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The American Association of Immunologists, Inc. (AAI) was formally chartered on June
19, 1913 in Minneapolis, Minnesota while the founders, Dr. Gerald Webb, Dr. A. Parker
Hitchens and Dr. Martin Synnott were attending a meeting of The American Medical Association.
Three principal objectives were set forth by the 52 enrolled charter members which
were to unite the physicians of the United States and Canada who are engaged in the
scientific study of immunity and bacterial therapy; to study problems of immunology
and to promote by its concerted efforts a scientific research in this department;
and to spread a correct knowledge of vaccine therapy and immunology among general
practitioners. The Council established a liberal policy of admitting individuals with
a doctorate and several years of teaching and/or research in immunology including
publications. In 1972 the criterion for membership was modified and additional publishing
requirements were imposed in order to create a more exclusionary Society.
In February of 1916 in Baltimore Maryland the Association began publication of its
journal, The Journal of Immunology. The following year Association’s constitution
and bylaws were adopted on April 6, 1917. There have been two major revisions in the
Constitution since that time one in 1950 and the other in 1986. The alterations approved
in 1950 expanded the classes of membership to include Honorary and Emeritus members
and modified both election procedures and council membership requirements. The 1986
Constitutional revisions expanded the Council, called for the election of the nominating
committee, gave formal recognition to Corporate Members, changed the entitlements
of Emeritus and Honorary Members, replaced the Editorial Board with a Publications
Committee and changed the management of the Journal and the Editor in Chief.
AAI’s Council has the duty of general supervision of the affairs of AAI between annual
business meetings. The voting members of the Council include the President, Vice-President,
Secretary-Treasurer, and four Councillors. Chairs of the committees may also be asked
to attend Council meetings as non-voting members. They meet prior to the annual business
meeting and at other times deemed necessary by the President and three voting members
of the Council.
In the early years and until 1939 AAI scheduled its annual business meetings to coincide
with the meetings of the American Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists.
However at the 1938 meeting of the Council and membership at large, a decision was
reached to convene joint sessions with the Federation of the American Societies of
Experimental Biologists. In 1942 AAI was formally invited to join the Federation
as a Corporate Member Society. From that time and at least until 1991 the annual business
meetings have been held in conjunction with FASEB.
For the first fifty years, the Association had no fixed location for executive activity.
During that time the AAI headquarters was either in the residence or the professional
offices of the Secretary/Treasurer. In 1965 a permanent headquarters was established
for the administration and management of Association affairs at Beaumont House in
FASEB headquarters. In 1980 the Council initiated moving the editorial office of
The Journal of Immunology to the AAI Central Office at FASEB. At this time AAI began
a search for an Executive Officer who would also serve as the Managing Editor for
the Journal. Three years later President Barry Bloom appointed Dr. Joseph Saunders
the first professional executive officer of the Association.
In 1968, the Council approved the appointment of a historian to assume responsibility
of collecting letters and photographs of past AAI Presidents and people of historic
significance to the Association. Past President Merrill Chase was selected as the
first historian and began collecting as much primary source data as possible about
the previous AAI Presidents. Dr. Joseph Saunders assumed the role of archivist as
one of his duties as Executive Director in 1983 and collected more data.
Currently AAI is the largest professional association of immunologists in the world.
It is still affiliated with FASEB and continues to have its headquarters located with
Organized into eight series: Series I. Council, 1941-1992. Series II. Meetings, 1954-1993.
Series III. Committees, 1966-1992. Series IV. Financial, 1921-1991. Series V. Historian,
1913-1988. Series VI. Publications, 1933-1995. Series VII. Affiliated Societies, 1967-1991.
Series VIII. Video and Audio Materials, 1970-1991.
Series I. Council
Series II. Meetings
Series III. Committees
Series IV. Financial
Series V. Historian
Series VI. Publications
Series VII. Affiliated Societies
Series VIII. Video and Audio Materials
The collection of records of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) primarily
documents its activity between 1967 and 1992. While there are records back as far
as 1941 they are very sporadic and consist mostly of correspondence. There are no
documents concerning the Association’s founding and years up to the late 1940s, although
there are articles included that relate the Associations history. The records are
arranged in eight series: Council, Meetings, Committees, Financial, Historian, Publications,
Affiliated Societies and Video and Audio Tapes.
