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Today, within the scientific community, there is a general recognition of the balance
and interdependence that exists between the theoretical and the applied sciences.
This was not the case in the 1940’s when a growing group of industrial microbiologists
began to feel that the practical and industrial aspects of bacteriology were being
neglected by the established societies and that there was a need for a forum in which
they could present their views and papers.
In the late Summer and early Fall of 1949 Dr. Walter Ezekiel began mailing letters
to prospective members concerning the possible formation of a new organization which
would support the work of industrial and applied microbiology. The new scientific
body he proposed was a Society for Industrial Microbiology. Dr. Ezekiel mentioned
his plan to Dr. Raymond L. Taylor, then associate administrative secretary of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in charge of meetings and
programs during a phone conversation in late October. This resulted in the scheduling
of an organizational meeting to be held during the upcoming AAAS meetings in New York.
At that time, it was decided that a new society, the Society for Industrial Microbiology
(SIM) be established as a national scientific organization covering “the field of
microbiologic work as applied to industrial materials and processes”.
The first organizational meeting was held in the ballroom of the Hotel McAlpin in
New York City on December 29, 1949 with some 300 people in attendance. This new society
was to be associated with then newly formed American Institute of Biological Sciences.
At that time, Dr. Charles Thom was elected Acting Chairman and C.L. Porter was elected
Acting Secretary and Dr. Thom appointed an organizational committee that met several
times during the first year to prepare a program for the first annual meeting and
to write a constitution.
The first annual meeting was held in conjunction with the American Institute of Biological
Sciences (AIBS) on September 11 – 13 1950 at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Thereafter
the newly formed society held all its meetings in conjunction with the AIBS meetings.
It was not until 1967 that they began to hold independent annual meetings. The first
of these was held at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario Canada.
In 1960 the Society for Industrial Microbiology was incorporated in the District of
From the original 300 members SIM membership grew to about 550 in 1959. In that year
the SIM began offering corporate membership in the society. By 1975 the society had
grown to the point where it had approximately 1000 members including some 46 corporate
members. Due to the significant growth in the society a position of Business Secretary
was established in 1973 to assist the society in managing its expanding activities.
In addition, Local Sections were being established in different parts of the country.
At present, SIM still has well under 2,000 members. This is no accident. At the outset
the society wanted to foster a climate where the rank and file would know each other
on a first name basis. In fact, C. L. Porter stated in a presidential address that
“a membership of more than 1,200 – 1,500 should be discouraged for then we like other
groups mentioned, would lose the personal contact which was one of the principal attractions.”
Over the years, SIM has made use of publications to give recognition for research
in the practical aspects of microbiology and to announce scientific findings. As early
as 1951, SIM put out its first publication, the SIM News Letter (changed to SIM News
in November 1972) followed by the publication of its first journal Applied Microbiology
in 1953. This served as the official publication of SIM until 1960 when the second
journal to be published by the society, Developments in Industrial Microbiology, became
the official publication of SIM. In 1963, SIM began publishing their Special Publications
series that would later included proceedings or lectures of the Summer Institute.
In 1986, the Journal of Industrial Microbiology (now the Journal of Industrial Microbiology
& Biotechnology) was launched to be a companion to the earlier Developments in Industrial
Microbiology. By 1964 SIM began to turn its attention to the problem of education.
It was decided that SIM should begin a series of summer courses designed to focus
on specific areas of interest as well as “practical methods” and that these courses
should promote the enrollment of technician level employees of firms conducting microbiological
work. The courses were to be open to all college graduates and that SIM membership
would not be required. In 1965 the first of the Summer Institute courses, an Introduction
to Genetics, was held at the University of Minnesota.
In addition, over the years SIM has established numerous awards. The first award,
the Certificate of Merit (now the C.L. Porter Award for Distinguished Service) was
created in 1963 to recognize individual members for unselfish and outstanding service
to the society. A second award the SIM High School Science Award was established in
1964. In 1966 the Charles H. Thom Award, the highest award in the society was instituted
to award individuals who have made outstanding contributions to research in industrial
microbiology. The first recipient of this award was Kenneth B. Raper in August of
1967. Since those early years several more awards have been created to recognize the
outstanding work in the field. The Waksman Outstanding Teaching Award was established
in 1989 and in 1992 the Schering-Plough Research Institute Young Investigator Award
intended to give recognition and support young researchers was instituted.
