The idea of an association to serve the needs of Pennsylvania’s political scientists was born during the second term of Governor Gifford Pinchot’s Administration (1931-1935). With a governor steeped in the “progressive Republican” Reform tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, many were excited by the prospect of improving state government in the Commonwealth. While serving as a member of the Pinchot Administration, Prof. Clyde L. King of the University of Pennsylvania assumed responsibility for sending invitations to a group of political scientists to meet at the state capitol with representatives of the Administration. As a result two informal conferences were held in 1931 and 1932. These gatherings were interesting and profitable but did not immediately lead to formal organization. With Prof. King’s departure from Harrisburg and subsequent death in 1937, these informal state meetings were suspended.
In 1938-1939 a committee of political scientists under the chairmanship of Prof. W. Brooke Graves of Temple University undertook to revive the annual state meetings and to plan for a permanent state association. This organizing committee acted in cooperation with the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Political Science Association, who was interested in promoting the establishment of state and regional groups of political scientists. The Pennsylvania Political Science Association, the first state as opposed to regional association, was formally organized at its first meeting in Harrisburg, April 22, 1939. The recognized father of our association was the distinguished W. Brooke Graves, for many years Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Department at TempleUniversity and, late in his career, head of the Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress; he was widely acclaimed for his authoritative text on state government.
According to the original constitution, adopted at the first meeting in 1939, the Association’s purposes were “to stimulate research in government, politics and administration, with special reference to Pennsylvania; hold meetings for the discussion of state problems; and encourage political scientists to become better acquainted with the affairs of the Commonwealth.” With the launching of the American Society for Public Administration later in 1939, the Constitution was amended in 1941 to give more specific recognition to public administration as a way of discouraging the establishment of a separate competing state public administration association. In fact, at its annual meeting in 1940, the Association changed its name from the Pennsylvania Political Science Association to the Pennsylvania Political Science and Public Administration Association. Two members of the Public Administration group were subsequently placed on the Executive Council and the program was enlarged to include roundtables on Public Administration. The organizing committee believed it desirable to emphasize state problems at the annual meetings, which were intended to provide opportunities for discussion and contact with Commonwealth officials.
Under new business at the Association’s 1960 meeting, Franz B. Gross of Pennsylvania Military College, now Widener University, raised a question as to whether PPS/PPA programs might be broadened to include other than state and local government affairs. President John Ferguson responded that while the Constitution provided that it shall be the purpose of this Association to encourage “scientific investigation and research in the field of government, politics and administration with special reference to the state and local problems of Pennsylvania …” yet the Program Committee was at liberty to develop any type of program which would please the majority of organization members. Returning to the subject of appropriate scope of Association programs Rocco Tressolini of Lehigh University suggested that programs should be provided that would be of interest to all political scientists regardless of their specialty “in order to concern ourselves abut all branches of political science.”
When, by April of 1973, it became apparent that the primary interest of members was no longer State and Local Government and Public Administration, the Association voted to drop “and Public Administration” from its name. At the Association meetings of the very next year (1974), however, Dr. James Alexander of the University of Pittsburgh expressed concern about dropping “Public Administration” from the title of the Association.
Shortly after its founding, the Association began the publication of an annual newsletter, a practice which finally disappeared somewhere along the way, but was revived at the 1978 meetings. Early in its history, the Association also published an annual state directory of members and others interested in the field. At the Association’s 1940 meetings, James Charlesworth reported that the Research Committee was in the process of preparing a complete bibliography of Pennsylvania publications on state and local government, which would include between 4500 and 5000 items.
In late September, 1957, Henry Holt and Co. published a 120 page study entitled Guide to Pennsylvania Politics written by two members of the Association: Edward F. Cooke of the University of Pittsburgh and G. Edward Janosik of the University of Pennsylvania, both of whom were Directors of Citizenship Clearing House activities in Pennsylvania. The Guide included chapters on party trends, organization, campaigning, finance, conduct of elections, nominating procedures and many other aspects of Pennsylvania politics.
Since 1986, the Association has published its own journal. The story of Commonwealth is recounted in a separate section below.
