Maximizing Impact with the AJHA Auction

22 Jun 2023 1:30 PM | Autumn Lorimer Linford (Administrator)

By Tracy Lucht 

It started with a book on my shelf, a gem from 1941 once held in Iowa State’s journalism library.  Titled Lady Editor, this “how-to” for women would make a rich primary source for the right project. I had always intended to do something with it but never did. Might this be a good item for the AJHA auction, our annual fundraiser to support travel for graduate students who come to the convention? I could think of several scholars who might scoop it up.

Then I began to wonder: What else could I bundle with this book? I thought about some creative packages I’d seen at previous auctions and decided it would be fun to have a theme. It also occurred to me that if I put some of my own money into this, I could maximize my impact by supporting not only AJHA, but also local businesses, causes and other organizations I respect.

Thus, the idea for a “Nevertheless, She Persisted” auction package was born. Every item in this package will be woman-authored and/or will support a woman-owned organization. So far, my bundle is likely to include:

  •  The aforementioned Lady Editor: Careers for Women in Publishing (1941).
  •  Brooke Kroeger’s new book Undaunted, purchased from Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama, along with a stick-on signature plate from the author.
  • A hand-painted planner and candle from Warm Wishes in Jefferson, Iowa, a town that has been energetic in its support of women entrepreneurs.
  • Craft beer and/or root beer from Peace Tree, the first woman-owned brewery in Iowa.
  • A $25 one-time subscription to Black Iowa News, an independent local news platform that highlights Black perspectives.
  • A $25 donation in the winning bidder’s name to The 19th News, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that focuses on gender and policy.
  • Mad Men and Working Women, a book I co-authored with Erika Engstrom, Jane Marcellus and Kimberly Wilmot Voss.
  • A water bottle from Velorosa, which sells gear and supports women in cycling.
  • Donated stickers and other merch.

The book that launched this idea is dedicated to “the lady editor of tomorrow.” My labor of love is dedicated to media historians of the future and women who are committed to making a difference. Assembling it has led me to imagine what other themes we might see at the auction this year. Perhaps something sports-related? That seems to be a crowd pleaser. A bundle focused on a particular year or historical period? Or maybe folks from rival schools will put together competing packages and see who can draw the higher bid?

We are a creative bunch. Let’s have some fun and support our emerging scholars. My bundle is still a work in progress, but I plan to submit it as soon as possible. You should, too. Many thanks to Jon Marshall and everyone who has worked to help keep this AJHA tradition alive.

Committee considerations

Speaking of volunteers, my work as 1st vice president has focused on AJHA’s committees. My job is to ensure they have what they need and are functioning as intended. At this point in the year, I collect annual reports from the committee chairs. As a reminder, these reports are due to me by Aug. 1. I will use them to come up with a list of budget priorities and other proposals for the board to consider in September. I also use these reports to see which committees need members or new chairs. If you are interested in taking on a leadership role, please let me know.

Finally, as President Mike Conway recently communicated, the board will be looking for ways to rein in spending as AJHA incrementally raises membership dues. As part of that process, please watch for a survey from the Long-Range Planning Committee on which AJHA activities and amenities you find the most valuable and important – and don’t hesitate to offer your own ideas. For example, one committee chair recently suggested we offer special-topic webinars throughout the year. Another suggested we more aggressively reach out to scholars doing historical research in related disciplines. We want your feedback, so keep it coming.

Serving as your 1st VP has filled me with admiration and gratitude for this special organization and its members. I look forward to seeing you in Columbus!

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