In 2011, the organization changed its name to the Society for Industrial Microbiology
and Biotechnology (SIMB). The National Office currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia.
Organized in six series: Series I. Board of Directors, 1949-2000. Series II. Business
Secretary, 1949-1999. Series III. Committees, 1952-1996. Series IV. Meetings, 1949-2001.
Series V. Publications, 1951-2000. Series VI. Affiliated Organizations and Ephemera,
Series I. Board of Directors
Series II. Business Secretary
Series III. Committees
Series IV. Meetings
Series V. Publications
Series VI. Affiliated Organizations and Ephemera
This collection of records of the Society for Industrial Microbiology covers the years
1949 – 2001 and includes correspondence, memoranda, minutes, financial reports, audits
and budgets, constitutions and by-laws, incorporation documents, ledgers, membership
lists and directories, brochures, photographs, publications and other records of activities.
Documents are arranged into series based on the administrative organization set forth
in the society’s policy manual.
Series one, Board of Directors contains the records generated by the President, Vice-President,
Secretary and Treasurer arranged by creating officer. Files of the President include
correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, beginning with the origin of the Society.
Presidential correspondence covers the wide range of activities and interests of the
society including committee assignments, awards issues and other administrative concerns.
There is only one folder of Vice-Presidential material from 1975-1976. Among the Secretary’s
files are the agendas and minutes of the board of directors meetings for 1954, and
from 1960 through 1992 inclusive. Files also include correspondence pertaining to
administrative activities such as elections, mailing list approvals, business calendars,
the certificate of incorporation, constitution, by-laws and revisions, and rosters
of officers and committee members. The bulk of the financial records falls under the
Treasurer. Along with correspondence files dating as early as 1949 are audit reports,
budgets, finance committee reports and ledgers for cash assets, income and disbursements,
The second series, Business Secretary, is arranged into two series: Business Office
and Membership. The sub-series Business Office contains correspondence, income and
expense statements for a variety of Society activities and the Policy Manuals. All
documents of the Business Secretary, whether the office was in a private home and
or after the National Office was established, are organized together by subject and
then in date order. All membership records (which became the responsibility of the
Business Secretary after the creation of that position) are together and organized
first by subject and then in date order. The sub-series includes applications from
1957, brochures, member lists and printed directories.
The third series, Committees, contains correspondence, memos, reports and rosters
of many of the Society committees among them the Archives Committee, the Awards and
Grants Committee, the Education Committee and the Summer Institute Committee. The
materials show the extent of the interests of the society and the development of their
activities. For example, the Summer Institute Committee files outline the inception
of the Summer Institute courses and contain materials on courses taught from 1965
Series four, Meetings, contains correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, forms,
proceedings, and photographs. There is a block of correspondence from 1960 pertaining
to a conference and some related to the Summer Institute dated 1968 – 1971. There
is not a complete record of annual meetings and copies of minutes are extent only
for the years 1950 – 1985. There is a smattering of reports from the annual meetings
running from 1960 –1981 and some photographs from 1981 – 1990. There is a variety
of proceedings, programs, papers and reports from workshops, symposia, conferences
and joint meetings organized by the society. Of these a few are from 1960 – 1961,
with the bulk of the papers coming from the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Also included
are records from local chapter meetings. These contain the correspondence, memos,
agendas, minutes and reports of five of the local chapters. The earliest of these
is the Washington chapter with papers dating from 1951 – 1960, followed by Chicago
with papers beginning in 1959 and extending to 1973. The remaining materials date
from the 1970’s – 1990. These give a brief look at the workings of local units.
The series Publications is made up primarily of printed works published by the Society.
These include a nearly complete run of the SIM Newsletter, runs of both society journals,
copies of meeting programs and abstracts, conference papers, and various special publications.
In addition, there is a smattering of documents such as contract agreements with the
society publisher from the period 1959 – 1962 and some correspondence from the editor
of the society newsletter dating from the mid sixties to the late seventies.
In the final series, Affiliated Organizations and Ephemera, are a small number of
files relating to other affiliated societies and the records documenting the relationship
between SIM and Northwestern University, where the SIM archive had been previously
housed and maintained.
SARCV 2000-11; SARCV 2001-06; SARCV 2002-04. This collection was received in three
accessions. The first accession of 20 cubic feet of records arrived from Northwestern
University on August 28, 2000; the second accession of 8 cubic feet was sent directly
from the SIM office in Fairfax, VA and arrived on October 25, 2001; and the third,
comprising one folder, was delivered by Dr. Joan Bennett on Dec 13, 2002.
