The Business Manager office began as a position supporting production of the Society’s journals in 1920. It was discontinued in 1995, with the reorganization that created a Governing Board and professional paid staff to replace the ESA Council that was organized in 1946.
According to Robert Burgess, who wrote a history of the Society circa 1976:
“Both major journals have always had a business manager, starting with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for Ecology in 1920. In 1931, with the beginning of Ecological Monographs, Duke University Press furnished a business manager for both journals. The need for this type of professionalism continued to grow, and in 1952, ESA arranged for a business manager for the Society, the first being Henry J. Oosting. Duties were many, but included overseeing the business (i.e., fiscal) operations of the Society—journals, income, expenses, trusts, and general cash flow. He worked closely both with the treasurer and the business manager for the journals, an individual still provided by Duke University Press. In 1970, the importance of a business manager was recognized by placing virtually all financial responsibilities with that office. The treasurer became more of a planning position and figurehead, a situation which continues, but without any movement to abolish the office.”
—The Ecological Society of America: Historical Data and Some Preliminary Analyses, by Bob Burgess, ca. 1976
As Burgess explains, the Business Manager for the journals was originally an employee of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Only five people have held the office of Business Manager for ESA as a whole, beginning with H.J. Oosting.
|1920-43||Charles Stuart Gager||Gager|
|1944||George Matthew Reed||Reed|
|1945-46||Henry Knute Svenson||Svenson|
|1954-68||Henry John Oosting||Oosting|
|1968-69||William Dwight Billings||Billings|
|1969-73||William Clark Ashby||Ashby|
|1973-79||Ralph Edward Good||Good|
|1979-95||Duncan Theunissen Patten||Patten|