Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 9(1987)4(396-397)

[p. 396] Society News 1984 - 1987

At the beginning of the period under review, The Historical Society passed its 34th year and is now looking towards its 40th year of existence, which will be celebrated in 1990. During these years, it has continued to undertake solid steps forward and has even extended its statutorial aims of furthering the study of Maltese History and its diffusion by adding the notable aim of safeguarding Malta's National Heritage.

The present number of Melita Historica is the 36th consecutive publication and now comprises nine complete volumes. The articles have all helped to continue enhancing its good reputation and it is regularly received in various countries in Europe, America, Africa and Australia. A list of Melitensia had been published in three of the four numbers comprising the ninth volume. An index of the articles and book reviews published in the four numbers of this volume is also included. Thanks go to all the contributors and the three editors who have worked on this volume.

Overall membership of the Society had decreased drastically over the past four years. Actually, in 1983, our register boasted of over 400 members but the actual truth was that about one-third of them seemed to exist on paper only. During the past year the Committee decided to strike off, after various notices had been sent, those members who were at least four years in arrears in membership subscription. As can be seen in the following pages, there was a steady increase of new members and the number is now 278. At least, the absolute majority of members are fully paid up and this allows the Committee to really evaluate the Society's financial position. I am glad to point out that the new members include an encouraging number of students. After all, the future of our Society will be in the hands of the next generations.

History Week was organised in November of 1984 and 1986. The Committee decided that, because of lack of sponsorships, the 'Week' would not be organised in 1985 and 1987. The 1984 and 1986 talks were very well-attended and the lectures and short communications, most of which were illustrated by slides, were very well-received. After some initial difficulties to find a sponsor for the publication of the 1984 talks, Mid-Med Bank Ltd agreed to sponsor the 160 page publication which v. as launched during the 1986 'Week'. Our sincere thanks go to the Chairman and Board of Mid-Med Bank for their generosity. Thanks are also due to the contributors and the editor, Dr S. Fiorini, for a job well done. To date, we do not have a definite reply with regard to various representations made for sponsorship of the publication of the 1986 talks, though a favourable reply seems very likely from one particular source.

Proceedings of History Week 1983, edited by Mr M. Buhagiar, was launched in February 1985, thanks to a very generous sponsorship by Mr & Mrs Paddy J. Stubbs. On this occasion, Dr A. Ganado delivered an illustrated lecture about "Lithographs by P. P. Caruana", a Maltese 19th century artist.

Between the 3rd and 11th November 1984, an exhibition on Titular Statues in Malta and Gozo and their Statuaries was organised by Mr Guido Lanfranco, under the auspices of The Historical Society, at the St John's Co-Cathedral Annexe. The [p.397] exhibition was a great success and thousands literally flocked in to see it. The comments passed, some of them in writing, were very complimentary and many people exhorted the Society to publish the research material on view. The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr GuzŤ Cassar Pullicino, Malta's foremost folklorist and one of our active members, and blessed by Rev Mgr. Vincent Borg, our Vice-President. Special thanks go to Mr Lanfranco, who was not only the organiser, but also mounted the whole exhibition, including the construction of all the furniture and the scale statuettes, and the gathering of information and photographs, literally almost on his own.

Recently, the Committee set up a Working Committee to work on the compilation of a Portrait Gallery, with a view to its eventual publication. Various meetings have taken place and the work of cataloguing is going ahead.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, another exhibition, this time on History and Tradition in Stone, could not be held as scheduled in 1987. It is hoped that it will be held in the not-too-distant future. The Society's immediate aims are the continuation of the publication of Melita Historica and Proceedings of History Week. It is also hoped that, in 1989, instead of the usual "History Week', a Seminar on the writing of Maltese History will be held, a fitting tribute to the Society's raison d'Ítre.

JOSEPH F. GRIMA
(Hon Secretary)