IN THE winter of 1945-46, the Executive Committee of the National Conference of Social Work, as part of its plan for the seventy-fifth meeting in the spring of 1948, authorized the publication of a volume recounting the development of the Conference. The assignment was accepted by the author on February 1, 1946, with instructions to have the manuscript ready by the fall of 1947, and to limit its size to not much more than three hundred pages.
There is no bibliography on which the book is based, except the Proceedings of the Conference. Reference to them is made in the body of the text in two ways: by the date alone, in parentheses, and also with the name of the speaker, the word "Proceedings," and a date, e.g. ( Edith Abbott, Proceedings, 1940). For influences outside the Conference and for contemporary thought and movement, the author was guided by his own knowledge. Where sources other than the Proceedings are drawn upon, acknowledgment is made by a footnote.
The Executive Committee left the author entirely free as to method and content. It placed the Editorial Committee of the Conference at his service as an advisory committee, and at two meetings, in the spring and summer of 1947, the committee offered itself freely and helpfully in discussing the plans and organization of the publication, and the sources of information to supplement the Proceedings.
In reconciling the puzzle presented by chronological data that should be organized topically, the device was adopted