Board Meeting Minutes – 2021

Spring Meeting

Society of Automotive Historians

Board of Directors Meeting – Minutes

April 20, 2021

Note: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic this meeting was held virtually via the website Zoom.com.

Present:

Current Directors: Don Capps, President; Robert Barr, Vice President; Rubén Verdés, Treasurer; Robert Casey, Secretary; Bob Elton, Kevin Kirbitz, Chris Lezotte, Casey Maxon, John Mohr, Dean Nelson, Steve Purdy, Bob Schmitt

Guests and ex officio: John Marino, Ed Garten, Andrew Beckman, Arthur Jones

Note: These minutes contain only the summaries of the committee and officers’ reports. The full committee reports that have been submitted and the Treasurer’s reports are filed with the minutes and are available upon written request to the Secretary of the Society.

President Capps called the meeting to order at 3:02 PM EDT.

Upon completion of the roll call, Secretary Casey declared that with 12 officers and directors in attendance a quorum was present.

  • Upon motion made by R. Barr and seconded by D. Nelson, minutes of the October 7 & 9, 2020 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Society of Automotive Historians were approved as written. 


President’s Report: D. Capps reporting

  • President’s Report is attached hereto.
  • President Capps observed that while he assumes the AACA meet at Hershey, PA will happen is some form in 2021, our Fall Board meeting may have to be partly in person and partly virtual.
  • President Capps reiterated the importance of SAH engaging with other organizations devoted to automotive history, both in this hemisphere and in the eastern hemisphere. He also emphasized the importance of public presentations, both in person in electronic media, and advocated SAH publication, of monographs in electronic form.

Treasurer’s Report: R. Verdés reporting.  

  • The Treasurer’s Report is attached hereto and should be consulted for detailed information.

Governance Council: L. Fourie reporting

  • The Governance Council Report is attached hereto.
  • The Chair and B. Barr have been in discussion about two proposed Policy and Procedures for the committee.
  • The Chair will work with A. Beckman to jointly develop Policies and Procedures for both Governance Council and Nominations Committee.

Bricks & Mortar Committee: Chris Lezotte reporting

  • The Bricks & Mortar Committee Report is attached hereto.
  • The committee is currently in discussion with the Kettering university Library regarding establishment of a permanent home for SAH archives within the institutions automotive collections.

Membership & Marketing Committee: Steve Purdy reporting

  • The Membership & Marketing Committee Report is attached hereto.
  • The Membership & Marketing Committee now has brochures and would like to get them out as broadly as possible with focused membership pitches. We want to integrate our activities as much as possible with the Social Media Committee.
  • C. Maxon asked if we could do multi-year memberships and A. Beckman asked about automatic membership renewal.
  • R. Verdés replied that Cornerstone can do auto-renewal, and that multi-year memberships work best when they also come with a discount. Verdés doesn’t like discounts because they reduce income.
  • L. Fourie volunteered to call people who did not renew and encourage them to renew. R. Verdés and S. Purdy promised to get Fourie a list of those people.

Outreach & Marketing/Social Media/Web Presence: John Mohr reporting.

  • The Outreach & Marketing/Social Media/Web Presence Working Group report is attached hereto.
  • The Working Group continues to develop plans to expand the SAH web presence. There has been an overhaul of the website with more changes planned. We will also continue to expand SAH social media presence.
  • C. Maxon said that SAH now has an Instagram handle.
  • An SAH Facebook group has been launched and people are encouraged to join and post.
  • Various people noted that other organizations similar to ours host webinars on YouTube.

International Committee: B. Barr reporting:

  • Report of the International Committee is attached hereto.
  • Automotive history events around the world continue to be curtailed due to the pandemic. B. Barr hopes to use the newly acquired SAH Zoom account to conduct virtual get-togethers with some of our international colleagues.

