By Dale Thomas
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved
Editor’s note: This article was originally published as part of the Roundtable’s 50th anniversary celebration in November 2006.
I was a Johnny-Come-Lately as far as the Civil War was concerned. Forty years ago I was given a copy of Ben Ames Williams’ House Divided. From that day on my interest in the war and its personalities became an obsession. When the Cleveland Roundtable came into being I found a group of men who shared my enthusiasm. Many close friendships developed, friendships that continue to this day. It has been a rewarding experience.
– John Cullen, 1994
The Chicago Civil War Roundtable has the distinction of being the first association of its kind in the world. Ralph Newman founded the group in December of 1940. The Roundtable first met in the back room of his Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. Bruce Catton and Carl Sandburg were among his circle of friends. Sixty years later, Civil War roundtables now number over two hundred in the United States with nearly twenty operating overseas. Ohio has thirty-five roundtables by last count which meet on a regular basis.
According to an interview conducted by Bob Battisti, late president of the Cleveland Roundtable, John Cullen of Shaker Heights was the one most responsible for the founding of the local group. Back in 1956, “John and his wife were having dinner one night with his brother, his brother’s wife, and another woman.” John asked his brother to get him some mini-balls while he was vacationing in Virginia:
The female guest asked, “Are you interested in the Civil War?” This is the point that a bud of an idea appeared when John said: “Yes.” The guest further asked, “Do you have a Roundtable in Cleveland?” John asked, “What’s a Roundtable?” She explained and then suggested if he wanted more information he could contact a Norman Fitzgerald in Milwaukee.
Organized in 1947, the Milwaukee Roundtable was second in age only to the one in Chicago. Fitzgerald referred Cullen to Newman who put him in touch with Kenneth Grant of Rocky River, Ohio. He was a member of the Chicago Roundtable, and “if a group was to start in Cleveland, Ken Grant would have the experience to make John Cullen’s idea a reality.” Cullen soon joined the Chicagoans to see for himself how a roundtable operated. Then on October 12, 1956, Cullen and Grant composed a letter to some local buffs:
“For sometime, we have talked about a Cleveland Civil War Roundtable…Those of us who enjoy a discussion of the various phases of the “War between the States” are of the belief that such an organization would receive strong support from “experts” in this area. As you are probably aware, there are Round Tables in some 17 cities… The pattern of roundtable operation in other cities has been a monthly dinner meeting and for the most part restricted to male attendance… The program for the meetings has invariably featured a speaker… Please keep in mind that our thinking with regard to the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is in embryo form. That a Roundtable will be established is definite, it’s up to you and others to decide the pattern to be followed.”
They had a dinner meeting on November 20, 1956 in downtown Cleveland’s Hickory Grill. Those in attendance included Gordon Tatum, William Hughes, George Farr, Jr., William Schlesinger, William Gaul, Charles Clarke, Roy Smith, Jr., and E. Preston Rutter. Grant and Cullen “outlined plans” before the group which included local members of the Chicago Roundtable.
At this first meeting of the Cleveland Roundtable, the ten founders decided to “go slowly in adding to our roster.” They met again in January at Kiefer’s Restaurant on Detroit Avenue and West 25th Street. Temporary chairman (i.e., president) Grant appointed Cullen, Clark, and Rutter to a Committee on Bylaws. In the end, membership was to be opened only to males, ironically since Cullen had first heard of roundtables from a woman. Forty years later, Clarke remembered those days:
“Our guiding light from an organizational standpoint was a wonderful guy in Chicago named Ralph Newman, who for many years owned a bookstore in the Loop which concentrated on Civil War literature at a time when no one seemed to care very much.
“One of those founders [of the Cleveland Roundtable] was a crusty, conservative Englishman who believed that the South’s loss was a tragedy of history. The second was a flaming liberal from Ohio who believed that Robert E. Lee should have been hung as a traitor. The third founder was, and still is, a charming fellow who could steer a compromise between the extreme views of the other two.
“So Ken Grant, the Englishman who never would have freed the slaves, George Farr, the iconoclast who not only [would] have freed them but helped them destroy the plantations…, and John Cullen the man who understood it all… with help from Bill Schlesinger and my own imperfect draftsmanship, got this club underway.”
