March 23, 1938

Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

I. The Board of Governors of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated met in response to call of the Chairman at nine-forty a.m., Saturday, March 23, 1938 at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York, N.Y.

Present: Chairman Tate, Messrs. Crittenden, Davey, Dodge, Fletcher, Hardy, Mooney, Palmer, Peek, Pegram, Rayton, Richtmyer, and Waterfall; also Mr. Barton, Miss Mitchell, Mr. Copp and Editors Urey, Roller and Hutchisson by invitation.

Absent: Messrs. Compton and Knudsen.

The Chairman welcomed the new member of the Board, Mr. Hardy, and the editors.

II. The Minutes of the Meeting of the Governing Board of March 26, 1937 were approved as manifolded and circulated to members of the Board.

III. Appointment of Nominating Committee:

On motion it was voted:

that the Chairman appoint a committee on the nomination of officers of the Board to report later in the meeting.

The committee so appointed was as follows:

Mr. Palmer, chairman, Mr. Crittenden and Mr. Davey

IV. Reports:

  1. Report of Director:

    The report of the Director of the Institute was read with the statement that this report formed a part of the report of the Board to the Annual Meeting of the Institute on February 26, 1938, the other part of the report of the Board being the auditor’s report. Copy of this report is attached to the Minutes.

    Supplementing the report the Director spoke of the desirability of having the Institute make some approach to high school students with the view of interesting them in physics. Commenting on this Mr. Urey suggested that there should be some plan for junior membership or subscriptions to journals at cost so that they will be available for younger students. Mr. Richtmyer stated that the American Association of Physics Teachers has already a committee to prepare certain materials on physics for use in schools.

  2. Report of Secretary:

    1. New Board Members:

      The Secretary reported that at the Annual Meeting of the Institute on February 26, 1938 the following elections to the Governing Board were made on account of the expiration of terms:

      On nomination of:

      • American Physical Society: John T. Tate to success himself
      • Optical Society of America: A.C. Hardy to succeed F.K. Richtmyer
      • Acoustical Society of America: Harvey Fletcher to succeed himself
      • Society of Rheology: W.P. Davey to succeed himself; M. Mooney to succeed himself; R.L. Peek to succeed himself.
      • American Association of Physics Teachers: F.K. Richtmyer to succeed P.E. Klopsteg

      Members of the Board of Governors are as follows:

      American Physical Society K.T. Compton 1939
      G.B. Pegram 1940
      J.T. Tate 1941
      Optical Society of America W.B. Rayton 1939
      E.C. Crittenden 1940
      A.C. Hardy 1941
      Acoustical Society of America V.O. Knudsen 1939
      W. Waterfall 1940
      H. Fletcher 1941
      Society of Rheology W.P. Davey – Editor 1939
      M. Mooney – President 1939
      R.L. Peek – Secretary 1939
      American Association of Physics Teachers H.L. Dodge 1939
      F. Palmer 1940
      F.K. Richtmyer 1941
    2. The Secretary reported that following the receipt in December by the Chairman of the resignation of Mr. W. W. Buffum as Treasurer a mail vote was taken on the following resolutions:


      1. that the resignation of William W. Buffum as Treasurer of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated be accepted with regret, to take effect on such date as the Chairman of the Board shall designate;
      2. that George B. Pegram be, and hereby is elected Treasurer of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated to take office on the above date with term to the next meeting of the Governing Board;
      3. that Henry A. Barton be appointed Assistant Treasurer in place of Theresa A Kraus, effective on the above date, with power to sign and endorse checks for the American Institute of Physics Incorporated and to perform such other duties as are assigned him by the Treasurer until the next meeting of the Governing Board or until further action by the Executive Committee or the Governing Board;”
      4. The usual form of resolution designating the Irving Trust Company as depository of the Institute and authorizing the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer to sign checks and perform other acts for the corporation.

      A copy of these resolutions is attached to the official Minutes.

      The result of the ballot was fourteen votes in favor of the resolutions, none against.

      The Chairman of the Board declared these elections duly made and designated March 8th as the date on which the newly elected officers should begin their terms.

    3. The Secretary reported the receipt of a memorandum from Mr. W.L. Severinghaus, Secretary of the American Physical Society as follows:

      “On motion it was voted:

      that the American Physical Society undertake the payment of a service charge of 20% for the year 1938 to the American Institute of Physics.