Academic Committee: J. Mohr reporting:

  • Report of the Academic Committee is attached hereto.
  • The Committee has set goals to raise the academic profile of SAH. One goal is to get Automotive History Review listed on academic databases in order to make it more useful to researchers. But those databases want a permanent home for publications, preferably a college, museum, or research library. That implies a “bricks & mortar” home.  C. Lezotte referred to her committee’s efforts and that a trip to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum might be necessary to assess their collection of SAH award books and their willingness to remain a repository.
  • If AHR does become accessible via an academic database, J. Mohr asks if we are comfortable taking it out from behind our paywall so that it can be used by non-SAH members.

Nominating Committee: A. Beckman reporting:

  • Report of the Nominating Committee is attached hereto.
  • The committee will be convening via a method to be determined in the coming weeks to review the expiring terms, discuss the board’s needs, and vet potential candidates. Board recruitment is key to the long-term-health of SAH. Please share any prospects with the committee.

Awards: Reports received from Awards Committees are attached hereto and are summarized below.

  • Brigham Award: Andrew Beckman reporting:
    • Two nominations for the Brigham Award have been received. Publications/PDFs are in hand and will be distributed to the committee shortly.
  • Cugnot English Language Award: Ed Garten reporting:
    • As of the nomination deadline of April 15, 2021 the award panel received 12 books for review. Review of these nominations has now begun among members and award decisions will be made by mid-August 2021.
  • Cugnot for books in language other than English: Arthur Jones reporting:
    • To date we have received nominations for only 2 books, however others may arrive before the June 15 deadline.
  • Benz Award: Don Keefe reporting
    • We have received a total of fifteen articles for consideration. The normal deadline is April 15th, though I will normally wait until the end of the month to allow for any foreign submissions to arrive before sending them to the committee members.
  • Bradley Award: Ed Garten reporting:
    • The Bradley Award panel is recommending that the award become an “Occasional” award rather than a yearly one as has been the case since the award was originated in 1992.
    • No action was taken.
  • Friend of Automotive History Award: Andrew Beckman reporting:
    • One nomination has been received as of this writing for the 2021 FAH award.
  • Scharchburg Student Paper Award: John Mohr reporting.
    • Two awards will be given this year: one in the graduate category and the other in the undergraduate category. The committee looks forward to selecting the 2021 Scharchburg Award winners.
  • Awards Sub-Committee: Chris Lezotte reporting.
    • Report of the Awards Sub-Committee is attached hereto.
    • The committee is currently 1) Revisiting award categories as they now exist to determine whether they require revising, updating, or elimination. 2) Proposing two additional awards to be awarded in 2022 for 2021 publications: an award for the automobile in film; and an award for the social history of the automobile in print.
    • No action was taken on the proposals.

Publications

  • Publications – SAH Journal: Rubén Verdés reporting:
    • Report of the SAH Journal Committee is attached hereto.
    • Issues 305, 306, and 307 have been printed and mailed since 9/30 last year. As of this date issue 308 is well underway and will be e-mailed to all SAH members (both digital and active members) as usual. Each of these e-mails contains other items of interest for members.
  • Publications – Automotive History Review: J. Heitmann reporting:
    • Report of the AHR Editor is attached hereto.
    • Volume 62 is now in layout. It is a large issue with 84 pages and 7 articles. Submissions continue to be of uneven quality, some acceptable but with considerable revisions necessary.
  • Publications – Website: Tom Jakups and Louis Fourie reporting:
    • Report of the Website Committee is attached hereto.
    • No action was taken on the following proposals: 1) Roger Currie has offered “Members Only” access to a vast digital collection of brochures. The committee would appreciate Dean Nelson’s thoughts about proprietary rights; 2) Considering an eBay type auction available through the website for any major bequest of material; 3) In anticipation of an SAHJ article on resources by Walt Gosden, the committee desires to create a Members Only section allowing ongoing updates from Member suggestions.

