for this action was provided by MIA, which offered to add one dollar for each dues-paying member. MLA contributed this subsidy for three years.

Under the able editorship of Frank Duffey the South Atlantic Bulletin continued to be a pillar of the Association. All the types of articles and reports designed to promote scholarship and teaching, as previously commented on, are continued, being added to as circumstances warranted. The continued reports and statistics about library resources of our territory are ably done. In addresses and reports ample attention is paid to foreign languages in education and to the humanities generally. As books by SAMLA members increase in number, as they do, so do the reviews, many of them excellent. Beginning in 1954 the Bulletin has a new look. Except for the January number, which is devoted chiefly to the annual meeting, there is on the first page of every issue a leading article, SAMLA addresses, or reports of general interest. It fills the entire first page and is continued on other pages. As one surveys on through the sixties it is clear that the SAB has taken a new direction, that it is moving toward becoming a scholarly journal, with the obvious approval and encouragement of the members. This is a matter of primary interest in any consideration of the SAB during these years. And it should be remarked that many of the articles and addresses are first-rate. Abstracts of papers and lists of theses and dissertations in the various graduate schools, both valued by members, continue to be published. After 1964 there is no published list of members and after 1966 no listing of publications by members. In such a large and growing Association expense alone is a serious consideration.

Ransom Taylor was Secretary-Treasurer 1960-1962; Richard K. Seymour 1963-1967. In the spring of 1967 Seymour accepted a position at the University of Hawaii; in the May SAB, 1967, he wrote an excellent article, "The Regional Modem Language Association." Edward Bratton became Secretary. SAMLA has never had a full-time officer. So far as the record shows all officers of the association assumed their duties in addition to normal academic responsibilities. Since the 1950's the budget had provided a few hundred dollars for clerical help and some travel allowance. When Bratton became Secretary-Treasurer the University of Tennessee generously provided adequate space, secretarial assistance, and relieved him from one-half of his academic duties. Such assistance was sorely needed for a SAMLA Secretary, whose load was heavy even in the days of a smaller organization. A consideration of the manifold duties and twelve-month obligations of the Secretary-Treasurer is sobering. Think on just one thing: pieces of first-class mail may exceed 5,000 and total mailings exceed 30,000. In his first year Bratton aptly quotes the story Walter Herbert told about his young son, who on seeing for the first time the ocean and pounding surf said, "I'm just going to sit here till it stops." From what I know of his excellent work as Executive Secretary of SAMLA I would judge that Bratton seldom stopped--from 1967 through 1976.

SAMLA: 1968-1978

In studying this most recent period there is a dominant impression of vigor and expansion. Up to now the reports and minutes of annual meetings are quickly read. For these years they fill more and more pages, in reduced type: the Executive Secretary's Report, the Financial Report, the Minutes of Executive Committee Meetings (at least two; in recent years there have been additional called meetings in the spring in Atlanta), Minutes of the Association Business Meeting. The Secretary also publishes a more general report on the annual meetings: interesting facts, figures, and comment. Most members who attend regularly are already familiar with recent history and have readily at hand the thorough reports in the January issues of the SAB.

A Committee on Private Foundations did much work in finding and listing Foundations which might be interested in helping to finance desirable SAMLA projects. The good efforts thus far, apparently, have been fruitless. The National Endowment for the Humanities, however, has recently funded a project at the University of Tennessee for research and development: "The South, Its Culture and Condition." Working and advising on the project, in the proposal for which SAMLA was helpful, is a fairly large group of able scholars from Tennessee and other universities, north and south. Appropriate television scripts are being prepared.

Some notes on these years. There have been two annual meetings in Jacksonville, Florida, three in Washington, D. C., and six in Atlanta. To find suitable sites throughout the region has become more and more difficult. (If meetings were forbidden in those states which have not ratified ERA, as some members advocate, choices would be limited to sites in Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.) From 1968 to 1978 membership has grown from 3,224 to more than 4,200 (30%) and attendance at meetings from 1,500 to 2,029 (1976), an increase of 35% There are now more than 300 members who reside in states outside the official territory. A committee has considered ways of increasing the effective participation of members from junior and Community Colleges. During the same period the number of scheduled meetings increased from forty-four to eighty-two (86%). Of the forty-four meetings in 1968, twenty-five were Section and Discussion Circle meetings; of the eighty-two in 1976, thirty-four were Section and Circle programs, less than half. Allowing for several scheduled general programs and for some committee meetings, it is yet clear that the largest increase has been in associated groups meeting with SAMLA, all of which doubtless have value for the profession. While searching the program to find the Sections he wanted to attend and the papers he wanted to hear, a friend remarked (it might have been Chadwick Rogers): "I like and approve both kinds of greenery, but it looks as though the shrubbery has begun to obscure the lawns." New general programs such as the SAMLA Forums are welcome additions. From the earliest years SAMLA has had eminent scholars as guest speakers, such as Henry Carrington Lancaster in 1931 and Joseph Quincy Adams in 1932. The listed names of all the distinguished guest speakers at SAMLA through the years, especially perhaps in the last decade, would brighten one or two pages.

