Maintained in the American Geographical Society Library,
Early in the 1960s there arose a concern relating to the archives of the Association. The 1904 founding was receding from human memory (founder Barrett remained) and the Association was assuming the form of an historical undertaking.
At that time, Ralph Ehrenberg and Patrick McLaughlin, then employed in the U. S. National Archives, began to assemble working papers of the Association of American Geographers. In 1964 G. Martin published in The Professional Geographer a brief essay entitled "Geographers and Archives: A Suggestion," proposing the establishment of an AAG commission which would assist in the development of an archival holding and an inventory of geographic archival materials already in safe keeping. This led to the formation of both an official archive and the Committee on Archives and Association History in 1970. R. E. Ehrenberg (1970-1974), W. A. Koelsch (1974-1975), and G. J. Martin (1975-1986) served successively as chairs of this committee.
Two functions were discharged over the years that followed by this committee. The first was to hold a special session at the annual meeting relating immediately to archives and association history. These meetings were very successful and at Atlanta (1973) and Milwaukee (1975) attendance at each of the sessions exceeded 300 persons. These meetings have continued to the present though attendance is now not what it once was. The second function was the development of an archival holding. The collection in process, a rapid formation, was held in the National Archives Building, then transferred to the Smithsonian Institution, then to the American Philosophical Society and in 1996 was deposited with the American Geographical Society Library in Milwaukee. From 1969 R. E. Ehrenberg was archivist of the Association until 1986: in that year G. J. Martin was appointed archivist and continues in that position to the present.
Additional to the collection of traditional archival material (i.e., largely in-house institution papers) Martin began to gather papers of earlier members including those of O. E. Baker, R. Hartshorne, E. van Cleef, S. S. Visher (and some materials relating to W. M. Davis, A. K. Lobeck and J. R. Smith). The collection continues to grow and approximates 200 cubic feet.
The earlier part of the collection was inventoried by R. E. Ehrenberg, J. Glenn and others: material from the more recent years has been inventoried by Norman R. Stewart of Milwaukee. G. Martin functions as an intermediate sorting official between the AAG office and Milwaukee.
The collection now extends to 359 boxes and is maintained in most excellent circumstances. The whole is an institutional archive and therefore concerns the growth of the AAG in its many dimensions, detail of programs, meetings, selection and election of officials, et al.
Archives of the Association of American Geographers - General Information
The Addenda consist of special collections, not strictly a part of the AAG Archives, but important in the development and practice of geographic scholarship.
As a “living archive”, material is continuously being accessioned, and processed roughly in the order received. The search for Presidential and other personal papers is active and contributions are welcomed, as are notices of errors, omissions, and suggestions for improvement.
Archives of the Association of American Geographers - Part I
Archives of the Association of American Geographers - Part II
The massive job of processing and inventorying this material was undertaken, on a voluntary basis, by Prof. Emeritus Norman Stewart of the UWM Department of Geography, beginning in 2000. Since that time, all of this material has been reorganized, properly housed and described in detail. This newly created inventory, an AAG "Centennial Project," is included in this web site.
The documentary archival materials have been processed consistent with guidelines provided by the UWM Libraries Archives Department. The resulting organization differs slightly from the Part I Shelf List. For example, "Administrative Records are here divided into "Administration" (the nuts and bolts of Association management) and "Governance" (involving matters of policy). Also, "Committees, Commissions, and Task Forces" are combined in a single series, recognizing their complex web of overlapping and interlocking functions and history.
The organization is alphabetical at the Series level and chronological within, except as noted in introductory notes in each series. The materials range from 1918 to 2009, though chronological coverage is highly varied depending on the Series. It should be noted that materials in Part I overlap - and may duplicate - those in Part II, especially those noted as "Boxed in 1986." Please refer to the Table of Contents for the overall organizational configuration of Part II.
Please note that correspondence in bound letterbooks was left as received (recent date first). Loose correspondence is presented chronologically earliest through latest; occasionally letters restricted to a specific matter are lumped together out of chronological order. The user should also be aware that even mundane correspondence (e.g. acknowledgement of meeting attendance) may contain comments or references to issues or individuals beyond its primary purpose.
Photographs are filed where they occurred in the Archive (e.g., Annual Meetings, Regional Divisions); however, the majority for the final Series (#18). In some cases, the occasion as well as the subjects of individual and group photos remain unidentified.
The Archives of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) is located in the American Geographical Society Library, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Libraries, 2311 E. Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53211. [See campus maps]
Mailing address: AGS Library, PO Box 399, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0399
Dr. Geoffrey J. Martin is the official Archivist of the AAG.
Dr. Norman Stewart, who has processed and inventoried Part II, and is currently reviewing Part I, can be reached at the AGS Library.
Archives of the Association of American Geographers - Part I (early documents)
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents