Brief History of ARS

Founded in 1939, the American Recorder Society (ARS) is a membership/service organization dedicated to promoting the recorder and its music and meeting the needs of amateur and professional recorder players.  From an initial nucleus in and around New York City, the organization increased its area of operation to the entire Northeast by the mid-1950s.  Through the 1960s and 1970s, ARS chapters were founded all over the United States and in Canada, while increased services coincided with rapid membership growth. Today, the ARS has over 2,000 active members and nearly 150 chapters and other affiliates in North America and other countries 

List of ARS Honorees and Past Presidents

The ARS has pioneered the rekindling of interest in early music.  Since its inception the ARS has promoted by example the growth of other American early music organizations, such as Early Music America, the Viola da Gamba Society of America and the Historic Brass Society. 

The ARS is governed by an elected Board of Directors.  Since 1977, a paid administrative staff (consisting of a full-time Administrative Director, a part-time administrative assistant, and the contracted American Recorder Magazine editor) has taken over many administrative tasks of the working board.

In January 1950, the ARS published its first quarterly “News Letter.”  In January 1960, the Newsletter became The American Recorder, a 24 page magazine, which has been published continuously and expanded over the years. In 1990, the magazine was retitled American Recorder. In recent years, a Newsletter has accompanied the magazine and focuses on member and organizational news, while the magazine highlights news of general interest regarding the recorder and recorder players. Various archives are available to members:
American Recorder magazine
Recent Newsletters
Historical Newsletters

In 2014, ARS past president, long-time board member, and music editor Martha Bixler published, “The American Recorder Society and Me . . . a memoir,” in which she documented the history of ARS and her significant involvement with the organization.  These personal recollections do not necessarily reflect the views of the ARS, its Board or its members. A copy may be downloaded HERE. The book was published in hardcover by Peacock Press in 2016.