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1874 AAAS Constitution


Article 1. The objects of the Association are, by periodical and migratory meetings, to promote intercourse between those who are cultivating science in different parts of the United States; to give a stronger and more general impulse, and a more systematic direction to scientific research in our country; and to procure for the labours of scientific men, increased facilities and a wider usefulness.

Members, Fellows, Patrons, and Honorary Fellows.

Article 2. The Association shall consist of Members, Fellows, Patrons and Honorary Fellows.

Article 3. Any person may become a Member of the Association upon recommendation in writing by two members or fellows, nomination by the Standing Committee, and election by a majority of the members and fellows present in general session.

Article 4.Fellows shall be nominated by the Standing Committee from such of the members as are professionally engaged in science, or have by their labors aided in advancing science. The election of fellows shall be by ballot and a majority vote of the members and fellows present in general session. But all persons who may be members at the time of the adoption of this constitution may become fellows by signifying their desire to this effect before the first day of August, 1875.

Article 5. Any person paying to the Association the sum of one thousand dollars shall be classed as a Patron, and shall be entitled to all the privileges of a member and to all its publications.

Article 6. Honorary Fellows of the Association, to the number of ten for each section, may be elected; the nominations to be made by the Standing Committee and approved by ballot in the respective sections before election by ballot in general session. Honorary Fellows shall be entitled to all the privileges of fellows and shall be exempt from all fees and assessments, and entitled to all publications of the Association issued after the date of their election.

Article 7. The name of any member of fellow two years in arrears for annual dues shall be erased from the list of the Association, provided that two notices of indebtedness, at an interval of at least three months, shall have been give; and no such person shall be restored until he has paid his arrearages or has been reelected.

Article 8. No member or fellow shall take part in the organization or business of both sections at the same meeting.


Article 9. The Officers of the Association shall be elected by ballot in general session from the fellows and shall consist of a President, two Vice Presidents, a General Secretary, a Permanent Secretary, a Treasurer, a Secretary of Section A, and a Secretary of Section B; these, with the exception of the Permanent Secretary, shall be elected at each meeting for the following one, and, with the exception of the Treasurer and the Permanent Secretary, shall not be reeligible for the next two meetings. The Permanent Secretary shall be elected at each fifth meeting.

Article 10. The President, or, in his absence, one of the Vice Presidents, shall preside at all general sessions of the Association and all meetings of the Standing Committee. It shall also be the duty of the President to give an address at a general session of the Association at the meeting following that over which he presided.

Article 11. The Vice Presidents shall be the presiding officers of Sections A and B, and of the Sectional Committees, and it shall be part of their duty to give an address, each before his respective section, at such time as the section shall determine. The Vice Presidents may request their respective sections to appoint temporary chairmen to preside over the sessions of the sections, but shall not delegate their other duties.

Article 12. The General Secretary shall be the Secretary of all general sessions of the Association, and of all sessions of the Standing Committee, and shall keep a record of the business of these sessions. He shal receive the records from the Secretaries of the Sections, which, after examination, he shall transmit with his own records to the Permanent Secretary within two weeks after the adjournment of the meeting. He shall receive proposals for membership and bring them before the Standing Committee. He shall give to the Secretary of each Section the list of papers assigned to it by the Standing Committee.

Article 13. The Permanent Secretary shall be the executive officer of the Association under the direction of the Standing Committee. He shall attend to all business not specially referred to committees nor otherwise constitutionally provided for. He shall keep an account of all business that he has transacted for the Association, and make annually at the first meeting of the Standing Committee, a report which shall be laid before the Association. He shall attend to the printing and distribution of the annual volume of Proceedings, and all other printing ordered by the Association. He shall issue a circular of information to members and fellows at least four months before each meeting, and shall, in connection with the Local Committee, make all necessary arrangements for the meetings of the Association. He shall provide the Secretaries of the Association with such books and stationary as may be required for their records and business, and shall provide members and fellows with such blank forms as may be required for facilitating the business of the Association. He shall collect all assessments and admission fees, and notify members and fellows of their election, and of any arrearages. He shall receive, and bring before the Standing Committee, the titles and abstracts of papers proposed to be read before the Association. He shall keep an account of all receipts and expenditures of the Association, and report the same annually at the first meeting of the Standing Committee, and, at the close of each year, shall pay over to the Treasurer such unexpended funds as the Standing Committee may direct. He shall receive and hold in trust for the Association all books, pamphlets and manuscripts belonging to the Association, and allow the use of the same under the provisions of the Constitution and the orders of the Standing Committee. He shall receive all communications addressed to the Association during the interval between meetings, and properly attend to the same. He shall at each meeting report the names of fellows and members who have died since the precedng meeting. He shall be allowed a salary which shall be determined by the Standing Committee, and may employ a clerk at such compensation as may be agreed upon by the Standing Committee.