Chapters and Sections Report: Bob Barr reporting:

  • Report of the Chapters and Sections Committee is attached hereto.
  • Chapter activity continues to be curtailed during the pandemic. The Wisconsin SAH will hold a socially distanced spring meeting, and the Leland Chapter is planning a virtual meeting in May.
  • The Committee is considering reactivating the Pioneer Chapter.

SAH Annual Euromeeting Report: Kit Foster reporting.

  • Report of the Euromeeting Committee is attached hereto.
  • The 2020 SAH Euromeeting took place on February 4, 2020 in Paris. Due to the Covid pandemic, 2021 Retromobile has been cancelled, and rescheduled for February 2022. The SAH will again sponsor the Euromeeting, pandemic conditions permitting.

Hershey Banquet Committee: John Marino reporting:

  • Report of the Hershey Banquet Committee is attached hereto.
  • 2020 Board Meeting and Annual Meeting and Banquet were cancelled due to Covid 19, 2021. If pandemic conditions permit, the Fall Board of Directors Meeting and Annual Meeting and Banquet will be held on October 7 and 8, 2021 at the Hershey Country Club. Banquet price to members will be $62.00.

Hershey Tent Committee: L. Fourie reporting:

  • Report of the Hershey Tent Committee is attached hereto.
  • We have paid for our AACA Hershey spot and are hopeful that the 2021 Fall Meet will take place.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:48 PM EDT.

Respectfully submitted, Robert Casey, Secretary.

 

Fall Meeting

Society of Automotive Historians

Board of Directors Meeting – Minutes

October 18, 2021

Note: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic this meeting was held virtually via the website Zoom.com.

Present:

Current Directors: Don Capps, President; Robert Barr, Vice President; Rubén Verdés, Treasurer; Robert Casey, Secretary; Bob Elton, Kevin Kirbitz, Chris Lezotte, Casey Maxon, John Mohr, Dean Nelson, Steve Purdy, Carla Lesh, Bob Schmitt

Guests and ex officio: John Marino, Louis Fourie, Ed Garten, Andrew Beckman, Arthur Jones, Helen Hutchings, John Heitmann, Vince Wright, Matt Anderson

Note: These minutes contain only the summaries of the committee and officers’ reports. The full committee reports that have been submitted and the Treasurer’s reports are filed with the minutes and are available upon written request to the Secretary of the Society.

President Capps called the meeting to order at 8:07 PM EDT.

Upon completion of the roll call, Secretary Casey declared that with 13 officers and directors in attendance a quorum was present.

Upon motion made by Chis Lezotte and seconded by Bob Barr, minutes of the April 20, 2021 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Society of Automotive Historians were approved as written.

President’s Report: Don Capps reporting

  • President’s Report is attached hereto.
  • President Capps noted that due to the Covid pandemic his two years as president had been, as Jerry Garcia might say, “a long strange trip.” He is the only SAH president not to preside over a Board meeting or an annual banquet in person.
  • President Capps has talked with Diane Parker regarding another International Drive History conference in 2022 and says that she is as “befuddled” as he is. He will talk soon to Mark Stelgerwald, the new executive director of the International Motor Racing Research Center regarding plans for resumption of the Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on auto racing history.
  • President Capps displayed the signed Memorandum of Agreement with the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum regarding the formal creation of the Society of Automotive History Special Reference Collection for SAH award books at the ACD Museum.
  • President Capps expressed his fervent hope that the next year will be better for the incoming SAH president.

Treasurer’s Report: Rubén Verdés reporting.  

  • The Treasurer’s Report is attached hereto and should be consulted for detailed information.
  • Treasurer Verdés noted that there were no surprises in this year’s financial numbers.
  • He also commented that he saw no good reason that SAH could not grow to one or two thousand members, well beyond the current 679.
  • Upon a motion by Bob Barr and a second by Bob Casey, the Treasurer’s Report was approved.

Nominating Committee: Andrew Beckman reporting.