Once word circulated about the new association, requests to join went well beyond the original limits favored by many in the group. By February, membership had been allowed to reach thirty and then fifty in March. At that point, Grant persuaded a majority to limit membership to fifty. However, Roy Smith, Jr. quit because the number was too large. Those applying for Roundtable membership had to be sponsored by members, then approved by the Executive Committee. Members could be expelled for late payment of dues or missing too many meeting. Those on a waiting list had to persevere until the expulsion, resignation or death of a member.
The February meeting was supposed to have been held in Kiefer’s Restaurant, but the ceiling collapsed, and Cullen arranged a change of venue to the Petite Café in the Carter Hotel on Prospect Avenue. Grant was formally elected president, though some members may have had misgivings voting for him. Grant was distantly related to Robert E. Lee, and although a life-long northerner, “his heart” was with the Confederacy. A columnist for a Cleveland newspaper, Howard Preston, wrote an article called “Grant on Lee’s Side” which featured the man whose vocation was Director of Accounts and Budgets for the National Carbon Company:
“He has followed the Mississippi Campaign, retreated with Gen. Johnston from Chattanooga to Atlanta, traced Sherman’s march to the sea and up the coast. He is a regular at Gettysburg and has paraded up and down the Shenandoah Valley. He’s been at Shiloh and Vicksburg and was surrounded by fog on Lookout Mountain.
“His recreation room is decorated with Confederate flags and pictures of Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Collecting Lee pictures almost is a separate hobby although it is dwarfed by his collection of…sheet music written before 1920… A final note to confuse the issue – his favorite song among the oldies is not ‘Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.’”
Unfortunately in April of 1957, Grant died after undergoing minor surgery. George Farr, Jr. took over the presidency and was reelected the following year. He had given the first Roundtable talk at the January 1957 meeting: “Civil Law in Southern Court.” There were a number of firsts during those early years of the Roundtable. Bruce Catton was the first non-member to speak before the group. Catton’s topic was “Civil War-Influence on Social and Political Outlook.” The first field trip occurred in September of 1957 when members went to Antietam, Harpers Ferry and Winchester. On April 15, 1958, the first “movie night” took place: “Robert E. Lee” and “The True Story of the Civil War.” The first debate was held on November 17, 1958. The topic was “The Turning Point of the Civil War.” Mrs. S. Dannett was the first woman to speak. On January 17, 1961, her subject was “Union Women under the Guns,” an appropriate title for an all-male group.
Catton also had the distinction of becoming the first honorary member of the Roundtable and the speaker for the first “Ladies Night.” A month earlier, the group decided not to have all their meetings “exclusively stag affairs” when many members asked to bring their wives. A crowd numbering over a hundred enjoyed Catton’s “numerous anecdotes [which] made the evening an important one in the short history of the Roundtable.” Dr. Schlesinger, however, was disappointed: “Catton, a great writer, a lousy speaker.”
General Ulysses S. Grant III was perhaps the most distinguished speaker to ever appear before the Roundtable. He was the grandson of President Grant, a graduate of West Point, and a former member of General Pershing’s staff. At the time, he was Chairman of the Civil War Centennial Committee. On December 3, 1958, Grant talked on “The Strategy of the Civil War and Ohio’s Contribution.” The following day after lunch at the University Club, he went over plans for the observance of the Civil War Centennial.
Starting in the 1960’s, the group began to hold its meetings in the Hermit Club located on Dodge Court behind the theaters on Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. In September of 2000, meetings were moved to the Play House Club on 86th Street and Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland. The second-floor Grand Hall at the Hermit Club had a stage, large fireplace, wood-paneled walls, leaded windows, and a high-beamed ceiling. Those who remember the room may still regret leaving the Hermit Club.
In the Grand Hall, the Cleveland Roundtable celebrated its 25th anniversary with 99 members. Dr. Paul Schildt joined the group in 1958 and later recalled those early days:
“For a time in the past there was a friendly rivalry for membership between the lawyers and the physicians. When new members were introduced and the word ‘lawyer’ was used the doctors all groaned aloud; when the new member turned out to be a doctor the lawyers called out in unison, ‘Oh, God, not another doctor!’ Peace seems to have prevailed.”
During its first 25 years, the Cleveland Roundtable had a number of notable speakers from outside the group. Talking on Vicksburg, Ed Bearss, National Park Historian, spoke in October of 1962. Three years later, Stephen Ambrose gave a speech on “West Point and the Civil War.” Dr. Richard D. Mudd spoke in 1968 on his ancestor and the assassination of Lincoln. At the first meeting of 1977, Allan Peskin, biographer of James A. Garfield, gave a talk entitled “Mind of an Assassin.” The following month, Mark E. Neely, Jr. addressed the group about “Lincoln, the Constitution, and the Union.”
