SPEC Kit 347: Community-based Collections · 141
American Musicological Society records
American Musicological Society records, 1934-1992
http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/ead/ead.html?q=american%20musicological%20society&id=EAD_upenn_rbml_MsColl221&%23ref8[6/23/15, 2:33:45 PM]
members to be nominated by a current member (whose nomination was then
seconded) and then subjected to a vote by the Board. One negative vote was
enough to keep a nominee out of membership. By 1944, having realized the
limitations this membership policy imposed, the Board established the category of
Associate member for those who shared the interests of the society, but did not
qualify professionally for membership. Along with this new category of members, the
AMS also began a campaign to recruit new members. By 1947 the membership had
grown to 549, and in 1948 the distinction between active and associate members
was abolished. By 1997 the membership had reached more than 3,000.
By 1942 the total number of chapters had grown to eight, including New England,
Philadelphia, Southern California, and Northwestern Chapters. In 1951 the American
Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) admitted the AMS as a constituent member,
giving them their final validation as a scholarly organization.
Journal of the American Musicological Society
One of the most decisive steps for the AMS in the effort to gain legitimacy was the
founding of the Journal in 1948. From the time of the founding of the Society, papers
read at annual meetings were published in the Society’s Papers. Abstracts of papers
read at Chapters were published in the Bulletin. Other news and information was
published in the Newsletter, begun in 1944. In 1946, George Dickinson proposed
that the Society establish a Journal to supersede these various publications, and by
1948 the Journal of the American Musicological Society had been founded. Oliver
Strunk served as its first editor.
Though the Journal editors were not always effective administrators, they were
almost always among the most prominent scholars in the field. Following Strunk’s
high standard were such respected names as Donald Grout, Gustave Reese, Lewis
Lockwood, and James Haar. The job of editor was both a great honor and an
administrative nightmare. Though the Journal brought the Society an influx of
institutional memberships, and increased its legitimacy as a scholarly organization,
the publication was very expensive and continually plagued with deadline problems.
In order to finance the publication the Society was forced to more than double the
membership dues. The Executive Board constantly struggled with editors, authors,
and the William Byrd Press, who published the Journal, to make sure the Journal
came out on time. In fact, the Journal quickly gained a reputation for being late
(sometimes up to a year behind schedule) and was a source of embarrassment to
some officers. Complaints from the membership flooded in during the 1950s. In
several instances an editor left office under unpleasant circumstances. Despite these
early problems, JAMS is currently received around the world and is recognized as
one of the most prestigious journals of music scholarship.
Trends in Higher Education
Over the years changes in the climate of American higher education have been
reflected in the operations of the AMS. During the 1940s the influx of European
scholars and the resulting increase in the number and variety of doctorates awarded
in the U.S. are reflected in the expanding membership roles of the society,
dominated by those who had their training abroad, but had now entered the ranks of
American educators. At the same time, this rapid growth meant that the parameters
of the field and the professional status of its members were in transition. By
establishing committees to provide guidelines for doctoral programs and to set
standards for the profession, the AMS continued to have input in the development of
the field.
From an early date the AMS realized its responsibility to set high educational
standards for students, and to ensure that young graduates found the job
opportunities they deserved. Caught between roles as scholars and musicians,
musicologists often continued to struggle to find their place in academic
communities. Claude Palisca pointed out the prejudice against musicologists “from
the side of the academic community, which failed to recognize the musician as a
full-fledged colleague, and from the members of music departments, who insisted
on judging the scholar strictly by standards of practical musicianship.”[5] While
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