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At the Association’s 1951 meeting, members present passed a resolution, introduced by Dr. McKenna, that a committee be appointed to study and implement a plan for an internship program. Dr. Daugherty suggested that the Chair of the Committee should be drawn from college personnel but that the Committee should include government personnel. In reporting on the internship program at the 1955 meetings, Vice President William Hancock moved that “the Association instruct the President to contact the Governor of Pennsylvania to make an appointment when officials of the Association could present him with a proposal to implement an internship program in the government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Presumably this resolution was approved.
At the Association’s 1957 meeting, Prof. Wallace Brewster presented the final report of the Internship Program Committee. In this connection, Dr. John H. Ferguson, Secretary of Administration in the Governor’s Office, discussed the joint responsibility of the Civil Service Commission and the Office of Administration in the development of an internship training program. He pointed out that the State had established the classification of Public Administration Trainee with a salary range of from $3,100 to $4,200 and that it was hoped to have ten to twelve trainees from Pennsylvania universities and colleges in the 1957-58 program. Later in 1957 it was reported that the first five public administration trainees in the Commonwealth’s program came from Allegheny College, Dickinson College, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, and Wilkes College; these students were assigned to the following state agencies: Agriculture, Labor and Industry, State Library, Civil Service Commission, and Public Instruction.
At the plenary session of the 1959 meeting, Forrest L. Schaffer, Assistant Training Coordinator of the Governor’s Office of Administration reported favorably on the results of the State government’s public administration internship program. At the 1960 meetings, Schaffer reported that there were eight trainees enrolled in the Public Administration Trainee Program for 1959-60, representing the following colleges and universities: Alright, Bloomsburg State, Chatham, Gettysburg, Lycoming, Mt. St. Mary’s, and Pennsylvania State. Agencies employing trainees were as follows: The departments of Highways, Property and Supplies, Public Welfare, Public Instruction; The State Civil Service Commission and the Office of Administration.
Called upon to comment on the Pennsylvania Center for Education in Politics at Franklin and Marshall College, Dr. Wise made the following statement with respect to “academic year internships.”
"State and local internships during the academic year may be given increased emphasis and attention. Many additional possibilities exist for productive internships with party and elected governmental officials and candidates for office. We know that the establishment and supervision of truly educational internships means much careful work on the part of campus representatives. Yet the advantage for students and for academic-political relations are such that we urge you to give, if possible, considerably more attention to these activities."
Dr. Wise indicated that a typical internship proposal receiving support from the Pennsylvania Center for Education in Politics was a six or eight week internship with a candidate for office. For students spending ten hours per week working for the candidate for a six or eight week period, the Pennsylvania Center for Education in Politics would contribute fifty percent of the stipend.
At the 1966 meeting of the Association, the Secretary-Treasurer, Charles A. Hollister, announced the receipt of a letter from Dr. William C. Havard, Chairman, Department of Government, University of Massachusetts, which contained the following paragraph:
"At the spring meeting of the New England Political Science Association a resolution was passed to explore the possibilities of organizing a new political science journal.Among other charges, the resolution stipulated that we should explore the possibility that New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey associations might have an interest in working out some sort of cooperative basis for sponsorship so that the regional basis for launching this venture could be broadened beyond the New England states proper. The members of your Executive Committee have stated that we should explore this mater further.
At the Pennsylvania Association's 1969 meetings, it was reported that the Political Science Associations of New York, New England and Pennsylvania had been moving slowly but steadily toward some kind of joint operation and perhaps organization. Both the Executive Committee and the general membership voted overwhelmingly in support of this general direction. The first general meeting of the Northeastern Political Science Association was scheduled for November 1969. In 1973 Joseph Peters, President of the Pennsylvania Association, recommended for the office of First Vice President (next in line for the presidency) of the Northeast Political Science Association Eugene Miller of Ursinus College, who for a very long time had been a prime mover in the Pennsylvania Association.