Article 14. The Treasurer shall invest the funds received by him in such securities as may be directed by the Standing Committee. He shall annually present to the Standing Committee an account of the funds in his charge. No expenditure of the principal in the hands of the Treasurer shall be made without a unanimous vote of the Standing Committee, and no expenditure of the income received by the Treasurer shall be made without a two-thirds vote of the Standing Committee.

Article 15. The Secretaries of Sections A and B shall keep the records of their respective sections, and, at the close of the meeting, give the same, including the records of subsections, to the General Secretary. They shall also be the secretaries of the sectional committees.

Article 16. In case of a vacancy in the office of President, one of the Vice Presidents shall be elected by the Standing Committee as the President of the meeting. Vacancies in the offices of Vice President, General Secretary, Permanent Secretary and Treasurer, shall be filled by nomination of the Standing Committee and election by ballot in general session. A vacancy in the office of Secretary of a Section shall be filled by nomination and election by ballot in the section.

Article 17. The Standing Committee shall consist of the past Presidents, the President, the Vice Presidents, the four Secretaries, the Treasurer, with the above named officers of the preceding meeting, and six fellows elected by ballot after open nomination at the first general session. The members present at any regularly called meeting of the Committee, provided there are at least five, shall form a quorum for the transaction of business. The Standing Committee shall meet on the day preceding each annual meeting of the Association, and arrange the programme for the first day of the sessions. The time and place of this first meeting shall be designated by the Permanent Secretary. Unless other wise agreed upon, regular meetings of the Committee shall be held in the committee room at 9 o'clock, A.M., on each day of the meeting of the Association. Special meetings of the Committee may be called at any time by the President. The Standing Committee shall be the board of supervision of the Association, and no business shall be transacted by the Association that has not first been referred to, or originated with, the Committee. The special business of the Committee shall be: to receive and assign papers to the respective sections; to examine and, if necessary, to exclude papers; to decide which papers, discussions and other proceedings shall be published, and to have the general direction of the publications of the Association; to manage the financial affairs of the Association; to arrange the business and programmes for general sessions; to appoint general sessions for the evening; to suggest subjects for discussion, investigation or reports; to nominate members and fellows; to receive and act upon all invitations extended to the Association and report the same at a general session of the Association.

Article 18. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Standing Committee, and four members or fellows elected by each of the sections. It shall be the duty of this Committee to meet at the call of the President and nominate the general officers for the following meeting of the Association. It shall also be the duty of this Committee to recommend the time and place for the next meeting. The Vice Presidents and Secretaries of the Sections shall be recommended to the Nominating Committee by sub-commmittees consisting of the Vice Presidents and Secretaries, and the four persons elected by each section under the first clause of this article.


Article 19. The Association shall hold public meetings annually, for one week or longer, at such time and place as may be determined by vote of the Association, and the preliminary arrangements for each meeting shall be made by the Local Committee, in conjunction with the Permanent Secretary and such other persons as the Standing Committee may designate.

Article 20. General Sessions shall be held at 10 o'clock, A.M., unless otherwise ordered, on every day of the meeting, Sunday excepted, and at such other times as may be appointed by the Standing Committee.

Sections and Subsections

Article 21. The Association shall be divided into two Sections, namely: A (Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry and Mineralogy) and B (Geology, Zoology, Botany and Anthropology). Either section may, at its pleasure, form temporary or permanent subsections for the reading of papers.

Article 22. Immediately on the organization of a Section there shall be three fellows elected by ballot after open nomination, who, with the Vice President and Secretary, and the Chairman and Secretary of the subsection, shall form its Sectional Committee. The Sectional Committees shall have pwer to fill vacancies in their own numbers. There shall be no sectional meeting during a general session.

Article 23. When any Subsection organizes, it shall elect a Chairman and Secretary and report the result to the Secretary of its Section. The Secretary of a Subsection shall, at the close of the meeting, transmit his records to the Secretary of the Section. Any Permanent Subsection may elect its Chairman for the ensuing meeting.

Article 24. No paper shall be read in any Section or Subsection until it has been placed on the programme of the day by the Sectional Committees.