Dr. Schildt remembered a meeting in particular, when a member became upset with a speaker:
“He was quite often out-spoken and his dinner often consisted of very little food and a quadruple shot of Jack Daniels in a water glass… A visiting speaker was speaking on ‘Civil War Prison Camps’ and expressed the mild opinion that certain northern prison camps such as Elmira, New York and Johnson’s Island were almost as bad as Andersonville, Georgia. At the conclusion of the speech, our out-spoken member jumped up and declared in a loud voice, ‘I wish to protest those statements of the speaker of the evening.’ Ned Downer, who was presiding, said, ‘Sir, your protest is duly recorded.’ Ned rapped his gavel sharply… ‘Meeting is adjourned!’ We were all heartened by this neat solution of what might have been a bad situation.”
Roundtable members accounted for only thirty-five percent of the speakers. On some occasions, the Civil War gave way to other topics like “Luftwaffe Aces of World War II” and “The Boston Tea Party.” “Extra Sensory Perception and the Civil War” was one of the more unusual talks. Besides ten debates, there were thirteen movie nights. Among the films shown were “The Red Badge of Courage” and Buster Keaton’s “The General.”
Except for “Ladies Night” at the May meetings, women still stood on the outside looking in at the all-male association. Over the years, the topic had come up and “been soundly rejected” by the Executive Committee. Private club or not, the times were changing, but the Cleveland Roundtable was reluctant to change. In September of 1993, Bob Battisti, Roundtable president, received a short, irate letter:
“As a long standing member of the club (25 years!), I would like to express my feelings concerning admitting women to the organization.
“I am totally opposed to it.
“At the risk of being labeled a male chauvinist pig, I certainly like women but not at our meetings, nor especially on our fieldtrips. There is a certain male camaraderie established throughout the years which I feel would be jeopardized by opening our membership to females.”
Answering the letter, Battisti said there were no female applicants for membership at that particular time, but “I am sure that some members would want to change to what is appropriate for 1993.” The issue had come up at the previous Executive Committee meeting because of a proposal to get area universities involved with the organization. “I very much value your opinion and I certainly want you to continue to belong to the group.”
As the outgoing president in May of 1994, Battisti commented on a number of topics but one stood out above the rest:
“We put the letter to the universities on the back burner due to the gender issue. We said we would wait for the first application from a female. As you know, we have one. Mike Dory will want an answer as to what we do next.”
Norton London, next Roundtable president, called an Executive Committee meeting for June 8, 1994. According to the minutes, they had to decide “whether the CCWRT should open membership to anyone or maintain its present status.” Recently attending a conference of Roundtables, London represented the only one that was a male-only group. “Those that did allow women get more members, but not really many women… If the organization is to grow, we will have to open up membership.”
Five opposed changing the Constitution: The Roundtable was “meant to be for men only [and it] had a camaraderie and was more in the nature of a social club.” Excluding women was not “a moral issue.” The founders had wanted an all-male group and the board “should be sensitive to that desire.”
An equal number wanted to take the restriction out of the Constitution: Discrimination against women, they felt, could have a negative effect on “members who may run for political office.” There is nothing “within the group that might be offensive and cause women not to join.” The Roundtable should be “open to anyone with an interest in the Civil War and that interest is not limited to only men.”
In January of 1995, a vote of the general membership fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution. However, the controversy would not go away. Dick Crews sent a letter to members on March 31, 1997 which reopened the debate. He planned to sponsor a female history teacher, for membership:
“In the past, you have indicated that you would like to see the Roundtable open to all who have an interest in the American Civil War. Please make it a point to be at the April 9, 1997 meeting to vote to remove the restrictive clause and make our Roundtable open to all.”
Crews introduced his motion at the meeting, but a majority of the members, many of whom were visibly upset, decided not to consider it at that time because of the guests in the audience. President Dan Zeiser suggested and received approval for a special meeting in June to consider Crew’s motion. A month later, the Cleveland Roundtable celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Dr. Schildt recalled another May meeting back in 1968:
“Dr. Bill Schlesinger, who was a classmate of mine in medical school, was a great president of the Round Table. On ‘Ladies Night’ Bill made a slightly ribald remark…and his wife looked askance at him. Bill grinned out at the audience and said, ‘Later tonight we will have what we call ‘A Moment of Truth’ in our house.’ And his wife grinned also at the audience and nodded her approval of his statement.”
