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A Brief History
of the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology
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The papers of the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology were placed in the Wayne State University Archives in June of 1975 by Dr. Fred Rights, Historian and microbiologist of the WSU School of Medicine. Historical additions to the collections are welcomed.


The following brief history was published by the Archive staff and the author is unknown.


"The Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology began in January, 1917 with the organization of the Bio-Club of Detroit. The original eighteen charter members, predominately bacteriologists, met on an informal basis. Dr. R.W. Pryer was the first President and Dr. J.W. Bunker was the first Secretary-Treasurer. The dues were five dollars per year and entitled the members to dinner at each of the four meetings held.

In 1920, the B10-Club disbanded and unanimously voted to reorganize as a branch of the Society of the American Bacteriologists. Thus, the Bio-Club became the Detroit Local Branch of the Society of American Bacteriologists. The first regular meeting was held on March 9, 1921 and the Constitution and By-Laws were approved and adopted. This action was confirmed in April of the same year by the Council of the National Association. The territory covered by the Detroit local was Detroit and the suburbs. The Annual Meeting of the Society of American Bacteriologists was held in Detroit in December, 1922.

The organization became the Michigan Branch of the Society of American Bacteriologists in 1936. The Constitution was revised in May and the By-Laws were adopted at the first meeting, October 27, 1936. Revisions in the By-Laws were made in March, 1953. An invitation was extended by the local branch to the National Association to hold their annual meeting in Detroit in 1945 but their attempts were interrupted by travel restrictions due to World War II. A successful meeting was held in May 1946 and the Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting was also held in Detroit, April 28 -May 3, 1957.

A change in the name of the local branch was required due to the change in the title of the National Organization. The Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology was established by adoption of the new By-Laws on October 12, 1962. These By-Laws were amended on April 2, 1971. The Sixty-Eighth Annual Meeting was held in Detroit by the National Association from May 5 - 10, 1968. During this meeting a Roundtable was held, May 8, 1968, entitled "Historical Highlights of Microbiology in Michigan."


In 1973, there were 343 active members and 20 honorary members. Meetings were held three times a year: April, October and January. The spring meeting is the Annual Business Meeting of the Branch. Permanent committees were: Program, Education, Nominating, History and Executive.

Written by: Dick Bell, Branch Archivist, September 12, 2000


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Last updated: December 26, 2018