If the first week was good, the second was great!
First off, I spent this past weekend at the NASSH conference in Miami — that’s North American Society for Sport History. At NASSH I met all kinds of interesting and experienced people, both students and professors. I networked as best as I could, and developed multiple contacts within the sport history circle, including professors at Miami, NYU, Iowa, UCONN, and Penn State, among others. I even had a chance run-in with a couple of Aussies — one is a professor at The University of Queensland, and the other at the University of Otago (NZ). Hopefully I can network with those two about a Fulbright.
Anyway, point being — I came in this week at FHQ a bit tired from all the NASSH action, but extremely excited and motivated following such a great networking event. If you are a student and have not attended a conference yet, and your goal is to move onto the PhD level — you need to find a professional conference and attend ASAP. The experience not only expands your network, but gives you a window into the profession that you did not have before.
In keeping with that sentiment, let’s move towards the goings-on of FHQ Week 2
Week 2 at FHQ
This week has been an eye opener about the process of copy editing. I won’t get too detailed, in the off-chance that the author to whom I’m referring reads this, but let’s just say that I had to edit the footnotes of an upcoming article, and it was BRUTAL. Everything was incorrect, and every single footnote needed severe reformatting. Incorrect style, improper citation, and no page numbers for specific quotes sum up the article, at least from a copy editor’s perspective.
However, the silver lining in all of the grueling work that went into correcting the piece is the experience I have gained. I have a better understanding for how much effort goes into editing a journal, and I also have a feeling of confidence about submitting my own work — after all, if someone can make that many errors and still be publish-worthy, why can’t I?
I also was lucky enough to sit in on a meeting with 5 of our professors here at UCF — Drs. Connie Lester, Dan Murphree, John Sacher, Scot French, and Peter Larson. Again, I won’t get into too much detail because I don’t know how much of the information is privileged, but let me just say that it was awesome to get a window into the profession, as I mentioned earlier with my conference at NASSH. In the meeting, it became even clearer that our professors do a lot more than teach, research, and write. There’s a whole department to manage, and that means meeting to discuss the curriculum, the well-being of the students, and various projects that may enhance UCF’s recognition within the greater history circle nationally and internationally. Seeing our professors ‘in action’ gave me a new respect for them and what they do. I only hope that as the summer goes on, I’ll start to actually understand what they were talking about — so much of it was over my head!
Last but not least — I spent a few hours this week responding to a query on our FHQ facebook page. One of our friends asked a question, and I had to do some research to come up with a good answer. Below is the exchange between us, in case any of you are interested in the history of FHQ and the Florida Historical Society. It’s actually a cool little history I discovered!!
Other than that, be well, and I’ll post again next week!
Our friend wrote: “I decided that I wanted to read the first ever Florida Historical Quarterly and now I’m confused. The issue if from April 1908 and Francis P. Fleming is President. The very first article is about George R. Fairbanks, written by Francis P. Fleming. Fleming says that Fairbanks was the first Florida Historical Society president after it was established in 1902. I thought Benjamin A. Putnam was the founder and first president in 1856. In the article, Fleming seems to be saying that the Historical Society of Florida (B. A. Putnam founder/President) wasn’t the same as the Florida Historical Society. But the modern information seems to make them the same thing. Clarification please.“
I responded: “Dear ____________,
Thank you for your inquiry and keen interest in FHS and FHQ! It is great to see our fellow Florida historians investigate Florida’s history, especially that of our state’s historical society and publication.
The answer to your question can be found in The Florida Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jul., 1924. In this issue, J.C. Yonge and C. Seton Fleming provide valuable information on the original 1856 members of the Florida Historical Society, as well as some clarifying facts about the Society’s reorganization in 1902. This volume of (what would eventually be called) the Florida Historical Quarterly is available through JSTOR at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/i30138245. However, we have summarized some of the relevant information below.
In J.C. Yonge’s analysis of the original 1856 minutes from the first FHS meeting, it is clear that FHS was originally called “The Historical Society of Florida.” The president, as you correctly noted, was Benjamin A. Putnam. George R. Fairbanks was one of five vice-presidents. Yonge adds that “In 1902 the Society was reorganized, and George R. Fairbanks, who was a leading spirit in its founding nearly fifty years before, became its president…Under the hand of its next president, Governor(Francis P.) Fleming, the Society increased its membership, began the collection of historical material, and established and regularly issued its magazine, ‘The Florida Historical Society Quarterly.’ But soon after the death of Governor Fleming, in 1908, the Quarterly suspended publication” (1924, p. 9). C. Seton Fleming’s subsequent article in this issue provides more background information on each original 1856 member, including Putnam and Fairbanks.
The 1908 article you’re referring to – “Major George Rainsford Fairbanks,” Florida Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 1, Apr., 1908 – does confuse things a bit. It calls Fairbanks “the first president of the Florida Historical Society,” while on the same page claiming that “he was prominent in organizing ‘The Historical Society of Florida,’ located at St. Augustine, of which he was one of the vice-presidents, the president being Hon. B.A. Putnam” (1908, p. 5).
Perhaps Fleming, in his 1908 article, saw his Florida Historical Society (reorganized in 1902 according to Yonge’s 1924 article) as being distinctly different than the Historical Society of Florida, or perhaps he just meant to specify that Fairbanks was the first president following the reorganization.
For our purposes as contemporary historians, the Historical Society of Florida and the Florida Historical Society are the same organization. There was certainly some reorganizing, rebranding, and relocating involved throughout the organization’s history, but the two can safely be called one in the same. In that case, B.A. Putnam would be the first president, and Fairbanks one of the first vice-presidents. Fairbanks, however, was clearly instrumental in the aforementioned changes in 1902, and, in that respect, can be called the first president of the new FHS.
Again, thank you for your attention to detail (the mark of a true historian!) and interest in our state’s history!
The FHQ Team”