At the 1981 meeting, First Vice President (Program Chair) Priscilla Greeley Hopkirk presented the first Pennsylvania Political Science Association “Best Paper” certificate to Sandra Featherman of Temple University and William Rosenberg, now of Drexel University for a paper entitled “Ethnic Voting Patterns Divergent Perspectives in a Local Charter Referendum.” (This type of presentation was inspired by a meeting of representatives of state and regional associations at the 1980 meeting of the American Political Science Association in Washington, D.C.) Since 1981 “Best Paper” certificates have been presented to the following:
James Eisenstein of Pennsylvania State University for a paper entitled “Patterns of Campaign Finance in Pennsylvania’s 1982 Legislative Elections.” (1982)
John Peeler of Bucknell University for paper entitled “Costa Rican Democracy: Pluralism and Class Rule.” (1985)
At the Association's 1984 meetings, the possibility of publishing a journal was discussed at length. It was concluded that sufficient interest and resources existed to make such an undertaking feasible and that a journal would be an asset to the association in terms of prestige and membership attraction. Considered was the possibility of “institutional sponsors" to contribute about $100 each. For the purpose of developing a detailed proposal including an estimate of costs and suggestions for funding, a committee consisting of Donald Tannenbaum (Chair), Z. Irwin, Annette Steigelfest, and M. Roskin was formed. Established in 1985, the first issue of Commonwealth: A Journal of Political Science was released in 1986. This journal publishes articles from among the many subfields and perspectives within the discipline as well as those of an interdisciplinary nature; it encourages scholars studying Pennsylvania state and regional politics and public policy to submit articles. Donald Tannenbaum of Gettysburg College became the Commonwealth’s first editor and Annette Steigelfest of Widener University its first Managing Editor.
Occasionally the Association has taken a position or expressed concern regarding a public policy issue. For example, in 1956 after a full discussion about the problems of instruction on the secondary-school level, President Roger Wells was instructed to appoint a committee to review this matter with the Superintendent of Public Instruction and report at the 1957 Annual Conference.
At the 1967 luncheon meeting, the following resolution was adopted:
"That the Pennsylvania Political Science and Public Administration Association endorse the principle of the state constitutional convention and strongly recommend that the members, and the citizens of the Commonwealth, work now in behalf of and at the May 16th primary, support the propositions that provide for the modernizing of our state constitution."
With the exception of the war years of 1943, 1944, and 1945 when travel restrictions precluded meetings, the Pennsylvania Political Science Association met in Harrisburg each year from 1939 to 1969. During those years Association meetings were scheduled to coincide with meetings of the new defunct Intercollegiate Conference on Government (ICG), a student organization which, under the auspices of Genevieve Blatt, ran an annual model state legislature. It was convenient for ICG faculty advisors from all over the state to attend the Friday evening dinner meeting of the Pennsylvania Political Science Asociation. These annual meetings were held in either the Harrisburg or Penn Harris Hotels; both of these hotels were needed to accommodate both participants in our meetings and student delegates to ICG. Gathered at the Mayflower Hotel in September of 1959, members of the Executive Committee (John Ferguson, George Blair, John Vanderzell, Roger Well, Alton Kidd) discussed the question of whether the Association should continue to meet with the Intercollegiate Conference on Government; it was argued that many faculty members were expected to spend so much time with their student delegates that they were unable to give the PPS/PPA the time or thought which it deserved. The Executive Committee decided to bring this matter to the full membership at the 1960 meetings, but it was to be another ten years before the Association would disconnect from ICG and leave Harrisburg; in 1970 the Association’s annual meeting was held in Philadelphia at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Some of the members present at the 1959 Executive Committee meeting referred to above, believed that we should endeavor to “academize” ourselves by conducting our yearly meetings on college campuses. It was not, however, until 1973 that our first college campus meeting was held at Dickinson College in Carlisle. Other colleges which have hosted our meetings are as follows: Duquesne University of Pittsburgh (1974), Elizabethtown, Franklin and Marshall, Gettysburg (1989), Juniata, Kings, Penn State (1981), Shippensburg, Ursinus (1988), Widener, York.
For three years prior to our total involvement in World War II, members of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association gathered for an informal breakfast meeting at the time of the American Political Science Association convention, then held in December of each year: 35 present at Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C. (1939); 28 present at Palmer House, Chicago (1940); 26 present at Hotel Pennsylvania, New York (1941). The Palmer House charged $1.03 per plate. At the breakfast meetings of 1940 and 1941, the Pennsylvanians invited as a guest of honor the President Elect of the American Political Science Association, Dr. William Anderson of the Universityof Minnesota and Dr. Frederick Ogg of the University of Wisconsin. In extending his greetings, Dr. Anderson expressed his view that we should approach cautiously the tasks which we propose to do in the war effort (World War II) in order that civilian life might continue without needless sacrifice of talents.