The Association approved a revised Constitution in 1969. This was called "the first thorough-going revision in the history of SAMLA." The error is understandable, for doubtless the Committee and Officers had never seen the original 1932 Constitution, which was thoroughly revised and expanded in 1950. But the revisions and amendments of 1969 are important. Wise safeguards are provided against possible abuses through hastily presented and hastily considered resolutions. Articles VIII and IX are additions: these meet Internal Revenue Code requirements for SAMLA's non-profit, tax-exempt status as an educational institution. Included is an agreement that SAMLA will be restrained about engaging in propaganda or attempting to influence legislation or political elections. Other changes are designed to make the procedures of the Association as democratic as possible. The revised Constitution of 1977, approved by mail ballot, is more detailed, requiring the Nominating Committee to seek fair representation by considering field, type of institution, geographical distribution, sex, and minority groups. This is an expression of a general intention, as stated by a recent President, that every member shall participate as fully as possible in every phase of Association activities. When there are more than 4,200 members from the large number of institutions in ten states and the District of Columbia, there are some complications in fulfilling these worthy expectations. MLA has the Delegate Assembly, with representatives from the Southeastern states, most of whom are members of SAMLA.

The South Atlantic Bulletin continues to grow in excellence, influence, and distribution. All members receive it, of course; and now over 200 libraries, in this country and abroad. Although it meant a large increase in printing costs, on the recommendation of Editor Frank Duffey the Executive Committee approved in 1970 a new and attractive format. In 1972 the September issue became the Program for the annual meeting, the last of the program formats which we may associate with different periods in our history. This necessitated a change in the months of issue: from January, March, May, November to January, May, September, November. The SAB is now primarily a scholarly journal, although the traditional and valued Abstracts of Papers, Theses, and News and Notes continue to be published. The Editor's report for 1974 (to take a recent year) shows that members of SAMLA from about sixty institutions, some of them not in member states, submitted manuscripts for consideration by members of the Editorial Board and other selected specialist readers. Thirty-six articles were published, articles written by members in thirty different colleges and universities. The articles were in ten fields: American, Comparative, English, French, German, Italian, Linguistics, Slavic, Spanish, Film. Each year the Editor invites readers of papers to submit them for consideration, on the same basis as other manuscripts; a goodly number have been published.

In November, 1977, Frank Duffey resigned as Editor. For twenty-seven years, 1950-1977, he was the able and scrupulous Editor of the South Atlantic Bulletin. Frank Duffey has made a notable contribution to our Association.

Edward W. Bratton resigned as Executive Secretary in 1976. For ten years, with efficiency and imagination, he administered the affairs of SAMLA, increasingly demanding and complex. After a thorough search for and review of suitable candidates, the Executive Committee appointed as Executive Director Donald Kay of The University of Alabama; Donald Kay is ably carrying forward the responsibilities of this office, both as Director and as Editor of the South Atlantic Bulletin for 1978 and 1979. The University of Tennessee made a significant contribution to the successful administration of SAMLA. Now the University of Alabama generously gives essential support. SAMLA is financially sound, but without the assistance of these two universities the reserves would be seriously depleted.

In reviewing the history of SAMLA thoughts of the larger issues keep coining to mind. There is much that changes but much that remains ever the same: trial, achievement and defeat, performance and mediocrity, love and hate, wildness and steadiness, the temporal and everlasting, the light and dark of human experience. The humanities are "about" all these and more; it is our faith that study and knowledge of our literature may bring us to cherish the best in human thought and experience, not the second best or trivial. If we ask what--through education and scholarship--the Association has meant and means in the civilization of our region and country, we can respond with positive affirmations. Yet many in recent years feel some dismay: standing, or wavering, between those on the one hand who have a determined confidence that human beings and society can be made all over new; and those on the other who are in near despair over watered-down, leveled-down liberal education and much talk of meaninglessness and spiritual bankruptcy. But it raises the spirits just to think about the hundreds, we can now say thousands, of SAMLA members who have given and give so much able and devoted thought and service to the varied workings and high purposes of the Association. SAMLA will go on and go far: this fiftieth anniversary is a way station in our history.