  • The Nominating Committee Report is attached hereto and should be consulted for detailed information.
  • The following were elected officers with terms expiring October 2024: Bob Barr, President; Kevin Kirbitz, Vice President; Rubén Verdés, Treasurer; Robert Casey, Secretary.
  • The following were elected to the Board of Directors, with terms expiring October 2024: Matt Anderson; Bob Elton; Carla Lesh.
  • Dean Nelson was elected to serve out Kevin Kerbitz’s unexpired term ending October 2023.
  • Since Elton and Nelson received the same number of votes, even after employing the tiebreaker specified in the Bylaws, Nelson volunteered to take the short term.  Chair Beckman noted that we might want to amend the Bylaws to establish a clear procedure to resolve such situations.

Governance Council: Louis Fourie reporting

  • The Governance Council Report is attached hereto.
  • The Chair and Bob Barr have been in discussion about two proposed Policy and Procedures documents for the Council. Past President Capps will become Chair of the Governance Council and will work with incoming President Barr on those Policies and Procedures.

International Committee: Bob Barr reporting:

  • Report of the International Committee is attached hereto.
  • During 2022 SAH needs to re-engage with the AHA, AHG, AISA, CONAM, PHAF, and SAHB to foster communication and camaraderie with our international colleagues. With that goal in mind, Chair Barr had an enjoyable one hour Zoom meeting with Guy Loveridge, Chairman of the SAHB August 12. He hopes to meet again via Zoom and add participants.

Outreach & Marketing/Social Media/Web Presence: John Mohr reporting.

  • The Outreach & Marketing/Social Media/Web Presence Working Group report is attached hereto.
  • Chair Mohr and Casey Maxon are seeking ways to orient the SAH website to make it more compatible with getting engagement across social media.
  • One idea is to make some past articles from the AHR and SAHJ available on the portion of the website available to any visitor. We could promote those articles on social media as examples of the advantages of SAH membership. Casey Maxon demonstrated a mock-up of what a website page might look like.
  • The general response to this proposal was positive, but Louis Fourie noted SAH would need to get written permission from article authors, and Bob Barr emphasized that good record keeping of such permissions is essential. Chris Lezotte added that we must have a procedure for dealing with authors who are deceased. John Mohr asked if we currently have permissions or agreements with authors whose articles appear in our publications. Rubén Verdés replied that we currently have no paperwork. We operate under an implied one-time use for any accepted submissions. He also doesn’t think we should seek to own copyright of individual articles because we might then have to expend resources to defend those copyrights. But if we want to follow Maxon and Mohr’s suggestions we should acquire written permissions from the authors involved. We should not use articles less than two years old, so that if people want to read recent articles they must be members.
  • Mohr and Maxon discussed the likely need to hire a service to do regular social media posts to relieve the burden on Carla Lesh and Bob Merliss who are currently doing this. However, until we make more content available such a service is not needed.
  • John Heitmann noted that we have a trove of articles in AHR alone, but getting permission to use the images in those articles could be a bigger problem. He has kept permission files for the articles appearing under his editorship, but doesn’t know the status of image permissions in previous issues.
  • President Capps noted that this discussion has highlighted the key issues and problems that must be overcome, but that the concept is sound and the incoming president and board must take the next steps.
  • Rubén Verdés added that this idea can be used to drive membership. Many current publications such as newspapers offer partial access to online content with the opportunity to subscribe to full access after a certain time. We can do the same.

Academic Committee: John Mohr reporting:

  • Report of the Academic Committee is attached hereto.
  • The Committee is presently focused on two goals. The first is the listing of the SAH’s publications in a scholarly database such as American History and Life of JSTOR. To accomplish this SAH must have a bricks and mortar home in an institution that can host the database.
  • The second goal is to organize a panel presentation at the 2023 meeting of the American Historical Association.  We could not arrange for a panel in 2022 due to the current uncertainty surrounding in person meetings. Chair Mohr will seek out people interested in participating during 2022. John Heitmann noted that he has spoken to someone who may be interested.