The Council Series contains the records of Association Officers, Councillors, and
the Executive Director. The Officer and Councillor files consist almost entirely of
correspondence from the 1950s and 1960s though reports and meeting minutes are sometimes
interspersed with the correspondence. The Executive Director files are those of Dr.
Joe Saunders who was the first Executive Director of the Association and was appointed
in 1986. His files include some materials of the Administrative Assistant dating from
1967 to 1971. The series Meetings contains files from the Annual/Business meetings,
Council meetings, Executive Committee meetings and International Congress of Immunology
meetings. The Annual/Business meeting subseries contains files for meetings from 1954
to 1992 with the exception of 1955. The Council meeting files begin in 1946 and are
sporadic until 1965; from that point there is some material from each year until 1992.
The index for Executive Committee reports and the accompanying reports were gleaned
from meeting minutes and compiled in an easy to look up format. The system was devised
by Executive Director Dr. Joe Saunders and is a good source to see what the various
committees were involved in from 1973 to 1985. International Congress of Immunology
files consist of correspondence pertaining to travel grants and arrangements with
little information directly related to the meetings themselves.
Committee files are arranged in alpha order. The Education Committee files are the
most numerous. There is more information on committees in the Meeting Series.
Financial records are extremely limited and in no way complete. There are two Association
ledgers that cover the years from 1946 to 1970. The Membership Dues Ledger records
membership records dating from 1921 provides a comprehensive member list. Also included
are a small number of bank deposit and investment records, statements and a budget.
The Historian Series contains the files of the Associations first historian Merrill
Chase. He was appointed in 1965 and began compiling histories and photographs of all
AAI Presidents. Executive Director Dr. Joe Saunders added to Dr. Chase’s work. The
files are in alpha order and include information and photographs of people other than
The Publication Series contains AAI publications such as newsletters from 1971 to
1991, meeting programs from from1960 to 1987. Although the Association published the
Journal of Immunology since 1916, there are only volumes included from 1988 and 1989.
The bulk of the material was not published by AAI but was included in the accession.
It includes scientific articles, brochures, meeting programs and books. They are listed
in alpha order.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the International
Congress of Immunology, the International Union of Immunological Societies and the
New York Academy of Science Conference are included in the Affiliated Societies Series.
The majority of the files are from AAI’s close relationship with FASEB and date from
1961 to 1990. There are FASEB yearly membership directories from 1965 to 1979. The
files are in alpha order followed by date order.
Audio cassette tapes are available for some Annual and Council meeting from 1986 to
1991. The video cassettes contain interviews and lectures.
MSS 1996-03; The records in this collection were donated in a single gift on March
29, 1996. The donation was approved by Dr. Michelle Hogan and the materials transferred
from the Society’s offices in Bethesda, MD.
This collection was processed by Sharon Knecht under the supervision of Maria Frank
Peri and completed in November 2001.
The majority of the records were found to be in relatively good order since the bulk
of them were the files of Executive Director Dr. Joe Saunders. There were very few
financial or membership records included in the acquisition. Committee files containing
reports were occasionally filed separately but the more often were found interspersed
with meeting files. The remaining records have been organized by type of activity
based on the order in which they were received.
Multiple copies have been disposed of whenever there were more than two copies of
a given document.
No materials were found for the early years of the Association (1913 –1960s) with
the exception of a few pieces of correspondence of past Presidents. These documents
had been gathered first by the Association Historian, Merrill Chase and later by the
Executive Director, Joe Saunders. Correspondence and Minutes indicate that there was
a discussion about sending the association archives to the University of Wisconsin,
but it is not clear if that was ever done.
In the course of reviewing container lists in March 2016, Series V. Historian was
modified. Several folders which were not previously contained in a subseries were
assigned to Subseries V.A. Historian Records. The preexisting subseries, V.A. Personal
Histories, and V.B. Photographs, were renamed as subseries V.B and V.C respectively.
