Having been asked to present some personal reflections on the Society, through my long association with it, I will resist the instinctual reflexes of an old timer to regale you with mere memories of past events and personalities and try instead to focus on what I perceive to be the Society's values and accomplishments.  For those of you who are new to our group and may not have heard the story of our beginnings, I will relate it briefly. It all began in Lisbon in the summer of 1960 at a conference on discovery and exploration commemorating the quincentenary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. At an intermission in the proceedings, Steve Slessarev, Thom Goldstein, and I met over a bottle of wine and concluded that we should have an organization in North America which would encourage research into the history of discovery and exploration.  It was decided that Thom would place a notice of this idea on a bulletin board at the December 1960 meeting of the American Historical Association, inviting interested parties to meet at a small restaurant across the street from the convention center in New York. Seven people showed up. Inevitably there will be some autobiography in what follows, for I am the observer as well as a sometime participant in the life of our beloved Society.


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