Sectional Committees.

Article 25. The Sectional Committees shall arrange and direct the business of their respective sections. They shall prepare daily programmes and give them to the Permanent Secretary for printing at the earliest moment practicable. No titles of papers shall be entered on the daily programmes except such as have passed the Standing Committee. No change shall be made in the programme for the day without the consent of the Sectional Committee. The Sectional Committees may refuse to place the title of any paper on the programme; but every such title, with the abstract of the paper or the paper itself must be returned to the Standing Committee with the reasons why it was refused.

Article 26. The Sectional Committees shall examine all papers and abstracts referred to the sections, and they shall not place on the programme any paper inconsistent with the character of the Association; and to this end they have power to call for any paper, the character of which may not be sufficiently understood from the abstract submitted.

Papers and Communications.

Article 27. All members and fellows must forward to the Permanent Secretary, as early as possible, and when practicable before the convening of the Association, full titles of all the papers which they propose to present during the meeting, with a statement of the time that each will occupy in delivery, and also such abstracts of their contents as will give a general idea of their nature; and no title shall be referred by the Standing Committee to the Sectional Committee until an abstract of the paper or the paper itself has been received.

Article 28. If the author of any paper be not ready at the time assigned, the title may be dropped to the bottom of the list.

Reports of Meetings.

Article 29. Whenever practicable, the proceedings and discussions at the general sessions, sections and subsections shall be reported by professional reporters, but such reports shall not appear in print as the official reports of the Association unless revised by the secretaries.

Printed Proceedings.

Article 30.

The Permanent Secretary shall have the Proceedings of each meeting printed in an octavo volume as soon after the meeting as possible, beginning one month after adjournment. Authors must prepare their papers ready for the press and forward them to the Permanent Secretary within this interval, otherwise only the abstracts or titles will appear in the printed volumes. The Standing Committee shall have power to print an abstract only of any paper. Whenever practicable, proofs shall be forwarded to authors for revision. If any additions or substantial alteraions are made by the author of a paper after its submissions to the Secretary, the same shall be distinctly indicated. Illustrations must be provided for by the authors of the papers, or by a special appropriation from the Standing Committee. Immediately on publication of the volume, a copy shall be forwarded to every member and fellow of the Association who shall have paid the assessment for the meeting to which it relates, and it shall also be offered for sale by the Permanent Secretary at such price as may be determined by the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall also designate the institutions to which copies shall be distributed.

Local Committee.

Article 31. The Local Committee shall consist of persons interested in the objects of the Association and residing at or near the place of the proposed meeting. It is expected that the Local Committee, assisted by the officers of the Association, will make all essential arrangements for the meeting, and issue a circular giving necessary particulars, at least one month before the meeting.

Library of the Association.

Article 32. All books and pamphlets received by the Association shall be in the charge of the Permanent Secretary, who shall have a list of the same printed and shall furnish a copy to any member or fellow on application. Members and fellows who have paid their assessments in full shall be allowed to call for books and pamphlets, which shall be delivered to them at their expense, on their giving a receipt agreeing to make good any loss or damage and to return the same free of expense to the Secretary at the time specified in the receipt given. All books and pamphlets in circulation must be returned at each meeting, or the value of any not so returned paid to the Permanent Secretary. Not more than ten books, including volumes, parts of volumes, and pamphlets, shall be held at one time by any member or fellow. Any book may be withheld from circulation by order of the Standing Committee.

Admission Fee and Assessments.

Article 33. The admission fee for members shall be five dollars in addition to the annual assessment. On the election of any member as a fellow an additional fee of two dollars shall be paid.

Article 34. The annual assessment for members and fellows shall be three dollars.

Article 35. Any member or fellow who shall pay the sum of fifty dollars to the Association, at any one time, shall be exempt from all further assessments, but this payment shall not entitle him to the publications of the Association, and all money thus received shall be invested as a permanent fund, the income of which shall be used only to assist in original research.

Article 36. All admission fees and assessments must be paid to the Permanent Secretary, who shall give proper receipts for the same.


Article 37. The accounts of the Permanet Secretary and of the Treasurer shall be audited annually, by two auditors appointed by the Standing Committee.

Alterations of the Constitution.

Article 38. No part of this Constitution shall be amended or annulled, without the concurrence of three-fourths of the members and fellows present in general session, after notice given at a general session of a preceding meeting of the Association.

[Adopted by the AAAS Standing Committee, August 12, 1874.]