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STC New York - Remembering The Early Years / By Irv Sachs

Hello. My name is Irv Sachs and I’m probably one of the oldest New York STC Chapter members still around. I’d like to offer you some insight, as I recall it, into the origins of the Society

The Groups Come Together

Sometime in the mid 1950s, some folks in the New York area decided to start a professional organization, with backing from the Sperry Corporation. The organization was called STW (Society of Technical Writers). At about the same time, a group in the Boston area (supported by Raytheon) was called STWE (Society of Technical Writers and Editors). In those days, the industry consisted primarily of writers involved in documenting military hardware. Meanwhile, in California, a group called STP (Society of Technical Publishers) began their operations.

In the late 1950s, these groups merged into the STWP. Eventually, the name changed to the current STC (Society for Technical Communication).

I remember these changes because I worked for Sam Miles, the vice-President of Miles-Samuelson, Inc. Sam was one of the original founders of one of the organizations.

A Thriving Chapter

I became active in the Society in the late 1970s and took on the role of Treasurer for the NY Chapter. We started out with about $400 in funds. I think the Society changed the funding giveback to Chapters soon after that. Since we had over 600 members in New York, we soon built up the treasury to a staggering amount. During the 12 years I served as Chapter Treasurer, we embarked on a scholarship fund (named after Bernie Goodman, a longtime member) that awarded financial scholarships to deserving students.

Conferences and Friendships

I believe the first International Technical Communications Conference (ITCC) that drew over 1,000 members was held at the NY Hilton in 1965. Hal Adler, a partner at DCI Technical, was the Convention Chairman. I became a Fellow of the Society in 1992, which was also the same year the ITCC was held in New York, again. I served as Arrangements Co-Manager, along with Debby Ryba.

I attended many of the International conferences, and I presented papers and made presentations at several of these. At its height, the Society had over 25,000 members from Chapters all over the world. I became friendly with several members from Japan. Some years later I had the opportunity to visit my daughter who worked for Tokyo Disneyland, and spent some great times with my Chapter comrades while in Japan.

Over the years I worked on STC issues with some distinguished members; many of whom served as NY Chapter Presidents. I don’t know if any of them are still alive, but if so I’d like to say hello to Jeff Hibbard, Gunther Marx and Herb Michaelson. Bill Stolgitis was the Washington Society Head during most of those years.

I don’t know how much interest there is in these old stories, but Nitza asked me to recall some STC New York Chapter history as I know it, so here you have it. 

Irv Sachs