For several decades now there has been an ongoing effort to keep up with and write the history of the Population Association of America. The effort was first started by Anders Lunde, who received his doctorate in sociology at Columbia University under Kingsley Davis. Most of his professional career was spent at the National Center for Health Statistics in Washington, D.C. (which is now part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control). When he became PAA secretary-treasurer in 1965, he was dismayed by the dearth of usable PAA files he inherited. So, Lunde subsequently decided to create an archive of data, including oral histories of past PAA presidents. In 1973, he became the first Historian of the PAA and assembled core records of meetings, membership numbers and officers and Board members since PAA's founding in 1931. With these data available to him, he started interviewing past presidents who were still alive at that time, beginning with Frank Notestein at the Population Council. He interviewed 12 others between 1973 and 1979 when he retired from the NCHS. In 1982, Lunde asked Jean van der Tak of the Population Reference Bureau to assume the role of PAA Historian. She subsequently brought the oral histories up-to-date as of 1994, calling them "Demographic Destinies". She retired in that year, and the PAA Board asked me to take over the role of PAA Historian. With the help of a great set of committee members--Dennis Hodgson of Fairfield University, Karen Hardee of the Population Council, Deborah McFarlane of the University of New Mexico, and Emily Merchant of Dartmouth University--we have been trying our best to interview all past PAA Presidents, as well as provide brief histories of the PAA and a timeline of PAA events.
For many years these historical archives were hosted by San Diego State University, but this week Danielle Staudt and Bobbi Westmoreland of the PAA were able to finalize their integration into the website of the Population Association of America. Take a look, and enjoy!
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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