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History of AESE

History and Charter Members

History of the Founding of the Association of Earth Science Editors

Thomas F. Rafter, Jr.

The time was May 1966. The place was the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The occasion, the 10th Annual Conference of Biology Editors (CBE), now Council of Science Editors (CSE). A truly significant event for AESE? Yes, when you realize that the idea for your association was initiated then and there.

Memory says that the American Geological Institute (AGI) was asked by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to invite 12 outstanding geologist/editors from among our profession to attend the CSE meeting as observers. In addition, a two-day workshop would follow the general meeting at which the 12 geologist/editors would meet with an equal number of their counterparts from CSE. The purpose was to discuss problems common to editors, from the receipt of a manuscript to the dissemination of the printed work, without regard to the peculiarities of the science involved.

This unique opportunity to observe an established organization in action and to meet with fellow editors in special sessions impressed the earth science editors. They realized that, aside from chance meetings, no common forum existed for earth science editors to gather, exchange views, and discuss the myriad problems associated with publication of the scientific information for which each was responsible.

The biology editors suggested that the earth science editors attending should and could form a similar group. It was agreed by those present to have John S. Adams (then editor for the Geochemical Society) take the first step toward organizing a Council of Earth Science Editors.

A report of the CSE meeting and the names of 12 participants were published in Geotimes (1966, v. 11, no. 1, pp. 24--25). The report closed with an invitation for anyone in the earth science disciplines interested in the proposed organization to write in care of AGI. The response was immediate and positive.

An informal organizational meeting was held in a small hotel room during the Geological Society of America (GSA) sessions, November 1966, in San Francisco. It was agreed that a Council of Earth Science Editors should be formed. Those attending appointed William A. Oliver, Jr., then editor of the Journal of Paleontology; A. A. Meyerhoff, publications manager for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists; Martin Russell, then managing editor for GSA; and myself, as an ad hoc committee to organize the first meeting of the proposed Council (Geotimes, 1967, v. 12, no. 3, p. 27).

Six months and much hard work later, the July--August issue of Geotimes (v. 12, no. 6, p. 28) carried the announcement of the first meeting to be held in October 1967. Our host was Chemical Abstracts Service in Columbus, Ohio.

The time between the announcement and the meeting was short. The committee used all its energies to assure an interesting and successful meeting. AGI was sympathetic to the plight of the unborn association and requested, on behalf of this new group, a small grant from NSF to support the first conference. The Foundation responded immediately and favorably.

The organizing committee's efforts were successful. The 38 earth science editors attending voted unanimously that the Association of Earth Science Editors be formed, a constitution prepared, and a slate of candidates be proposed for officers of AESE. The members of the ad hoc committee were asked to serve as temporary officers of the association, to manage its affairs, and to arrange for the next meeting of AESE.

The inevitable report had to be written to AGI, NSF, and the earth scientists attending, as well as to those not in attendance but interested in the proceedings and results. For want of a better name, the first report was dubbed the Blueline.

The second meeting was chaired by William A. Oliver, Jr., and our hosts were the Oklahoma Geological Survey in Norman. Again, we had an excellent program with interesting topics and speakers and, in addition, a substantial increase in attendance. The important events to the association were the adoption of the AESE Constitution and Bylaws, the acceptance of the proposed slate, and the unanimous election of the officers. AESE was officially launched.

Compared to CSE, founded in 1956, AESE was a latecomer. The 1966 organizers of our association were not the sole proprietors nor innovators of the idea. The same thought had occurred to Anders Martinsson of Uppsala, Sweden, editor of Lethaia. His efforts resulted in the formation of the European Earth Science Editors (Editerra). In 1969, an agreement of mutual cooperation was signed between AESE and Editerra at the Houston meeting. Editerra approved the agreement at its First General Assembly in December of that year in Ghent, Belgium.

A record of AESE's successive and successful meetings has been reported in past issues of the Blueline. This organ of your association shows a steady increase and diversity in activities and, more important, the growth in membership of AESE. Each meeting has been more exciting than the last. The exchange of ideas and points of view, and the discussion of new versus old publication methods are spirited, continuous, and paramount from beginning to end.

The Association of Earth Science Editors is certainly more than just an annual conference. This group of dedicated earth scientists takes its responsibilities to author and reader seriously. The objectives are to disseminate the information of our science quickly, inexpensively, and in the best possible form.

Charter Members of AESE

George E. Becraft
Wendell Cochran
Kenneth L. Coe
Patricia W. Dickerson
Richard V. Dietrich
Robert J. Floyd
Gerald M. Friedman
Jerry W. Henry
Mary R. Hill
Jean M. Spencer Jenness
Stuart E. Jenness
Walter P. Ketterer
John W. Koenig
Ira A. Lutsey
Robert McAfee, Jr.
Harold L. Mensch
Arthur A. Meyerhoff
Thomas F. Rafter, Jr.
William D. Rose
Martin Russell
Carl H. Savit
Marie Siegrist


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