The Carol Franz Memorial Fund

Undoubtedly not many of the people working today in the university press community knew and can remember Carol Franz. Probably few even recognize her name. Yet for two decades Carol was the beating heart of the AAUP's Central Office.

She helped plan and made arrangements for the AAUP's annual meetings, committee meetings, and special conferences. Her acquaintance among university press staffs was wide and deep, and her dedication to scholarly publishing was legendary among the presses.

But that was quite awhile back. From the late 1950s until she retired in 1979, Carol served as Assistant Director of the AAUP, providing continuity in the association as executive directors came and departed. She was revered as a mentor, especially by newcomers just starting their careers in the university press world. Carol died at the age of 94 in August 2008.

Now a small group of "old hands" who remember Carol with gratitude and affection have undertaken to establish a memorial fund to honor her. The sole purpose of this fund will be to provide newcomers to university press staffs with financial help that enables them to attend annual meetings of the AAUP. Her abiding concern for young people led Carol to recognize how they benefited from participating in the national get-togethers, building acquaintances, and learning the craft from those who had mastered it.

The Carol Franz Memorial Fund will make grants of up to $1,500 to successful applicants who have worked on university press staffs for less than three years. Such grants are intended to cover travel expenses and registration fees for AAUP annual meetings. The availability of this funding will be announced by the Central Office. The selection of grantees will be made by a subcommittee of AAUP's Board of Directors.

Those of us who knew Carol well remember her as a small woman, seemingly fragile but in fact energetic–and sometimes delightfully wacky. At one annual meeting, the newly elected president was preceded up the aisle to his inaugural address by a parade of kazoo players that Carol had mustered. On another occasion, she hosted a meeting of the AAUP's Education and Training Committee to celebrate its origination of the Exchange. This meeting was at the New York Advertising Club–on "Guest Speaker Day," as it turned out–and the speaker's earnest presentation of a client's newly coined advertising slogan ("It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,") aroused so much merriment at the AAUP table that those seated at it were about to be thrown out. Later the committee chair commented, "With Carol at committee meetings we have a lot of fun, but we get a lot done."

During World War II Carol was assigned to an ambulance unit of the American Red Cross and a field hospital. She was sent to France during the Battle of the Bulge to work with POWs. I was reminded of this during a Southern Presses meeting in New Orleans. Walking along Bourbon Street one evening she and I suddenly found ourselves in a violent rumble that filled the street from curb to curb. Fists, clubs, chains, studded belts, and finally a knife thrust into a belly all drew blood. I feared for the sweet little lady with me and tried to shepherd her out of the violence. She didn't want to leave the scene. "Some of those boys are going to get badly hurt," she said, "and they're going to need help." There spoke the Red Cross ambulance worker.

Carol wrote poetry and was an accomplished violinist, playing with several chamber groups. She was born and bred in Brooklyn, educated at Barnard and NYU–and longed to live in Maine. She did that, too, when she retired, first in Damariscotta, later in Portland; and then, in flagging health, she finally moved to Connecticut, where she lived with her sisters. Although Carol had transplanted herself to New England, she never left her Brooklyn accent behind. She wouldn't have been Carol without it.

Carol told me several times in letters and during visits to her home in Portland that her years with the university presses were the best in her long life. "It was the people," she said. "I always loved the people. They were the best in the world."

She would surely be delighted to be remembered in a way meant to help young men and women become university press people.

Carol Franz Memorial Fund Donation Information

We hope that all who share fond memories of Carol and would like to join in this memorial endeavor will contribute generously to the fund. Contributions are tax-deductible: AAUP is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Checks should be made out to the AAUP, with "Carol Franz Memorial Fund" on the memo line, and sent to:

Association of American University Presses
28 West 36th Street, 6th Floor
New York, New York 10018
Attn: Peter Givler, Executive Director

Organized by:
Jack Goellner, Nancy Essig, Joyce Kachergis, Janet Hose

Jack G. Goellner
Director Emeritus, The Johns Hopkins University Press