Whether this was the last Ladies Night in the Roundtable’s history would soon be determined. Letters had been sent to the entire membership, but less than twenty members gathered on June 4 at the Hermit Club. John Sutula, Roundtable secretary, recorded the minutes:
“A motion was made and seconded to change the Constitution… After a spirited discussion, the vote was taken [by secret ballot]. A 2/3-majority vote of the members is required to change the Constitution. The amendment passed with 16 yes votes and 3 no votes.”
Within a week, the Cleveland Roundtable confronted its own secessionists. A former president wrote to the Executive Committee and resigned, not because he was “opposed to the change, but rather, to the unfortunate way it was handled and communicated to the members at large.” He was especially upset since there were only “nineteen members voting on an issue that clearly should have been more representative of the 135 members…”
A few days later, two more former presidents sent a letter that also protested the process by which the Constitution had been amended. “All of us who were in any leadership position vowed to not make it [female membership] a divisive one.” They suggested that the membership “revisit the issue” and then vote after “a rational discussion…” Another vote was never taken, however, prompting one of them to resign and declare: “In addition to being a Civil War student, I am also a student of World War II. Remember Pearl Harbor!”
John Sutula, himself a former president, disagreed with the critics “that the process used to amend the Constitution was faulty… The method of raising the issue, announcement of the special meeting and issue and the vote were all valid under the Constitution of this Roundtable.” He went on to say that those who quit the association after a legitimate and democratic procedure were the “divisive” ones instead of those supporting the results of the special meeting. “Unlike Lincoln, we can not use the might of the government to forcibly retain members in the Roundtable. We can only appeal to their better natures to remain.”
The malcontents did not return to the group but the losses were cancelled out with new members including women who would make up eleven percent of the roster in 2001 and fifteen percent in 2006. Besides the inclusion of women, the characteristics of Roundtable membership have undergone other changes in its history. Statistics are available for select years 1980 – 2001, a period which saw the roster grow from eighty-two to one hundred thirty-five members including businessmen and professionals (46% – 26%); retirees (12% – 24%); physicians (17% – 3%); attorneys (15% – 16%); educators (4% – 12%).
The Cleveland Roundtable was founded at a time when the Civil War was less than a century old. Along with the other founders in 1956, Charles Clark was disturbed by the general opinion that the long-ago war was now irrelevant:
“Almost all the veterans were dead. We had come through three wars and a number of depressions. Revisionist historians were doing their dirty work and there really wasn’t a great deal of flaming interest in the War between the States.
“All over the country there were attic trunks filled with old letters and diaries. Down in Virginia, the Carolinas, the Border States and elsewhere were cornfields and pastures where only local legends kept alive the stories of the battles that had been fought there. I will never forget seeing an unkept country lane in the Valley of Virginia at the end of which, half-buried in the bushes, was a cracked stone memorial to the Cadets of VMI who fell there at the Battle of New Market.”
With the Civil War Centennial on the horizon, Clark believed “this lack of interest was soon to change and men like [Ralph] Newman helped bring about a new sense of historical pride in the United States.” For half a century, the Cleveland Roundtable has also helped in this process by inviting Ed Bearss, James M. McPherson, Shelby Foote, Gabor Boritt and other historians to share their knowledge with the membership.
A summary of meetings from 1957 through 1997 illustrates the varied programs on the Civil War era:
- personalities (109)
- battles, tactics and strategy (72)
- political and social (34)
- Ohio and the Civil War (19)
- logistics (12)
- Reconstruction (4)
Thirty-nine generals and twenty-seven politicians for the Union were the subjects of talks compared to thirty-eight generals and seven politicians for the Confederacy. The Union side of the war dominated the topics with 65% of the total. Outside speakers (typically authors, historians, and educators) gave 66% of the talks. For the most part, these characteristics have continued into 2006.
Cleveland Civil War Roundtable 60th Anniversary
Dr. David N. Wood joined the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable in 1958. A retired physician from Rocky River, Dr. Wood shares with Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, the same hometown of Steubenville, Ohio. He has portrayed Stanton before a number of historical associations including the Cleveland group on two occasions. After a presentation for the Western Council for Historical Societies, a newspaper article praised his performance: “Bedecked in top hat and an 1860 suit, the alias Stanton enthralled the audience with a first-person talk outlining the life of the late Secretary of War. In short, Dr. Wood made history come alive.”
