During the summer and fall of 1952, the idea of organizing a Croatian cultural society was born among Croatian intellectuals in New York who had recently arrived to the Americap shores. While visiting New York in the summer of 1952, Professor Clement S. Mihanovich of St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri encouraged these Croatians to proceed to the realization of this idea. The late Professor Walter J. Reeve of Fordham University, when acquainted with this idea, wholeheartedly approved of it. He proposed that the organization should be known as the Croatian Academy of America. After several months of discussion and consultation, the Constituent Assembly of seventeen founding members approved the Constitution of the Croatian Academy of America on April 19, 1953, and elected its first Executive Council. Professor Mihanovich was elected president, and Professor Reeve, first vice-president. Because of the great distance from St. Louis, Missouri to New York, it was Professor Reeve who actually conducted the affairs of the Academy during its first year of existence. The first Annual General Assembly, convening on May 21, 1954, elected Professor Reeve president. He was reelected to the presidency in 1955. The third and the fourth Annual General Assembly held in 1956 and in 1957 respectively, elected Rev. Nicholas Fabijanić president: The fifth Annual General Assembly, meeting on December 27, 1958, elected Karlo Mirth president for 1959. At the same time, the following members of the Executive Committee had been elected: Vice-presidents, Jerome Jareb and Rev. Ivan Ilijić; Treasurer, Miro Gal; Executive Secretary, Niksa Milosevich; Recorder, Mrs. Olga Gevaj-Hoebel.
The Constitution of the Academy defines its aim in article two as follows: "The sole purpose of the Academy shall be to further the understanding of Croatian - history and culture: the Academy shall undertake to encourage mutual assistance among its members in order to facilitate the attainment of that end."
Classes of membership are described in article 5, "The Academy shall comprise the following classes of members!
A) REGULAR MEMBERS: these shall enjoy the rights of voting and being elected, provided that they have been members in good standing for at least six (6) months; Regular Members shall pay ten dollars ($10.00) annually in dues;
B) CORRESPONDING MEMBERS: these shall be chosen from among the distinguished leaders in the field of Cr tiap studies throughout the world . . .
C) HONORARY MEMBERS .. .
D) CONTRIBUTING MEMBERS: these shall be of two kinds:
1 — Life Contributing: those contributing five hundred dollars ($500_00) to the Academy and
— Annual Contributing: those contributing fifty dollars ($50.00) per annum to the Academy:"
Professor Reeve was a guiding hand in the first three years of the Academy's life. His untimely death on June 9, 1958, was profoundly regretted and sorely felt by the Academy. It will cherish his memory forever.
The main activities of the Academy were centered primarily among its members in the New York area. The Academy organized lectures and social gatherings in New York City. Although the majority of members speak or understand Croatian the lectures are nevertheless given in English and are freely accessible to everyone interested. Members and by members invited guests and friends have participated in social gatherings. The Academy has welcomed visiting scholars and artists. On October 24, 1956 a: testimonial dinner was tendered. Mr. Kristian Kreković, a well known Croatian painter of international fame, who at that time was exhibiting his collection "Fabulous Peru: Past and Present" in the Low Memorial Library of Columbia University, after having exhibited it with great success in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Syracuse. The artist had discussed his work, and his plans. In 1957, Kreković executed a one and a half life size head of a Bosnian Moslem peasant. This work, entitled Tužna Bosna, had been donated by the artist to the Academy. Mr. Ivan Meštrovič, a Croatian-born artist with residence at Notre Dame University, who is considered ;of. the greatest living sculptors, has also demonstrated his interest in the work of the Academy and has sent a message encouraging its activity.
The Croatian Academy of America was incorporated as a nonprofit learned organization in the State of New York on December 17, 1950. As of December 1, 1959, the Academy numbers seventy one regular members. Fifty eight of them are United States citizens, four Canadian citizens, and nine, legal residents of the United States.
The Journal of Croatian Studies is published by the Croatian Academy of America, Inc., P. O. Box 1767, Grand Central Station, New York 17, N.Y. Editors: Jerome Jareb and Karlo Mirth. Subscription is $2.50 per volume.