The records transferred from Northwestern had been partially arranged and described
and had come with a finding aid to the processed portion; for the remaining portion
there were accession records but no inventory. The second accession however had no
inventory and was found to be in a disordered state. An inventory was done of all
unprocessed materials and all records whether previously processed or not were organized
according to the administrative arrangement set out in the SIM Handbook and taking
into account the initial order done by Northwestern. All documents pertaining to the
provenance, accessions, and processing of materials at Northwestern University may
be found under the series Affiliated Organizations Envelopes, invoices, cancelled
checks, payroll information such as time sheets and duplicate copies have been weeded.
Processing was completed and finding aid written by Marcia Frank Peri, December 2002.
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/coll015.php
Reproduction allowed for research purposes. Copyright maintained by creator.
Society for Industrial Microbiology (U.S.)
Society for Industrial Microbiology (U.S.) -- Archives
Industrial microbiology -- Societies, etc.
Date: 1949-2000; bulk 1960-1991
Extent: 6,250 items; (9 linear feet)
Correspondence, minutes, reports, audits, budgets, tax and insurance forms, ledgers,
constitutions and by-laws, rosters, business calendars, and certificates of incorporation
arranged into four sub-series: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
Extent: 1,300 items; (1.75 linear feet)
General correspondence and memos arranged in date order followed by subject
files in alphabetical order.
Extent: 4 items; (1 folder)
Date: 1949-1992; bulk 1960-1990
Extent: 3,100 items (3.5 linear feet)
Correspondence, Board of Directors minutes, reports, constitutions and by-laws,
business calendars, and certificate of incorporation organized first by subject and
then in date order.
Extent: 2,175 items (3.75 linear feet)
Correspondence, audit and financial reports, budgets, tax and insurance forms,
and ledgers arranged in order by subject and then in date order.
Date: 1949-1999; bulk 1950-1996
Extent: 1,400 items (2.75 linear feet)
Correspondence, memos, reports, applications, ledgers, member lists and directories,
and policy manuals arranged into two sub-series: Business Office and Membership.
Extent: 200 items (.25 linear feet)
Correspondence, memos, contracts, income and expense statements, and policy
manuals organized by subject and then arranged in date order.
Extent: 1,200 items (2.5 linear feet)
Applications, brochures, ledgers, member lists and Directories, and questionnaires
organized in alphabetical order by subject and then in date order.
Extent: 1,000 items (1.25 linear feet)
Correspondence, memos, reports, and rosters organized by name of committee
Date: 1949-2001; bulk 1960-1993 bulk
Extent: 2,600 items; (3.25 linear feet
Correspondence, minutes, memos, reports, forms, proceedings, papers, programs
and photographs arranged into five sub-series: Correspondence, Annual Meetings, Conferences,
Symposia and Workshops, Joint Meetings, and Local Chapters.
Extent: 250 items (.25 linear feet)
Correspondence organized in alphabetical order by subject.
Extent: 400 items (1 linear foot)
Correspondence, reports, minutes, memos, forms, proceedings and photographs
arranged in alphabetical order by subject and then in date order.
Extent: 55 items (1.75 linear feet)
Proceedings, programs, papers and memos organized by individual conference,
symposia, or workshop with all conferences first followed by all symposia and workshops
in date order.
Date: 1961, n.d.
Extent: 6 items (2 folders)
Programs, reports and paper arranged by meeting
Extent: 75 items (.25 linear feet)
Agendas, minutes, reports, correspondence and memos arranged by section name.
Extent: 500 items (10 linear feet)
Journals, newsletters, programs, abstracts, and pamphlets organized into three
sub-series: Journals and Newsletters, Conference, Workshop and Meeting Materials,
and Special and Miscellaneous Publications.
Extent: 8.25 linear feet
Printed materials arranged by title and then in date order.
Extent: 30 items (1 linear foot)
Programs, abstracts, conference papers and handouts arranged by type of program
and then in date order.
Extent: 120 items (.5 linear feet)
Printed materials, correspondence, reports, and contracts arranged by subject
and then in date order.
Extent: 150 items (.25 linear feet)
Correspondence, member list and ephemera arranged by subject.
Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. Accessed November 13, 2015. http://www.simbhq.org/.