Through the years both total membership and attendance at annual meetings has fluctuated widely. At the first annual meeting (April 21, 1939) at Harrisburg’s Penn Harris Hotel, twenty-seven members, one speaker, two wives and two guests enjoyed dinner at the great cost of $1.50 per plate. The next year (1940), the number of members attending jumped form twenty-seven to fifty-seven; meals cost $1.25 for dinner and $1.00 for lunch. In 1952 seventy political scientists, public administrators and guests were recorded. Since 1981 numbers in attendance have been expanded by invitations issued to students. (It was recorded that the Third Annual Student Conference of the Pennsylvania Political Association met at Washington and Jefferson College in April of 1984.) In recent years of total membership has averaged while attendance at annual meetings has ranged from [the text breaks off here]
Consistently over the years dues have remained very low. For twenty years (1939-1959) yearly dues were $2.00 as set by the original constitution. At the 1958 meetings, members approved unanimously a motion introduced by William D. Willis and seconded by Ralph D. Tive to amend Article III, Section I of the Association’s constitution to set the annual membership dues at $3.00 to become effective in 1959. The most recent revisions of the constitution in 1985 included removing the set dues provisions, but the current dues are a modest $5.00. Peter Mayer of St. Francis College (Loretto) said in 1973: “Thank you for the dues circular; particularly for the ‘absurdly low dues.' Organizations like these should be cherished.”
Over the years programs have included the usual panels of paper presenters and discussants, round-table discussions, and after dinner or luncheon addresses. A sampling of speakers and topics follows:
Dr. M. Louis Rutherford, Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania on “changing local/state/federal relations” (1949)
Hermann A. Lowe, Esq., Washington newspaper correspondent on “Things I was Taught about American Government at College that Aren’t so” (1949)
Dr. Edgar B. Cole, Moderator of the University of Pennsylvania on “Present Challenges to Political Scientists” (1952). In order to bring to students the realities of politics, he urged the use in the classroom of new instruments for rendering information such as television and tape recordings.
Hugh Scott, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania on “Congress and the Political Parties”. (1961)
Robert Novak, author of The Agony of the GOP, 1964 on the subject of his book. (1965)
Ralph K. Huitt, Assistant Secretary for Legislation, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (on leave from University of Wisconsin) on “Congress: The View from Downtown”. (1966)
Ralph Widener, Executive Director of the Appalachian Regional Commission on “Appalachia: An Experiment in Creative Federalism”. (1966)
Robert Sidman, Executive Director, A Modern Constitution for Pennsylvania, Inc. on a subject related to the title of his organization. (1967)
John Ferguson, Professor of Political Science at Penn State University on “The History of the Pennsylvania Political Science Association”. (1974)
Roger Wells, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania on “The Crisis in Central America”. (1983)
Richard Joslyn, Professor of Political Science, Temple University on “Politics and the Media”. (1984)
Tom DeWall, Director of Harrisburg Office of Common Cause on “Reapportionment in Pennsylvania”. (1982)
Raymond Schaeffer, Governor of Pennsylvania (date uncertain)
Harry Bailey of Temple University on “Black Politics” (date uncertain)
Prior to the 1965 meetings, consideration was given to inviting former Vice President Richard Nixon, to address the Association on “the Democratic proclivities of political scientists.” Apparently nothing came of this suggestion. Examples of round-table discussions are as follows:
In 1970 a round-table on urban politics was held. The two discussants were John W. Hopkirk, Chair of Liberal Arts Division, Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener) and Frank Colon, Professor of Political Science, Lehigh University.
In 1981 a round-table on “The Rule-Making Process in Pennsylvania – Past, Present, and Future” coordinated by Lloyd W. Woodruff of Pennsylvania State University and a panel devoted to a discussion of “Political Socialization and Psychology.”
In 1986 the round-table topic was “the United States Constitution.”
In 1988 the round-table topic was the “primary elections.”
At the Association’s 1978 meeting, a new program feature was added: “A Short Course Workshop: Using Setups to Teach Political Science,” sponsored by the Division of Education Affairs of the American Political Science Association. Since that date at a number of our meetings, computer-related workshops have been featured.
At the Association’s 1955 meetings, R. Jean Brownlee’s request that another place for storing records be provided provoked a discussion about the records which were scattered in various personal files. Vice-President Hancock suggested that following completion of W. Brooke Graves “history of the Association” that the records should be “disposed of with discretion.” The somewhat sketchy nature of this history is evidence of a continuing record keeping problem.