Veteran of Another War
An honorary member for many years, Ed Bearss has addressed the Cleveland Roundtable on twelve occasions. Members have been amazed by his knowledge of the Civil War, but few of them may know of his experiences in World War II. In April of 1942, he enlisted at the age of nineteen in the Marine Corp. A year later, Ed was in the South Pacific where he came down with malaria and was sent to a hospital in New Zealand. On December 26, 1943, he took part in the invasion of New Britain and was seriously wounded on the second day of the New Year:
“I was on my knees when the first bullet struck. It hit me in my left arm just below the elbow, and the arm went numb… Then I was hit again, another sledgehammer blow to my right shoulder… There were now dead men lying all around me… As I lay there bleeding I noticed it growing dark, although it was only about noon.”
The Japanese began shooting the wounded Marines, but Ed was able to crawl away with “tracers screaming about an inch above me. Another bullet grazed my butt and another hit my foot.” A corpsman gave Ed a shot of morphine, then with the help of their lieutenant dragged him to safety. Corporal Bearss spent the next twenty-six months in hospitals and was discharged in March of 1946. While recuperating, he had renewed an interest in the Civil War by reading books on his favorite subject from the library at the San Diego Naval Hospital. If not for his serious wounds, Ed thinks he may have stayed in the Marine Corps.
While historian at Vicksburg Military Park, Ed married Margie Riddle, a native Mississippian whose ancestor had fought for the Confederacy. She shared with her husband the same passion of teaching and writing books on the Civil War. Mrs. Bearss recently died and the Cleveland Roundtable will be making a donation in her memory to The Civil War Preservation Trust.
The Cleveland Roundtable has traditionally been concerned with endangered Civil War sites. The membership in 2002 gave a generous donation to the Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island. David R. Bush of Heidelberg College, who spoke to the Roundtable in 2004, is the chairman of the association dedicated to the archaeological investigation and preservation of this historic site.
Notable events of 1956, the year of the founding of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
- The Federal minimum wage is increased to $1.00 per hour.
- The average American income is $1,700.00 (after taxes).
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average sets a new high of 500.24 points.
- Actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco are married.
- The Andrea Doria sinks.
- The Soviet Union crushes the revolution in Hungary.
- Fidel Castro and his followers land in Cuba.
- The United Kingdom, France, and Israel invade Egypt in an attempt to seize the Suez Canal.
- Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic.
- Dwight Eisenhower (and Richard Nixon) are re-elected.
- Pepsodent toothpaste begins its “You’ll wonder where the yellow went” ad campaign.
- Jif peanut butter is introduced. (“Choosy mothers choose Jif.”)
- Clairol begins its “Does she or doesn’t she” ad campaign. (“Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”)
- Wheaties boxes are introduced for Duke Snider, Bob Cousy, and Bobby Lane.
- Elvis Presley makes his television debut on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show.
- Hit songs include “The Great Pretender” by The Platters, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, “Memories Are Made Of This” by Dean Martin, “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins, “See You Later Alligator” by Bill Haley and His Comets, “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard, and “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley.
- Popular television shows are I Love Lucy, The $64,000 Question, The Ed Sullivan Show, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, I’ve Got a Secret, The Millionaire, The Jack Benny Show, General Electric Theater, and The Red Skelton Show.
- Academy Award winners are Around the World in 80 Days for Best Picture, Yul Brynner for Best Actor (The King and I), Ingrid Bergman for Best Actress (Anastasia), and “Whatever Will Be, Will Be” (“Que Sera, Sera”) for Best Song (from the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much).
- The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4 games to 3 to win the World Series. In game 5, Don Larsen of the Yankees pitches the only perfect game in World Series history. For the fifth time in six years, the Cleveland Indians finish second to the Yankees in the American League.
- The New York Giants win the NFL championship over the Chicago Bears, 47 to 7. For the first time in their eleven-year existence, the Cleveland Browns have a losing record.
- The Philadelphia Warriors win the NBA championship 4 games to 1 over the Fort Wayne Pistons. The Cleveland Cavaliers will not come into existence for another 14 years.
- The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Werner Forssman, Andre Frederic Cournand, and Dickinson W. Richards for showing how to insert a catheter into the heart. (Forssman performed his first cardiac catheterization on himself.)