Note of Appreciation

Frank Duffey made available to me essential materials and kindly answered a multitude of questions. Francis Hayes (active in SAMLA since 1931) gave me leads to important information and helped compile some of the supplementary materials. Thomas English assisted in every way possible. Others to whom thanks are due: Sterling Stoudemire (active in SAMLA since 1930); W. P. Cumming (a telephone call to him was pleasant and instructive); James R. Gaskin, Chairman of the University of North Carolina English Department, for secretarial and other assistance; Edward Bratton and Donald Kay, who have been considerate and helpful. (Mention should be made of Bratton's good short article in the MLA Newsletter, March, 1973, in which he comments on SAMLA and sketches the history.) And I cordially thank all those who took the time and trouble to respond to my inquiring letters and gave helpful information.



South Atlantic Modern Language Association, a History, 1932

"Members, 1931-1932"

"Early SAMLA History"

The 1932Constitution

Members 1933-1937 Whoare Living in 1978

Sites of Annual Meetings, with Data on Attendance and Members

Admission of States to SAMLA

Secretary-Treasurers 1928-1978

The Bulletin: Editors and Members of the Editorial Board 1935-1978

Notes on the South Atlantic Bulletin


South Atlantic Modern Language Association, a History, 1932

In response to a call addressed to teachers of modern languages and signed by W. S. Barney, Chairman of Committee, delegates assembled at the Henry Grady Hotel in Atlanta, Saturday, December 29, 1928, at nine-thirty in the morning, for the organization of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association. The presiding officer was W. S. Barney. It was decided that the organization should comprise North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, with the provision that other states could be taken in if and when the Association saw fit. Later in the same meeting, however, it voted that the question of affiliation should be tabled until such time as it could be further studied. The delegates next voted that there should be an Executive Committee consisting of the President and Secretary of the Association, together with one Vice President from each state. The first duly elected President was W. S. Barney. Dr. Barney was given the power to name his own Secretary. Apparently, he named T. Scott Holland, for the minutes of this meeting are signed by Professor Holland. The Vice Presidents elected were as follows: R. C. Deal for North Carolina; A. Vermont for South Carolina; C. F. Hamff for Georgia; and E. V. Gage for Florida. The Executive Committee was then empowered to select the time and place of the next meeting. The Committee selected the Friday and Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving Day of the following year, i. e. November 29--0, 1929, at Spartanburg, South Carolina. Lastly, the Executive Committee was instructed to draw up a constitution and such bylaws as were needed to be presented at the next meeting for consideration.

Regarding the meeting at Spartanburg, South Carolina, November 29-30, 1929, the Secretary does not have a scrap of evidence, except that in the minutes for the 1930 meeting there is a new set of officers. These minutes are on a letter head which has on it, apparently, the officers elected at the 1929 meeting: President, F. W. Bradley; Secretary, C. F. Hamff; Vice President for North Carolina, C. C. Rice; South Carolina, Elizabeth Johnson; Georgia, Jno. S. (read: N.) Ware; and Florida, Jose Bueno.

While there are no minutes for the 1929 meeting, the Secretary holds two sets of minutes for the 1930 meeting, held at Davidson College, November 28-29, 1930. In substance, they are nearly identical. This was the first meeting to which the English teachers were invited. A motion was passed to extend invitations to individual teachers in neighboring states to attend the meetings, rather than to invite whole states to join the organization as recommended by the Committee on Expansion. It was also voted that the retiring President of the Association should be an active member of the Executive Committee for the following year. The matter of a publication of the Association was broughtup but no action was taken. Professor Hubbell suggested that the meeting be extended so as to permit more papers and longer programs, with possibly a speaker from the outside. Professor Leavitt supported this suggestion. Professor Vermont suggested that future programs be worked out earlier, at least in outline. All these suggestions were referred to the Executive Committee. The officers elected for the ensuing year were as follows: President, J. N. Ware; Secretary, C. F. Hamff; Vice President for North Carolina; G. C. Taylor; South Carolina, A. Vermont; Georgia, Iola Kay Eastburn; Florida, E. V. Gage. At the request of Dr. Ware, his name was withdrawn, and, in his place, E. J. Erwin was elected President.

The fourth annual meeting convened at Columbia, South Carolina, November 28, 1931. The speaker from the outside, suggested in the previous meeting, was Henry Carrington Lancaster of Johns Hopkins University. At the general business meeting, the matter of taking in other states was again brought up, but no action taken. Professor Vermont suggested the preparation of a brief history of the Association, including the names of former officers and places of meeting, as well as important deliberations. He also recommended that the educational institutions in the states represented assume greater responsibilities toward the Association. Professor Coffman suggested the advisability of a permanent Secretary. The matter of a constitution and by-laws, brought up by Professor Taylor, was referred to the Executive Committee. Professor Coffman's motion to refer to the Executive Committee the matter of working out plans for closer relationships with larger bodies, as well as studying the problem of publishing the proceedings of the annual meeting in P. M. L. A., was carried. The following officers were elected: President N. A. Goodyear; Secretary, Iola Kay Eastburn; Vice President for North Carolina, C. C. Rice; South Carolina, Oscar Keith; Georgia, P. Porohovshikov; Florida, Harold Ballou. The retiring President E. J. Erwin is likewise a member of the Executive Committee. On September 30, 1932, the Secretary Iola Kay Eastburn resigned. In her place, President Goodyear appointed as Acting Secretary John A. Strausbaugh.