Describing Archives: a Content Standard (DACS)
Archives Processing Manual: Description (2015): The processing manual used in Special Collections for all descriptive platforms, including
Finding aid available.
Finding Aid: http://library.umbc.edu/speccoll/findingaids/coll012.php
Reproduction allowed for research purposes. Copyright maintained by creator.
American Association of Immunologists
American Association of Immunologists -- Archives
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology -- Archives
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Immunology -- Societies, etc.
Date: 1941-1992; 1986-1992 bulk
Extent: 3 boxes (4 linear feet)
The Council Series consists of four sub-series which made up the organization’s
Council. They are the Councilors, Executive Director, President and Secretary/Treasurer.
The general correspondence of each sub-series is in date order followed by subject
correspondence in alpha order.
Extent: .25 linear feet
All the files contain correspondence of a miscellaneous nature.
Date: 1967–1992; 1986 –1992 bulk
Extent: 1.75 linear feet
The materials are primarily the files of Executive Director Dr. Joseph Saunders.
He was the first professional Executive Director and was appointed in 1986. Many files
contain a combination of correspondence and reports. They have been kept in the same
arrangement as Saunders had them as much as possible. The files are listed in subject
alpha order and then in date order. General Correspondence files are in date order
and files preceding the subject correspondence files.
Extent: .5 linear feet
The President sub-series contains all correspondence files. Occasionally reports
are included within the files or are referenced in the correspondence. The correspondence
is listed in date order with the President’s name. The correspondence was not all
necessarily created while the person was in office.
The sub-series contains primarily correspondence, but there are reports, financial
statements and information on meetings in some files. They are listed in date order.
Extent: 4.5 linear feet
The Series II folders contain a variety of information on the annual and council
meetings. Varying records are in the files including minutes, reports and correspondence.
It is arranged in date order by year and then in alpha order if additional files were
found for that year. The most information is available from 1986 to 1993.
Extent: .75 linear feet
The annual business meeting was held in conjunction with the FASEB meeting. The
files are arranged in date order and contain a variety of different items varying
from year to year. Correspondence, reports, minutes and personal observances are available
for many years. There is not a complete run of years.
Extent: 2.33 linear feet
The files are arranged in date order followed by committee report index and the
corresponding files. Correspondence, reports and minutes are variously included for
different years. Two council meetings a year were held beginning in 1986. The Council
meeting files from 1986 to1993 were those compiled by the Executive Director.
Extent: .3 linear feet
The sub-series is an arrangement of committee reports taken from the council meetings
from 1973 – 1986. The index listed what reports are included with a corresponding
Date: 1990, 1992
Extent: .1 linear feet
This sub-series contains grant application, travel grant awards and correspondence
regarding the Congresses.
Extent: .75 linear feet
The Committee files contain mostly correspondence and reports. The files are arranged
in alpha order followed by date order. The Education Committee files also have curriculum
description of courses.
Extent: 1.25 linear feet
There was a very limited amount of financial information in the collection. Membership
dues ledgers and journals contained information regarding membership from 1946 – 1970.
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
The series contains records compiled by Merrill Chase and Joe Saunders beginning
in 1969. It has information files for most AAI Presidents as well as their photograph.
The files contain correspondence, member lists, financial records, and other administrative
The files contain information submitted to Merrill Chase during his project to
document personal history files for all AAI Presidents. Dr. Joe Saunders acting as
Executive Director and archivist expanded the histories. Files may contain correspondence,
articles written or reports retained by the individual. The personal histories are
listed in alpha order.
Group photographs are filed first followed by individual photographs in alpha order.
Digital image available
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
This series contains a mix of publications from AAI, FASEB, and other scientific
organizations as well as individual authors. Included are journals, newsletters, meeting
programs, articles and full length books. There are two folders of correspondence
regarding AAI publications. They are listed in alpha order.
This series consists mostly of materials from the umbrella organization Federation
of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) which AAI was a member. It
is arranged in alpha order followed by date order. Most materials are from the 1980s.
Extent: .4 linear feet
The series consists mostly of audio cassette tapes of annual and council meetings
from 1986 – 1991.
American Association of Immunologists. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.aai.org/.