Awards Committee: Chris Lezotte reporting.

  • Report of the Awards Committee is attached hereto.
  • The 2021 SAH Award winners have been selected and –due to the cancellation of this year’s Awards Banquet at Hershey—will be announced shortly after the October Board meeting. The Awards Committee thanks the individual Awards Panels for the completion of their work in what has been another challenging year.
  • The Awards Committee is in the final stages of constructing a Policy and Procedures document that will outline uniform processes and procedures for the individual Award Panels.
  • Chair Lezotte noted that we want to raise the profile of the awards, the winners, and thereby the SAH. Louis Fourie added that this is an opportunity to make media widespread announcements that will publicize SAH.
  • Ed Garten said that we would like to get a wider array of nominations for the Cugnot Award, and Arthur Jones noted that we “are not overburdened” with nominations for the Cugnot Language other than English Award.

Awards: Reports received from Awards Panels are attached hereto and are summarized below.

  • Brigham Award: Andrew Beckman reporting:
    • Report of the Brigham Award Committee is attached hereto.
    • Two nominations were received for the Richard and Grace Brigham Award: The Automobile (UK) nominated by Kit Foster; and Vintage Metal, nominated by Don Capps. By unanimous vote, The Automobile (UK) was selected as recipient of the 2021 award.
  • Cugnot English Language Award: Ed Garten reporting:
    • Report of the Cugnot Award Committee is attached hereto.
    • The Committee received 13 nominations for the Cugnot English Language award. The Committee gave the 2021 award to The Cellini of Chrome: George Walker – Ford Motor Company’s First VP of Design, by Henry Dominguez. An Award of Distinction was given to Driving While Black: African-American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights, by Gretchen Soren.
  • Cugnot for Books in a Language other than English: Arthur Jones reporting:
    • Report of the Cugnot Award for Books in a Language other than English Committee is attached hereto.
    • The 2021 award for Cugnot Books in a Language other than English goes to Danskbilproduction, by Erich Karshold, published by Strandbergs Forlag A/S. It is a record of automobiles produced in Denmark by American and French companies from the beginning of the 20th century through the early post-WWII period.
    • An Award of Distinction was given to Fanaille & Despeaux, l’ancetre d”Esso, by Christian Rouxel, published by Editions E-T-A-I. It is a history of the development of the French petroleum industry and its eventual domination by Rockefeller interests.
  • Bradley Award: Ed Garten reporting:
    • Report of the Bradley Award Committee is attached hereto.
    • No Bradley Award was made for 2021.  The board agreed with the committee recommendation that the award become “Occasional” rather than annual.
  • Friend of Automotive History Award: Andrew Beckman reporting:
    • Report of the Friend of Automotive History Award Committee is attached hereto.
    • Mr. Richard Lentinello is the 2021 Friend of Automotive history.
  • Scharchburg Student Paper Award: John Mohr reporting.
    • Report of the Scharchburg Student Paper Award Committee is attached hereto.
    • No Scharchburg Awards were given this year. There were no eligible submissions and no committee deliberations were held. It is hoped that next year will be more fruitful in terms of submissions and eligible papers.
    • Two awards will be given in the future: one in the graduate category and the other in the undergraduate category.

Publications

  • Publications – SAH Journal: Rubén Verdés reporting:
    • Report of the SAH Journal Committee is attached hereto.
    • Issues 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, and 310 have been printed and mailed since 9/30 last year. As of this date issue 311is well underway.
  • Publications – Automotive History Review: John Heitmann reporting:
    • Report of the AHR Editor is attached hereto.
    • Volume 62, with 84 pages and 7 articles, was published in April. Two submissions have been received for Volume 63, with a third perhaps in the works.
  • Publications – Website: Tom Jakups and Louis Fourie reporting:
    • Report of the Website Committee is attached hereto.
    • Mike Reilly, who has provided essential technical assistance with the website, will no longer be able to do that.  Cornerstone might be able to provide those services, but we will have to determine what they would charge.

