For several decades there has been an ongoing effort to write about and maintain the history of the Population Association of America. The effort was launched by Anders Lunde, who spent most of his professional career at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Washington, D.C. (now part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control). When he became PAA Secretary-Treasurer in 1965, Lunde was dismayed by the dearth of usable PAA files he inherited, and 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 lists of officers and board members dating back to PAA’s founding in 1931. Lunde then expanded on these data by interviewing past presidents who were still alive at that time, beginning with Frank Notestein, former director of 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, then with the Population Reference Bureau to assume the role of PAA Historian. She subsequently brought the oral histories, which she titled Demographic Destinies, up to date before retiring in 1994.
The PAA Board recruited John Weeks, San Diego State University, to take over the role of PAA Historian. He maintained and hosted the PAA online historical archives for many years before it was integrated into the PAA website in 2016. Weeks and the History Committee members continue to interview past PAA Presidents and provide brief histories of the PAA and a timeline of PAA events.
History Committee Members
John R. Weeks, Historian
San Diego State University
University of New Mexico