There are a number of things that are needed to make our records complete. Our organization is less than four years old, and yet, so far as records go, our second year is a total blank. The program of the first meeting is incorporated into the minutes. The Secretary has copies of the program of the fourth annual meeting. Programs for the second and third annual meetings are missing. The first membership list bears the heading "Paid Members 1930," and is, presumably, the list for 1930-1931, for the fiscal year "begins and ends" on Thanksgiving Day and most of our members pay their dues for the year, that is, the ensuing year, at the annual meeting. We lack lists for 1928-1929 and 1929-1930. How did we come by the name South Atlantic Modern Language Association? The minutes do not tell. Year after year certain questions have been referred to the Executive Committee for study. The minutes for the following year, however, seldom tell what disposition the Executive Committee made of them. These are some of the items on which the Secretary needs information, preferably documentary evidence, if our records are to be anything like complete. Any assistance along this line will be deeply appreciated.

The list of members printed hereinafter is the list for 1931-1932. It includes all those who paid their yearly membership dues before midnight of November 21, 1932. We printed just the names, classified according to states, because the incomplete data on the cards in the index made it impossible to give consistently any additional information. For the next list, it is desirable that each member inform the Secretary just how he or she wants his or her name to appear on the list. In addition, the Secretary needs to know each member's highest degree, rank, subjects taught, department, institution, and home address. With this information, the Secretary can arrange a list comparable in every respect to the one published yearly in the supplement to P. M. L. A.

There are at present 166 members. The distribution by states is as follows: Alabama 1; Florida 5; Georgia 80; North Carolina 42; South Carolina 34; Tennessee 4. The list for 1930-1931 has 48 names on it, distributed thus: Georgia 2; North Carolina 25; and South Carolina 21. Of the latter list, all but 16 of the names on it appear on this year's list. In other words, the present list contains the names of 32 old members and 134 new ones.

John A. Strausbaugh, Acting Secretary

November 23, 1932


Members, 1931-32

The following list of members appeared in the pamphlet prepared by John Strausbaugh, Acting Secretary of the Association, and issued on November 23, 1932. Those members living in November 1978, as far as SAMLA records show, are italicized.



W. L. Sandidge, Jr.



Harold Ballou

E. V. Gage

W. S. Gordis

Thomas J. Higgins

C. G. Reid, Jr.



Lucile Alexander

Julian J. Barfield

E. L. Barlow

Lucie Billant

Willis H. Bowen

Ann Eliza Brewer

Gertrude R. Brigham

Mrs. Fred Brinson

I. W. Brock

Christine Broome

Gordon Brown

Anne W. Brumby

Gen. C. Burrage

Claude Chance

Melissa A. Cilley

Ethel Cockrell

E. G. Cordle

Winifred G. Crowell

Marcia L. Culver

M. H. Davis

H. O. Draper

Iola Kay Eastburn

Clarita Edye

Thomas H. English

Kenneth B. Ferguson

B. H. Flanders

Elizabeth Floding

Juanita H. Floyd

Margaret Fortson

Nolan A. Goodyear

Lamar Greene

Madeleine Groleau

Miss Marion Hall

C. F. Hamff

Charles R. Hart

Martha L. Hatsher

Lili Heimers

T. Scott Holland

Mrs. J. B. Huckabee

Hal Hulsey

Fred L. Jones

Emma May Laney

Rosabel Lanier

Caroline Larendon

Charles Loridans

D. F. McDowell, Jr.

Mildred McFall

S. L. McGee

Alberta Malone

Edwin T. Martin

A. J. Matthews

Mrs. Marion Merritt

H. P. Miller

Ruth Pearson

William Gilmer Perry

Margaret Phythian

Mathilde Poirier

P. Porohovshikov

W. C. Salley

Mrs. Helen H. Salls

Martha L. Slaton

Garland G. Smith

Mrs. Harriet E. Southwell

Sallie Stakely

J. M. Steadman, Jr.

J. G. Stipe

Mary Strahan

John A. Strausbaugh

RobertM. Strozier

W. A. Strozier

A. E. Terry

J. Ralph Thaxton

Lillian Dale Thomas

Emile Vuylsteker

Paul D. West

Carlton Whitehead

Mrs. Thos. H. Whitehead

Iris L. Whitman

Jane Esther Wolf

William T. Wynn


North Carolina

Raymond W. Adams

W. S. Barney

F. L. Blythe

Ettie Brown

Susie P. Brown

W. A. Bryan

Robert T. Clark, Jr.