Chapters and Sections Report: Bob Barr reporting:

  • Report of the Chapters and Sections Committee is attached hereto.
  • Chapter activity continues to be curtailed during the pandemic, but is beginning to ramp up.
  • The reactivated Pioneer Chapter is working to create a list of library holdings in automotive museums. Such holdings are not typically listed in World Cat.

Hershey Banquet Committee: John Marino reporting:

  • Report of the Hershey Banquet Committee is attached hereto.
  • The 2021 SAH Hershey event was cancelled due to Covid 19. The Hershey Country Club agreed to waive the 85% cancellation fee, saving SAH $3230.
  • The AACA has set the dates for next year’s Hershey event, moving everything back one day. John Marino will contact the Hershey Country Club to see if we can have a Board meeting on Wednesday and a banquet on Thursday in 2022.

Hershey Tent Committee: L. Fourie reporting:

  • Report of the Hershey Tent Committee is attached hereto.
  • The 2021 SAH presence was downsized to a small pop-up tent and accompanying rental toilet. Committee members staffed the tent on Thursday and Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The banner was displayed and SAH brochures were handed out. Market attendance was lighter than usual (but better than feared). Activities included chatting with members who stopped by, and evangelizing to walk-ins who wondered who we are.

Bricks & Mortar Working Group: Chris Lezotte reporting

  • The Bricks & Mortar Working Group Report is attached hereto.
  • A formal agreement has been made with the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana to store, maintain, and promote the SAH Award books and publications under the title of the SAH Reference Collection at the ACD. The Working Group is now pursuing the second part of the original plan—to establish a relationship with an automotive educational institution to serve as a meeting place for the SAH Board, provide storage for SAH archives, publications, and papers, and assist students in pursuit of an automotive education.
  • Chris Lezotte and Kevin Kirbitz will meet with Dina Mein of Kettering University Library next week regarding the second part of the plan. The will discuss access to American History and Life, Project Muse, and JSTOR databases.
  • Lezotte and Kirbitz will also explore the possibility of an SAH funded internship at Kettering. Rubén Verdés noted that such an internship is a good fund raising opportunity, and Bob Casey remarked that such an internship is on target with SAH’s mission.

New Business:

  • Louis Fourie noted that the gentleman who has the remainder of Automobile Quarterly’s inventory of AQ volumes is looking to clear out his inventory. He also has a number of the AQ books on specific marques. Louis suggests that Bob Barr be empowered to negotiate for the acquisition of the inventory. Bob Barr stated that he will follow up, but will ask for an list of all publications first.
  • Chris Lezotte asked to meet the newly elected Board member, Matt Anderson. Anderson introduced himself, noting that he is the Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford, and is also on the board of the National Association of Automobile Museums.
  • President Capps extended heartfelt thanks to Helen Hutchings for her contributions, especially her work as a prolific book reviewer for the SAH Journal. He also extended thanks to all the Board members for their work and support during these past two years, and then turned the SAH reins over to newly elected President Bob Barr.
  • President Bob Barr thanked Don Capps for his leadership under difficult circumstances. As someone who had actually been under fire he was the right person for the job.
  • President Barr said that he will focus on what General Motors calls organizational sustainability—doing the things that will allow the SAH to thrive into the future. Part of this will be the drafting of Policy and Procedure documents for the various committees. The first should be for Awards, coming from Chris Lezotte and Ed Garten. Those drafting such documents should write them for the people who will replace them.
  • Don Capps noted that he will be representing the SAH at the opening of an exhibit of paintings at the New York Historical Society on Wednesday, October 20.

Bob Casey moved that the meeting be adjourned; Kevin Kirbitz seconded; motion approved. The meeting was adjourned at 9:46 PM EDT.

Respectfully submitted, Robert Casey, Secretary.