ASM Branch Information Available in the Archives



The Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) contains materials pertaining to ASM Branches, including Branch correspondence with ASM Headquarters, newsletters, meeting programs and announcements, and Branch chronologies, among other items.  A guide to what is available in the Archives is listed below.


While most Branches maintain their own Archives within their Branch, the CHOMA Committee is encouraging Branches to prepare or update their current histories/chronologies and deposit them in the ASM Archives.  Branch histories serve as an excellent resource on the history of microbiology at the local level and as such are a critical component of the CHOMA collection.   


For additional information on what is available in CHOMA, or if you are interested in compiling your local Branch's chronology or writing a Branch history and would like to discuss ideas on how to proceed, please contact the ASM Archivist, Jeff Karr (


Branch Histories Available from the ASM Archives

Over 30 ASM Branch Histories/Chronologies are in the Archives. 


Regional History Files: United States

In 1934, Barnett Cohen was appointed first Archivist of the Society of American Bacteriologists (now ASM). One of Dr. Cohen's long-term projects was to compile a history of the science of bacteriology in the United States, comprised of regionally focused chapters written by the scientists who were involved in the early days. Although the project was never completed (Cohen died suddenly in 1952), a number of chapters did get written: some were published elsewhere, and some exist only in manuscript. Those chapters were the beginnings of the regional history collections. The regional history files were used as a major resource for Paul F. Clark's Pioneer Microbiologists of America (1961), which is dedicated to Cohen.


Records of the Society Pertaining to Local ASM Branches

Files generally contain lists of Branch officers, histories, programs and announcements, newsletters and some correspondence.


Regional Symposia on the Local History of Microbiology

Barnett Cohen of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, first Archivist for the Society of American Bacteriologists, initiated a round-table symposium series at the Society’s Annual Meeting which examined the history of bacteriology in the area where the meeting was being held.  The symposia were held throughout his term and for a few years after his death.  In a number of cases, typed copies of the remarks by various speakers were deposited in the Society’s Archives.  For the convenience of researchers interested in local bacteriological history, the holdings pertaining to all of these round tables are summarized here.


Branch-Related Material in the Reports of the Local Committees on Arrangements

From the earliest days of the Society of American Bacteriologists (SAB), the arrangements for the Society's annual meeting were handled by local volunteers in the cities selected as the meeting site. When local Branches began to be formed, they began to issue formal invitations to host the annual meeting, with the promise to handle local arrangements. These local committees submitted reports after the meeting, both for accounting purposes, and in order to offer criticisms and suggestions for the benefit of future hosting Branches. The reports which are maintained in the Society's Archives are listed here.