A Nice Weekend with the Society of Military Historians in Kansas City

red-logo-The-Society-for-Military-HistoryThis past weekend Casemate attended the annual conference of SMH, perhaps the most prestigious confluence of current, former, and future military historians in the US.

Represented this time by our Publisher, David Farnsworth, and Editorial Director, Steven Smith, we were not only able to hobnob with authors, professors, and scholars—a number of whom teach at America’s top war colleges—we were also able to reconnect with fellow publishers.

It was a pleasure to see our fellow trade-travellers from Osprey, Naval Institute Press, Praeger, and others, while also resuming friendships with the top university lines in the country, from Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oxford, Cambridge, Missouri, and all points of the compass.

The conference switches venues each year (last time New Orleans, next year Montgomery) but this year Kansas City was a delight. Outside the conference hall, stories of the barbecue abounded, as well as comments on KC’s unique city architecture, which a time-traveller from the 1930’s would also admire.

A boon to attendees was that America’s “Liberty Memorial,” commemorating our losses in the Great War, was just across the street. Ground was first broken in 1926 for the impressive monument, with Marshall Foch of France, Admiral Beatty of England, and General Pershing of the US (along with President Calvin Coolidge) in attendance, as well as a multitude of citizens covering the entire hillside.

IMG_2362The terrific bonus for the conference was that America’s national World War I Museum has also been recently constructed and opened within that hill, directly beneath the monument. Every attendee at SMH made a pilgrimage to the museum, which is more than impressive, some say rivaling if not exceeding the Imperial War Museum’s in London.

Kansas City is always a terrific place to visit, but for establishing America’s own national World War I museum, in elegant yet spectacular fashion, we can recommend it more highly than ever as a fascinating destination for families as well as scholars.

photoDue to the number of discussions David and Steve (pictured here with a fellow attendee at our booth) had with authors and scholars at SMH, we can’t yet say how our talks will bear fruit. We may have to wait till 2015 to see. But as an enjoyable conference, and Kansas City as a delightful venue, we currently can’t say enough.



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