- The Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to William Bradford Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Houser Brattain for their research on semiconductors and for the invention of the transistor.
- 1956 births: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Larry Bird, Joey Buttafuoco, Carrie Fisher, Mel Gibson, Dorothy Hamill, Tom Hanks, Anita Hill, Karen Hughes, Richard Karn, Martina Navratilova, Paula Zahn
- 1956 deaths: Bela Lugosi, Connie Mack, A.A. Milne, Jackson Pollock, Babe Didrikson Zaharias
- The last surviving Union soldier of the Civil War, Albert Woolson, dies at age 106. Walter Williams, the last surviving Confederate soldier (purportedly), will die in 1959.
- Samuel J. Seymour dies. Seymour was the last surviving person who was present in Ford’s Theatre at the time of the shooting of Abraham Lincoln.
Compiled by Dave Carrino
Tribute to a Late Member of the Roundtable
Dr. Paul Schildt was one of the original members of the Roundtable. Paul, former president of the American Urological Society, gave at least three presentations during his forty-nine years. He spoke on “Medicine during the Civil War.” There were more deaths due to disease than gunshot wounds. The physician could do little but give laudanum for pain and rare chloroform anesthesia during surgery. Extremity injuries were treated by amputation.
During our fall tours we visited the Lacy Farm near Fredericksburg, where Stonewall Jackson’s arm is buried. An Episcopal service was held at the time of the burial. Poison ivy had been planted nearby for any Yankee who would search the area. We visited Washington and the Catholic Cemetery where Capt. Henry Wirz and Mary Surratt are buried. Mrs. Surratt’s gravestone was broken. Upon our return to Cleveland we suggested funds to repair it. None were obtained.
Paul passed away in mid-July at age ninety-two. He was an outstanding physician and a wonderful story teller. He will not soon be forgotten.
David N. Wood, M.D.
September 23, 2006
Cleveland Civil War Roundtable Presidents
1957 Kenneth Grant*
1957-1958 George Farr, Jr.
1958-1959 John Cullen, Jr.
1959-1960 Howard Preston
1960-1961 Charles Clarke
1961-1962 Edward Downer
1962-1963 Paul Guenther
1963-1964 Guy DiCarlo, Jr.
1964-1965 Lester Swift
1965-1966 Donald Hamill
1966-1967 William Schlesinger
1967-1968 Frank Moran
1968-1969 Donald Heckaman
1969-1970 Frank Schuhle
1970-1971 Kenneth Callahan
1971-1972 Bernard Drews
1972-1973 Arthur Jordan
1973-1974 Nolan Heidelbaugh
1974-1975 Thomas Gretter
1975-1976 Milton Holmes
1976-1977 James Chapman
1977-1978 Richard McCrae
1978-1979 William Bates
1979-1980 Charles Spiegle
1980-1981 Thomas Geschke
1981-1982 John Harkness
1982-1983 William Victory
1983-1984 Neil Evans
1984-1985 Brian Kowell
1985-1986 Tim Beatty
1986-1987 George Vourlojianis
1987-1988 Martin Graham
1988-1989 Neil Glaser
1989-1990 Ken Callahan, Jr.
1990-1991 Joe Tirpak
1991-1992 Bob Baucher
1992-1993 Kevin Callahan
1993-1994 Robert Battisti
1994-1995 Norton London
1995-1996 John Sutula
1996-1997 Dan Zeiser
1997-1998 John Moore
1998-1999 Dick Crews
1999-2000 Bob Boyda
2000-2001 William F.B. Vodrey
2001-2002 Bill McGrath
2002-2003 Maynard Bauer
2003-2004 Warren McClelland
2004-2005 Mel Maurer
2005-2006 Dave Carrino
2006-2007 John Fazio
2007-2008 Terry Koozer
2008-2009 Jon Thompson
2009-2010 Dennis Keating
2010-2011 Lisa Kempfer
2011-2012 Paul Burkholder
2012-2013 Mike Wells
2013-2014 Jim Heflich
2014-2015 Patrick Bray
2015-2016 Chris Fortunato
2016-2017 Jean Rhodes
2017-2018 Hans Kuenzi
2018-2019 Dan Ursu
2019-2020 C. Ellen Connally
2020-2021 Steve Pettyjohn
2021-2022 Mark Porter
*As discussed in the article, Kenneth Grant served as Roundtable president only during the late winter and early spring of 1957. Other Roundtable presidents served from the fall until the spring.