George R. Coffman

W. P. Cumming

E. J. Erwin

Mrs. C. W. Ewing

Fred K. Fleagle

Hugo Giduz

Allen H. Gilbert

A. V. Goldiere

A. C. Hall

Julia H. Harris

Annie P. H. Fearington

C. K. Holsapple

Connie Horne

L. B. Hurley

Raymond Jenkins

C. A. Krummel

Jessie C. Laird

Sturgis E. Leavitt

W. D. MacMillan

J. Roddy Miller

Howard R. Omwake

G. L. Paine

Richard C. Pettigrew

G. B. Randall

C. C. Rice

Stewart Robertson

Adeline Rowe

E. L. Setzler

L. A. Shears

Edwin F. Shewmake

S. A. Stoudemire

Geo. C. Taylor

Clement Vollmer

Guy R. Vowles

Geo. B. Watts


South Carolina

Lillian Baker

Robert D. Bass


Sue E. Boyette

Allie Ward Billingsley

Anna Rena Blake

F. W. Bradley

J. Thompson Brown

Helen K. Bussell

Jas. A. Chiles

Aileen Coggins

W. S. Currell

Henry C. Davis

C. A. Graesar

Jno. W. Harris

Francis C. Hayes

Hampton M. Jarrell

Elizabeth F. Johnson

O. L. Keith

E. B. Kennedy

James Kerr

Emmett Kilpatrick

F. M. Kinard

Edgar Long

J. W. McCain, Jr.

Robina Mickle

Weldon T. Myers

Mrs. Elizabeth K. Ouzts

L. S. Poston

Gwendolen Willits Reed

0. P. Rhyne

E. B. Setzler

Rupert Taylor

Adolphe Vermont



Edwin S. Lindsey

Ellene Ransom

Linda Rhea

Terrell Louise Tatum




Early SAMLA History

The following account is reprinted from the March 1951 South Atlantic Bulletin, page three.

It seems fitting to add to the already published reports of SAMLA'S founding and early meetings as information becomes available. The following report is supplementary for the second annual meeting, but it contains all the available data for the third, which was not mentioned in the first history of SAMLA. We are indebted to W. S. Barney and G. B. Watts for their help.

The second annual meeting, and thus the first meeting after the organizational meeting in Atlanta, was held November 29 and 30, 1929, at Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Group meetings were held at three o'clock on Friday. C. F. Hamff of Emory University presided over the German Section, Adolphe Vermont of Converse College over the French Section, and D. Córdova of Asheville Normal School over the Spanish Section.

The officers of the Association were: W. S. Barney, North Carolina College for Women, President; T. Scott Holland, University of Georgia, Secretary; Adolphe Vermont, Converse College, C. F. Hamff, Emory University, R. C. Deal, East Carolina Teacher's College, and E. V. Gage, Florida College for Women, Executive Committee and Vice-Presidents.

The Alliance Française entertained at a reception thirty-seven members of the Association from schools and colleges in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and Molière's Les femmes savantes was well presented by advanced French students of Converse College.

The third annual meeting of SAMLA convened on November 28 and 29, 1930, at Davidson College. Section meetings for English, German, French, and Spanish were held on Friday from four to six, after which a complimentary dinner was given the members of the Association by the College. An entertaining program of songs and a Spanish play in translation were presented Friday evening.

A business session was held Saturday morning at nine.

Sam M. Shiver,

Ex-Secretary -Treasurer.


Constitution of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Adopted November 26, 1932

I. Name

The name of the Association shall be: The South Atlantic Modern Language Association.


II. Purpose

The purpose of this Association shall be the advancement of scholarship, teaching, and research in the modern languages and literatures in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and such other states as may hereafter be included in the territory of the Association.


III. Membership

1. Any persons in the said states interested in the purposes of the Association may be admitted to membership by the payment of one dollar and may be continued as members by the payment of the same amount each year.

2. Interested persons of other states, approved by the Secretary-Treasurer, may be admitted on the same terms.


IV. Officers

1. The Executive Officers of the Association shall be: a President, and a Secretary-Treasurer.

2. Their duties shall be those usually connected with their respective offices.

3. They shall be elected for one year at the regular annual meeting.


V. Executive Committee

1. The administration of the Association shall be in the hands of an Executive Committee composed of the Executive Officers, the retiring President, and four members elected by the Association.

2. The four members of the Executive Committee elected by the Association shall serve for two years, two new members to be elected each year.

3. The Executive Committee shall administer the affairs of the Association and take such action necessary to carry out the purposes and promote the interests of the Association, including possible publications.

4. It shall make a report of its activities at each annual meeting, and its policies and actions shall be subject to the direction and approval of the Association.

5. A majority shall constitute a quorum of the Executive Committee.


VI. Meetings

The Association shall hold an annual meeting at such place and time as the Executive Committee shall determine.


