Snowed in at Midwinter: the ALA Players

A_Group_of_Librarians_in_Nantucket_Massachusetts

Party like it’s 1906! Image from the F. W. Faxon Collection

A recent acquisition to the archives is a small packet containing the bylaws and related documents of the ALA Players (“ALAP”).  As described in the ALA Archives transmittal form, the ALAP was established when a huge snowstorm descended during the Midwinter conference of 1978, causing the group to be snowed in and looking for ways to occupy their time.  The documents reflect the playful attitude of the members during their confinement.  The ALA Players “continued for many years with dancing on Tuesday (or other) nights of each conference.”

Excerpt from the Bylaws:

The purposes of this organization shall be as contained on the cocktail napkin handwritten by [G.M.] in the bar of the Palmer House Hotel on the afternoon on into the evening on January 26, 1978, to wit:

  • To survive the snowstorm that descended upon Chicago on that date.
  • To gather up sufficient resources to pay the bar bill which was accumulating very rapidly.
  • To get through the night and get out of Chicago the next day.
  • To do any and all things necessary to contribute to the improved professional attitude prevalent during that auspicious occasion, and which the members deemed subsequent to be worthwhile and appropriate, as well as legal.

Here is one the many humorous (and sometimes outrageous) anthems, pledges, and oaths:

The ALAP Pledge no. 1

I do solemnly pledge, never, ever, to take anything about this organization seriously, starting with this pledge;

And futhermore, I pledge,

To leave all worries behind, for that other organization to cope with;

To never step on the face of a member who has collapsed on the dance floor;

To never play poker with anyone named Doc;

To never eat at a place called Mom’s;

To never have anything to do with anyone with more problems than my own;

To never fall asleep at the bar, unless it happens to be beside my bed;

To always drink moderately, but only if the bar stocks that brand;

To always keep a stiff upper lip, remember to lift it when drinking;

To always remember that virtue has its own rewards, but not tonight;

To always remember that whatever I feel like tonight will be nothing like what I’m going to feel tomorrow;

To always remember that this evening is for fun, and there is enough for all.

On behalf of the ALA Archives staff, have a great Midwinter Meeting!  Come see our presentation on Monday, February 2nd, from 1-2:30 pm at McCormick Place West, W183b!

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