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How it Began: The Founding of the Association

Lacking a vehicle for sharing experiences and ideas on instructional matters, a small group of accounting teachers met privately on December 30, 1915, during the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Washington, and resolved to form an organization that would serve their needs.  They composed a letter that was sent to accounting teachers in some 150 universities and colleges in which they proposed “the organization of an association of instructors in accounting in the various universities” with four purposes:

  1. To promote more intimate and cordial relations among such instructors.
  2. To offer an opportunity for the discussion of subjects of interest in the field of accounting and accounting instruction.
  3. To institute plans tending toward the standardization of accounting courses in instructions of university grade.
  4. To formulate a policy with regard to transfers of students from one institution to another.

The letter was signed by six men:
Fayette H. Elwell, University of Wisconsin
Charles C. Huntington, Ohio State University
Martin J. Shugrue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Bauer, Princeton University
John E. Trevelen, University of Texas
John R. Wildman, New York University*

Wildman, the leading force in the group, received 60 replies, all favorable. Sensing that many accounting teachers were interested in the proposal, Wildman suggested to the respondents, in a letter circulated during the summer of 1916, that those who were members of the American Economic Association to break away from the next convention for an organizational meeting of the proposed association of accounting instructors. On December 1, 1916, Wildman took out incorporation papers in the District of Columbia in the name of “The American Association of University Instructors in Accounting.”

*Quotations and names of signatories are from a copy of the letter and dated December 30, 1915, contained in the "Minutes of the First Meeting of the American Association of University Instructors in Accounting, held December 28, 1916 at Hotel Deshler, Columbus, Ohio."

Text from American Accounting Association: Its First 50 Years 1916-1966 by Stephen A. Zeff

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