VII. Programs

1. The President and the Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for the general programs at the annual meeting.

2. The programs of each of the Departmental Groups--English, French, Spanish, German, and any other groups that may be formed-shall be arranged by its Chairman, who shall be elected by the group at the annual meeting. The Departmental Chairman shall submit his program to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Association at least one month before the annual meeting.


VIII. Amendments

Amendments to this Constitution must be approved by a majority of the Executive Committee and ratified by a majority vote at an annual meeting of the Association.


Members of SAMLA 1933-1937 Who Are Living in the Fiftieth Anniversary Year

It has seemed appropriate to record for the fiftieth anniversary as many as possible of the names of members of SAMLA in the first ten years, 1928-1937, who are living. The names here listed supplement those names marked on the 1932 membership list and others already mentioned who participated in 1928-1932. The following names, almost all of them, are on the membership list of 1937. If it is known that a member participated before 1937 or is on the membership lists of 1934/1935, the earlier date has been added in parentheses. The information is doubtless incomplete; more information would be welcome.

Adams, George C. S.

(Mrs. Antony Antonakas)

Russell, I. Willis

Anderson, Charles R.

Hardre, Jacques

Sanders, Charles R.

Andrews, Nita

Harrison, James G.

Sharpe, Robert E. (1933)

Archie, William C.

Hart, Charles R. (1934)

Shiver, Sam M.

Bailey, James 0. (1934)

Hayes, George

Shockley, Martin S.

Boggs, Ralph S. (1934)

Herbert, Walter T.

Stephan, Rene M.

Bond, Richmond (1934)

Hodge, A. S.

Stroup, Thomas B. (1933)

Brock, I. W. (1934)

Howell, A. C. (1933)

Strozier, W. A. (1934)

Brown, D. A.

Jackson, David K. (1934)

Sweeney, Mrs. Grace C.

Brown, Wendell H.

Jordon, B. R. (1933)

Tate, William (1934)

Calvert, W. J., Jr.

Kohler, Charlotte

Thompson, John A.

Cardwell, Guy A.

Lundeberg, 0. K. (1934)

Thompson, Lawrence

Clark, J. D. (1934)

Lyons, Clifford P. (1936)

Tilford, J. E.,Jr.

Conner, Frederick W. (1935)

Mason, A. H.

Treanor, Sapello

Cummings, P. H.

McDavid, R. I., Jr.

Turner, E. D.

Delano, Lucile K. (1935)

McMillan, James B.

Walker, A. J.

Eidson, John 0.

Milligan, Burton

Weaver, William R. (1935)

Eliason, Norman E.

Morris, Alton C. (1934)

Wells, William

Engstrom, A. G.

Mounts, Charles E. (1935)

Whichard, R. D.

Friederich, Werner P.

Neblett, Lucy Ann

Whitted, Joseph W. (1935)

Gohdes, Clarence (1934)

Owre, J. Riis (1935)

Wiley, William Leon (1933)

Gilmer, Gertrude

Parcell, Harold Dawes

Wise, J. Hooper

Govan, Gilbert E.

Patterson, Charles T.

Woodard, C. M. (1935)

Hall, Alonzo

Phaxton, James R.

Woods, William T.

Hall, Lillie (1935)



Sites of Annual Meetings, With Data on Attendance and Members

If section meetings were scheduled on campuses, the names of host institutions are added in parentheses; otherwise the meetings were in hotels. Attendance figures are given for each meeting, if known. The number of SAMLA members, if known, is in parentheses. The numbers are often approximate, for figures reported may be inexact or even contradictory. For some of the years it was necessary to count membership lists. In 1928 the organization meeting was on December 29. Until 1958 meetings were on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. In 1958 and subsequent years annual meetings were scheduled in the first, sometimes in the second, week of November.