      The Treasurer requested and obtained approval of the procedure of advancing money as needed by the Institute to approximately the total amount which is due the Institute at the end of the year.”

  3. Report of Treasurer:

    Mr. Pegram, duly elected Treasurer, submitted the following report:

    “On March 7, 1938 Mr. W. W. Buffum, former Treasurer, arranged to transfer to the present Treasurer the books and bank account of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated. All the books were taken to the office of the Institute, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. An audit of the cash receipts, disbursements and bank balance of the Institute for the period of January 1, 1938 to February 28, 1938 had been prepared by Pasley & Conroy, certified public accountants, and a copy is herewith submitted.

    In accordance with this audit Mr. Buffum handed to the present Treasurer a check drawn to the American Institute of Physics Incorporated for $12,506.08 which represented the cash balance in the First National Bank of Montclair, New Jersey. The bank still has to account for the collection of out of town checks amounting to $228.22 and the account will be closed out when that collection has been finished.

    At the same time Mr. Buffum gave the Treasurer a copy of a letter which he as Treasurer and manager of the Chemical Foundation had written to the Lancaster Press Inc. authorizing the Lancaster Press Inc. to issue to the Institute of Physics a credit memorandum for $10,567.98 by charging that amount to the Chemical Foundation. A few days later such credit memorandum was received from the Lancaster Press. This credit memorandum is the contribution of the Chemical Foundation to the support of the Institute in connection with the arrangement that was made with respect to the Journal of Chemical Physics under which the Chemical Foundation was to be responsible for the 15% charge on the cost of that journal.

    Immediately upon receipt from Mr. Buffum of the books and cash balance of the Institute a conference was held with a representative of Pasley & Conroy, Dr. Barton and Miss Mitchell in which a new and simplified set-up of the books of the Institute was agreed upon. The representative of Pasley & Conroy the next day supervised the setting-up of the books according to the conclusion of this conference.

    The Institute has before it a serious problem with respect to its cash balance which is occasioned by the existing deficit of nearly twenty-two thousand dollars but relieved to a considerable extent by the fact that subscriptions are collected mainly at the beginning of the year.”

    The Treasurer also submitted a tabulation of the estimated monthly cash position of the American Institute of Physics Incorporated through the year showing that on account of the standing deficit of nearly $22,000 the Institute will be unable to meet its bills after May 31st by amounts which will increase to $16,000 at the end of November. A copy of this tabulation is attached to the Minutes.

    The Treasurer stated that the action of the American Physical Society just noted in the Secretary’s report would of course decrease the estimated cash deficit given in the mimeographed tabulation by approximately $2,000.

    Commenting upon the financial position of the Institute Mr. Richtmyer submitted an informal report that the Board of Directors of the Optical Society of America had voted to increase the amount paid for Institute service or “service charge” from 15% to 20% if each of the other Societies would do the same.

    Mr. Mooney stated that he felt that the Society of Rheology would wish to do something in direct support of the Institute to an amount in proportion to the membership and resources of the Society.

    After some discussion of the inappropriateness of the term “service charge” in connection with the amounts paid to the Institute by the Societies for the support of the work of the Institute as distinguished from the mere cost of the publications it was on motion voted:

    that it is the sense of the Board that in referring to what is termed the “service charge” in the contracts between the Institute and its member societies for publications there should be added for the information of members of the societies the parenthetical explanation (general Institute service).

V. Report of Executive Committee:

The Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee on February 24, 1938 were presented to the Board and action taken on several items of these Minutes was as follows:

  1. Budget for 1938:

    Director Barton requested action upon a budget slightly revised from that contained in the Minutes of the Executive Committee for recommendation to the Board, the main point of this revision being to make a practically balanced budget.

