Searching for the First TQ

As Heritage Chair, one of my main responsibilities is overseeing the content of our archives housed at Iowa State University. I am on a perpetual quest to find appropriate items that might be ripe for inclusion. Yet I must always be mindful to meet Iowa State's Special Collections Mission, part of which is “...creating access to, providing reference assistance for, and promoting the use of...” their Special Collections rare and unique materials.

While recently perusing some of our last “print-edition” issues of Technical Quarterly (TQ), I came across the “Technical Director’s Notes” written by past MBAA Technical Director Ray Klimovitz. In Volume 45, No. 2 (2008), Ray wrote a thoughtful piece about the very first print edition of the TQ. That very first edition was printed the winter of 1964, the year before Ray became an MBAA member. Upon reading Ray's piece, I was struck by the not-so-obvious reasons for the creation of the TQ in the first place.

In that very first TQ issue, Volume 1, No. 1, our 1964 MBAA President, Ruben Schneider commented:

This, the first issue of the MBAA Technical Quarterly represents the continuing progress of the brewing industry in technical advancement ... There has been a need for a more sophisticated manner with which we could record and communicate the technical activities of our Association. This has been expressed by practically all of the past National Technical committee chairmen … The Technical Quarterly will specifically cover full length articles on scientific, technical and production problems related to brewing. The issues are to be published in January, April, July, and October. This is a great step forward, and an undertaking requiring the full cooperation of all Districts and all members.

“Continuing progress... communicate technical activities… articles on scientific, technical, production problems related to brewing...” Schneider's description of the reasons behind the creation of the TQ, couldn't be a more fitting description of the primary reason behind the creation of MBAA itself; as the brewing industry's resource for technical information.

Ray’s piece also included a guest editorial that was included in TQ Volume 1, No. 3., written by Jim Fitzsimmons, the advisory co-chair of the 1964 MBAA Technical Committee. Fitzsimmons shares his concerns about our industry's image and the potential for the TQ to improve it:

In defining the need for a Positive Posture at the U.S.B.A. Convention in Miami this year (1964), Henry King asked the following questions of those in attendance: ‘Why is the industry repeatedly on the defensive? Why is it that we are in the role of firemen?’ I believe the same questions should be asked of the Master Brewers (MBAA). Because of its very nature, our Association is susceptible to attack by some groups outside and, unfortunately, within our Industry. Impregnable defensive measures must be utilized to correct obvious misconceptions. One ameliorant might well be a Positive Technological Posture.

The TQ as an outward manifestation of a “positive posture”... as “one ameliorant for a positive technical posture”... all interesting heritage aspects!

Now, armed with the bliss of 52 years of look-back, we can see that there were a couple of different underlying motivations behind our TQ’s creation. And that gets me back to my original point, that I am always in a perpetual quest to find appropriate items that might be ripe for inclusion in our archives in Iowa State’s Special Collection of rare and unique materials.

Does anyone in our membership have that first TQ issue that they would be willing to donate? Or better yet, does anyone have the entirety of Volume One consisting of the first four TQ issues for donation? I think these volumes would be very appropriate, even necessary for archiving, and thus preserving for future generations of researchers. Even though the TQ peer-reviewed papers and MBAA papers are all available online at our website—a tremendous membership benefit—each TQ also offers lots of other industry, district, and association information that could prove quite valuable to researchers.

Maybe we don't stop with just Volume 1, maybe we should consider archiving ALL of our TQs!

Thanks to Ray Klimovitz for penning a thoughtful piece eight years ago in our TQ Volume 45, No. 2, prompting me to all this “possibility thinking” in the first place! Let me know your thoughts.

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