1. 1928 Atlanta, Georgia
2. 1929 Spartanburg, SC (Converse College)
3. 1930 Davidson, NC (Davidson College)
4. 1931 Columbia (U of South Carolina)(48)
5. 1932 Atlanta (166)
6. 1933 Durham, NC (Duke U)
7. 1934 Charleston, SC (College of Charleston)(195)
8. 1935 Athens (U of Georgia)175(220)
9. 1936 Richmond, VA. Joint meeting with MLA(331)
10. 1937 Rock Hill, SC (Winthrop College)193(359)
11. 1938 Gainesville (U of Florida)210(415)
12. 1939 Birmingham, Ala. (Birmingham-Southern C)210(486)
13. 1940 Chapel Hill (U of North Carolina)355(468)
14. 1941 Atlanta (Agnes Scott C and Emory U)
There were no meetings 1942, 1943, 1944.)270(578)
15. 1945 Columbia(U of South Carolina) 225 (313)
16. 1946 Birmingham (U of Alabama, Tuscaloosa) 250 (496)
17. 1947 Chattanooga, Tenn. (U of Chattanooga) 350 (542)
18. 1948 Tallahassee (Florida State U) 254 (587)
19. 1949 Charlotte, NC (Davidson C and Queens C) 348 (597)
20. 1950 Knoxville (U of Tennessee) 240 (690)
21. 1951 Atlanta (Agnes Scott, Emory, Ga. Inst. Tech.) 306 (781)
22. 1952 Miami (U of Miami) 230 (941)
23. 1953 Chattanooga 337 (967)
24. 1954 Columbia (U of South Carolina) 337 (1,024)
25. 1955 Daytona Beach, Fla. 400 (1,127)
26. 1956 Atlanta (Emory U) 423 (1,080)
27. 1957 Chattanooga ? (1,006)
28. 1958 Augusta, Ga. ? (936)
29. 1959 Atlanta 573 (969)
30. 1960 Charleston 641 (1,276)
31. 1961 Atlanta 776 (1,306)
32. 1962 Miami Beach 388 (1,399)
33. 1963 Atlanta 1,000
34. 1964 Greenville, SC 1,080 (1,590)
35. 1965 Atlanta 1,200 (2,000)
36. 1966 Charlotte 1,355 (2,350)
37. 1967 Atlanta 1,200 (2,000)
38. 1968 Jacksonville, Fla. 1,500 (3,234)
39. 1969 Atlanta 1,935 (3,430)
40. 1970 Washington, D. C. 1,625 (3,689)
41. 1971 Atlanta 1,935 (3,430)
42. 1972 Jacksonville 1,732 (3,560)
43. 1973 Atlanta 2,317 (3,652)
44. 1974 Washington 1,793 (4,216)
45. 1975 Atlanta 2,124 (4,183)
46. 1976 Atlanta 2,029 (4,189)
47. 1977 Washington 1,599 (4,200)
48. 1978 Atlanta


Admission of States to SAMLA

The original four states:: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida. The dates of admission of other states and the District of Columbia: Alabama, 1932; Tennessee, 1945; Kentucky, 1949; Virginia, 1950; West Virginia, 1961; Maryland, 1963; District of Columbia, 1968.


Secretary-Treasurers 1928-1978

T. Scott Holland, 1928-1929; C. F. Hamff, 1929-1931; Iola K. Eastburn, 1931 to September 30, 1932; John A. Strausbaugh, 1932 to June 1943. (Acting September 30 to annual meeting 1932); I. W. Brock, June, 1943-1949. (Acting June to annual meeting 1943); Sam Shiver, 1949-1950 (Asst. Sec., 1948-1949); Quentin 0. McAllister, 1950-1959; Ransom T. Taylor, 1959-1962; Richard K. Seymore, 1962-1967; Edward W. Bratton, Executive Secretary, 1967-1976; Donald Kay, Executive Director, 1976-


South Atlantic Bulletin, 1935-1978: Editors and Members of the Editorial Board

All Presidents have been Associate Editors for two years: as Presidents and Retiring Presidents. Secretary-Treasurers have been, ex officio, Associate Editors. Listed here are appointed Associate and Assistant Editors. Some ex-officio Associate Editors have been appointed to extended terms; they are listed. The twenty-four members of the Editorial Board in 1978 are published in the SAB.



Sturgis E. Leavitt, 1935-1950

Frank M. Duffey, 1950-1977

Donald Kay, 1978


Associate Editors

Bryant, Shasta M., Wake Forest College, 1971-77

Cargo, Robert T., University of Alabama, 1976-77

Chapple, Richard L., Florida State University, 1976-77

Dawson, John C., University of Alabama, 1936-37 (President, 1934-35)