    On motion it was voted:

    to adopt the following budget for 1938:

    Income Total Institute Advertising R.S.I. J.A.P. J.C.P.
    Service Charge $9,000 $9,000  
    Contribution (APS) 2,100 2,100**  
    Associate Mem. 2,500 2,500  
    Miscellaneous Jobs 300 300  
    Advertising 13,500   13,500  
    Journal Subs. 29,400   7,300 13,000 9,100
    Net Published Articles 3,700   650 850 2,200
    Single copies 1,950   450 500 1,000
      $62,450 $13,900 13,500 $8,400 $14,350 12,300
    Organization & Education 7,380 7,380  
    Travel 1,100 1,100  
    Office 1,880 1,880  
    Print & Mailing 29,550   $8,700 13,350 7,500
    Ed. Mech. 3,040   740 1,160 1,140
    Outside Ed. 6,050   1,800 2,800 1,450
    Bus. Man. 4,100   1,960 1,650 490
    Promotion (Circulation)* 4,490   170 4,100 220
    Travel 500   500  
    Advt. Expense 3,910   3,910  
    Misc. 410   200 150 60
      $62,410 $10,360 $3,910 $13,570 $23,710 $10,860
    Profit 40 3,540 9,590 –5170 –9,360 1,440

    * Includes salary and office expense as well as costs for mailing pieces, postage, etc.

    ** Estimated 5% of cost of publishing Physical Society journals. This does not include a similar contribution from the Optical Society, which is dependent on similar action by the other Founder Societies.

  2. Approach to Foundations for Aid:

    On motion it was voted:

    that the Board approves the action of the Executive Committee in making application to the Research Corporation for aid in the form either of a gift or a loan to be used in the support and promotion of the Journal of Applied Physics and authorizes the Chairman and Treasurer to sign a note for the Institute if a loan is offered.

    On motion it was voted:

    that the Board approve approach by the Executive Committee to the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Philosophical Society and possibly the Carnegie Corporation for aid in the form of either a gift or other support for aid toward enabling the Institute to decrease its present deficit.

  3. Symposium on Pyrometry:

    On motion it was voted:

    that the Board approve the plans for a symposium on pyrometry.

  4. Book by Professor Harrison:

    On motion it was voted:

    that the Board approve the action of the Executive Committee with respect to the book on applied physics by Professor George R. Harrison, written with the encouragement of the Institute.

VI. Methods of Financing:

  1. Director Barton submitted two lists of prospects for associate membership and urged each of the members of the Board to look over the names of companies on these lists and write to him about the best man through whom to approach these companies and any other suggestions as to how best to elicit the interest of possible associate members.

  2. On motion it was voted:

    that each of the Societies which takes action similar to that of the Optical Society of America referred to above, looking to larger support for the Institute, should be asked to notify each other member Society as to any action of this kind which it has taken.

(The meeting adjourned for luncheon at 12:50 p.m. and went into session again at 2:05 p.m.)

VII. Resolution on Resignation of Mr. W. W. Buffum:

Mr. Barton submitted to the Board a report of a sub-committee composed of Messrs. Compton and Richtmyer to prepare resolutions respecting the valuable services of Mr. W. W. Buffum to the American Institute of Physics Incorporated both as an officer of the Chemical Foundation and as Treasurer of the Institute.

On motion it was unanimously voted:

that the following statement be adopted, that it be spread upon the Minutes of the Board, and that a copy be sent to Mr. Buffum after the signature of each member of the Board has been affixed:

Resolution on the Resignation of Mr. W. W. Buffum as Treasurer of the American Institute of Physics

In recording the resignation of Mr. William W. Buffum as treasurer of the American Institute of Physics, it is fitting at the same time to record the splendid service which he has rendered to the advancement of physical science in America. His service was efficient and was freely given. He has been resourceful, courageous and stimulating in meeting the problems and opportunities inherent in the new organization. He resigns an important office in the Institute with the sincere friendship and respect of its officers and governing board.

The American Institute of Physics grew out of an interview in which Drs. Karl T. Compton and George B. Pegram requested the assistance of the late Honorable Francis P. Garvan in meeting the publication costs of The Physical Review through a grant from the Chemical Foundation. Mr. Garvan offered to help, but expressed greater interest in aiding some movement which would effectively coordinate the needs and aspirations of the several physics groups of the country. Subsequent discussions with representatives of these groups and with Mr. William W. Buffum, Treasurer and General Manager of the Chemical Foundation, led to formulation of the plan of an American Institute of Physics as a joint cooperative agency for handling publications and other business affairs and for promoting the interests of physics and physicists. The plan, when referred to the several American societies of physics, was received with approval and with appreciation of the vision and experience of Mr. Garvan and Mr. Buffum which gave practical direction to these ideas. Mr. Buffum, particularly, was directly concerned with every step which has been taken.

Following out these preliminary plans, the Institute was formed by votes of the Founder Societies and an office was opened in space provided by the Chemical Foundation (October 1, 1931). Later, the Institute moved into its own office at 11 East 38th Street. It was incorporated as the American Institute of Physics Incorporated, a membership corporation under the laws of the State of New York on May 14, 1932, the five Societies becoming the members. (American Physical Society, Optical Society of America, Acoustical Society of America, Society of Rheology, American Association of Physics Teachers.)

In the course of two years, preparatory work was completed and most of the work of publishing all the journals of the Founder Societies had been taken over the Institute. The Chemical Foundation paid the initial expenses of the Institute including the cost of operating for the first fifteen months and of transferring the journals to the Institute office. For these purposes an outlay of $23,175.03 was necessary. (In addition, the Foundation paid the accumulated deficit of $4,425.42 on The Physical Review, thereby relieving the American Physical Society of indebtedness.) Several times since this initial period, the Chemical Foundation has contributed support to the Institute. The items include dues as an Associate at $175 per year, a contribution of $1,000 in 1934 and various contributions in connection with the Anniversary Meeting in October, 1936 and in other connections. Additional large contributions have been made in connection with the Journal of Chemical Physics.

In 1933, encouraged by the Chemical Foundation which had been spending considerable sums in the support of publication in the borderline field between physics and chemistry for some years, the Institute commenced publication of the Journal of Chemical Physics. The Founder Societies, this same year, agreed to take over the financing of the promotional and other non-publishing work of the Institute by contributing for this purpose an amount equal to 15% of the cost of publishing their journals. This they did in addition to defraying costs of their journals not met by income collected for the journals by the Institute. The Chemical Foundation generously undertook sponsorship of the Journal of Chemical Physics in the same manner as the Societies sponsored their journals.  This journal, already one of the most significant scientific journals in the world, appears now to be on a self-supporting basis. Upon completion of the 1937 audit Mr. Buffum as Treasurer and Manager of the Chemical Foundation wrote to the Lancaster Press authorizing the Lancaster Press to issue to the American Institute of Physics a credit memorandum for $10,567.98 and to charge that amount to the account of the Chemical Foundation. This credit memorandum has been received by the American Institute of Physics and represents a contribution from the Chemical Foundation on account of the publishing deficit and 15% handling charge during the promotional years of the Journal of Chemical Physics.

In 1933 the plan of general circulation of the Review of Scientific Instruments was inaugurated. This plan gave the Institute a unifying medium which served all of the members of the Founder Societies by reporting matters of common interest to all physicists. Subsequent events proved that the effect was worthy of the outlay but, largely because the period was unfavorable to obtaining advertising revenue, the Review was not profitable. Instead, it ran deficits of $11,545.38 in 1933, $8,317.85 in 1934 and $6,784.85 in 1935. Economics in other directions, together with special income items, partly offset these operating deficits and, after a change in plan, the R.S.I. made small profits in 1936. The net accumulated deficit of the Institute on December 31, 1936 was $13,179.33. This item, together with the account receivable already mentioned on account of the Journal of Chemical Physics, impaired the Institute’s cash position so that it needed credit to the amount of $22,598.21 plus necessary working capital. In 1937 this need grew on account of the promotional expense incurred by the new Journal of Applied Physics. For the past several years, the Chemical Foundation has provided the necessary credit through arrangements with the printing house in Lancaster. The Institute is greatly indebted to Mr. Buffum for his part in enabling the operations of the Institute so to continue.

Moreover, since the formation of the Institute, Mr. Buffum has been its Treasurer and he has had the books kept in his office at the Chemical Foundation under his direction.  In his capacity as Treasurer, Mr. Buffum has attended the meetings of the Governing Board and its Executive Committee. At these meetings and in frequent other conferences with the officers of the Institute and in serving as Treasurer he has given freely of his advice and time. It is impossible to convey to him anything like adequate thanks. His experience, also, in the promotion of chemistry in America has been valuable in guiding the policies of those whose efforts are aimed at the advancement of physics. Everyone who has come into contact with Mr. Buffum in the course of these activities has gained in enthusiasm and zeal from the force of his personality.