De Sua, William J., University of North Carolina, 1970-72

English, Thomas H., Emory University, 1935-50

Hayes, Francis C., University of Florida, 1946-71

Hernandez, Gustavo R., University of Georgia, 1973-

Holmes, Urban T., University of North Carolina, 1940-46

Hoole, W. Stanley, University of Alabama, 1948-52

Keenan, Hugh T., Georgia State University, 1977-

Lyons, Clifford P., University of North Carolina, 1938-50

Marshall, George O., Jr., University of Georgia, 1961-70

McAllister, Quentin 0., Meredith College, 1951-67

Mitchell, Jerome, University of Georgia, 1971-76

Moran, Ronald W., University of North Carolina, 1975-77

Pafford, Ward, Emory University, 1950-51

Pearson, Justus R., Jr., Emory University, 1957-60

Shannon, George P., University of Alabama, 1946-47

Shiver, Sam M., Emory University, 1950-73

Smith, Sidney Rufus, University of North Carolina, 1974-77

Stephens, John C., Jr., Emory University, 1952-56

Thompson, Lawrence S., University of Kentucky, 1953-72

Welsh, John R., University of South Carolina, 1969-74

Wheeler, Thomas, University of Tennessee, 1973-77

Wicks, C. Beaumont, University of Alabama, 1951-75


Assistant Editors

Horner,George F., University of North Carolina, 1941-50

Roberts, Charles W., Davidson College, 1951-53

Russell, Harry K., University of North Carolina, 1937-41

Steadman, John M., University of North Carolina, 1951-52


Notes on the South Atlantic Bulletin

Volumes, Issues, and Calendar Years

Until 1963 volume and issue numbers and dates do not correspond with the calendar year. In the first year, 1935, there are three issues: May, October, December. In 1936 the months of issue are February, April, October, and December. Until 1947 the volumes and months of issue in relation to the calendar year are as follows:







Vol. I No. 4

Vol. II No. I

No. 2

No. 3


No. 4

Vol. III No. I

No. 2

No. 3


In order to allow the Editor more time to prepare the reports of the annual meeting, the December issue of 1947 is deferred until January 1948. There are thus only three issues in 1947. There are also other adjustments in the months of publication. From 1948 until 1963 the publication plan is as follows:







Vol. XIII No. 3

No. 4

Vol. XIV No. I

No. 2


No. 3

No. 4

Vol. XV No. I

No. 2


In 1963 the volume and issue numbers are in correspondence with the calendar year. There were transitional irregularities in 1962: the three issues of January, March, and November are numbered 3, 4, 5. The following plan is followed until 1972:








No. I

No. 2

No. 3

No. 4


In 1972 the months of issue become January, May, September, November, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 of Volume XXXVII. The September issue is now the Program of the Annual Meeting.


Bulletin Supplements

The first was "Thesis Supplement," published in April, 1938: "Theses in English and Modem Foreign Languages Accepted in the Colleges of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama." Herman E. Spivey wrote four Supplements: "Southern Literary Culture," An Annotated Bibliography for each of the years, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948. Supplements containing "Lists of Members" and "Publications by Members of SAMLA" were published 1946-1961, 1964. Those for 1946 and 1964 are Lists of Members only. That for 1960 has only "Publications by Members of SAMLA."



Beginning with the Index to the SAB for the years 1935-1940 there are Indexes for each five-year period through 1965. The last Index which has been published is for four years 1966-1969. Indexes were distributed to libraries and made available to members on request.


Women's Caucus of the Modern Languages, SAMLA

SAMLA's 50th Anniversary is only the 9th of the Women's Caucus of the Modern Languages, but in those nine years the Caucus has grown from some two dozen in the National WCML to several hundred in SAMLA alone. In 1969 at Denver the need was felt for an organization to implement the recommendations of MLA's Commission on the Status of Women, and when the founding members of the SAMLA Caucus first sat at a rickety table with a vacancy notice beginning "Men only need apply" in 1970, it was unclear if any women would want or dare to join the little group. There were indeed a few women who said no, that they were already successful; others said no, they could not endanger their temporary, part-time assistant instructorships. Most said yes, either because they had job security and wanted to help other women, or because they had nothing to lose. The petition for a meeting time in 1971 had many more than enough names, and the group began to meet informally. At that 1971 meeting, 134 papers were read, and 16 were read by women. The Discussion Circle was approved for 1972, and space was allotted as well for two workshops, one on legal problems of academic women, one on teaching women in community colleges. These three slots were the most ever allowed a new group. And they were attended, standing room only, overflowing into hotel bedrooms for special meetings. To one of the latter came Eleanor N. Hutchens, bringing not only wisdom and advice, but the feeling that our voices no longer cried only in the wilderness. The petition to continue was approved readily, as again for 1973 and 1974, with the workshops growing alongside. By 1975, the International Women's Year, the Women's Studies Section had the largest signed attendance at SAMLA. Germaine Brée's presence on our program unquestionably contributed to the packed house. The workshops also flourished, and a tally run on Caucus women previously appearing on our programs revealed two published in the South Atlantic Bulletin, two elsewhere, and many reading papers in other sections or at other conferences. Also in 1975 the Women's Studies group came of age as a Section, thereby achieving WCML's first goal. In 1976 the Caucus Constitution and By-laws were finally approved, and the Women in German sub-division of the Women's Caucus Workshop I appeared. In 1977 the Program Committee had to draw the line: more time simply could not be given to women's studies in an already crowded program. A compromise was reached, and brief panels then divided into special interest sub-groups. The topics for 1978 include feminist criticism in the Section and an interdisciplinary approach to the woman artist in one Workshop, the woman administrator in the other. The Caucus' on-going commitment will be to continue to encourage women in modem languages to keep knocking at those doors previously labeled "For men only." (EM)


South Atlantic Bulletin 43.4 (November 1978): 141-70.