WHEREAS, therefore, Mr. William W. Buffum, as Treasurer of the American Institute of Physics, has performed notable and generous service to physics and to physicists in America, therefore be it

RESOLVED: that the resignation of Mr. William W. Buffum as Treasurer of the American Institute of Physics be accepted with regret; that the Governing Board of the Institute hereby express its thanks to Mr. Buffum and its sincere appreciation of his friendly and effective help, and that the foregoing statement and this resolution be entered in the minutes of the Governing Board and a copy transmitted to Mr. Buffum.”

It was thereupon voted:

to publish in one of the journals of the Institute an abstract of the preamble and the resolution concerning Mr. Buffum.

VIII. Report of Nominating Committee:

Mr. Palmer for the Nominating Committee appointed at the beginning of the meeting submitted the following nominations; terms of nominees to be until the next Annual Meeting of the Board:

For Chairman John T. Tate
Secretary George B. Pegram
Treasurer George B. Pegram
Assistant Treasurer Henry A. Barton

On motion it was voted without objection:

that Mr. Barton be directed to cast a single ballot for the Board in favor of the nominees for the several offices as made by the Committee.

Mr. Barton reported the ballot cast and the Chairman declared the nominees elected.

On motion it was voted:

that the Executive Committee be requested to study the question of the treasurership and the relief of Mr. Pegram from the duties of this office as soon as feasible.

IX. Publicity:

On motion it was voted:

that the Governing Board recommend to the Founder Societies that they consider adoption of a publicity procedure as follows:

  1. when meeting programs are being prepared, require all speakers (invited or otherwise) to send abstracts to the Secretary in duplicate;
  2. as soon as each paper is accepted for the program, the Secretary to send the duplicate to the Director of the Institute;
  3. the Director to secure from speakers additional material in the case of some papers possibly of news value; and
  4. to make them available to news writers in advance as much as possible;
  5. the society to appoint for each meeting a Publicity Officer to take charge at the meeting, his duty being to have available copies of all material collected by the Director and to be available at all times to answer questions or introduce news men to the speakers. This officer should have a headquarters, preferably at the registration desk. He should be someone not involved in committee or other duties during the meeting. He could be given assistance if necessary to work on shifts.

X. Employment of Physicists:

Mr. Barton referred to the limited amount of work that the Institute has been doing toward the employment of physicists and submitted the following resolutions which were on motion adopted by the Board:

that the Governing Board recommends to the Founder Societies a cooperative study of the task of placing graduates and others in suitable positions of employment. The Institute will cooperate, will demonstrate its present placement service and, to a very limited extent, can offer clerical help to any plan for continuing placement service under voluntary auspices (e.g. a joint committee); suggestions include not only continuation of the present limited procedure operated by the Institute but (a) greater initiative with employers, (b) properly attended appointment offices at meetings to bring employers and candidates together.

On motion it was voted:

that the Board authorize a committee to study the question of how to aid the employment of physicists, this committee to include at least one member to be appointed by the Chairman on nomination of each of the Founder Societies.

XI. On motion of Mr. Palmer it was voted:

that the Board express to the Director its appreciation of his generous action in proposing in order to help bring the budget of the Institute in balance to give up the research assistant that he has heretofore had in accordance with arrangements that were made at the time he was first appointed Director.

XII. Appointment of Committees:

On motion it was voted:

that the Chairman should make appointments to the following committees to serve until the next Annual Meeting:

  • Executive Committee
  • Committee on Printing Contracts
  • Committee on Science Abstracts
  • Advisory Council on Applied Physics


The Chairman subsequently appointed the following Committees:


Executive Committee:

  • George B. Pegram – representing the American Physical Society
  • Arthur C. Hardy – representing the Optical Society of America
  • Wallace Waterfall – representing the Acoustical Society of America
  • F.K. Richtmyer – representing the American Association of Physics Teachers
  • R.L. Peek Jr. – representing the Society of Rheology


Committee on Science Abstracts:


  • George B. Pegram, Chairman
  • Henry A. Barton
  • John T. Tate


Committee on Printing Contracts:


  • Henry A. Barton, Chairman
  • George B. Pegram
  • John T. Tate


Advisory Council on Applied Physics:


Appointments to be made later.

XIII. Adjournment:

The Governing Board adjourned at three p.m.