The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 8, No. 2 Fall 1981
William A. Paton
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (EMERITUS)
RECALLING GEORGE OLIVER MAY AND ME
Abstract: A recollection of the author's contacts with his friend George Oliver May. These personal insights provide an added dimension to the previous article, "May and Paton: Two Giants Revisited," authored by Henry Francis Stabler and Norman X. Dressel.
Included in the papers presented at the Third International Con-gress of Accounting Historians in London on August 15-17, 1980, was a lengthy piece entitled "May and Paton: Two Giants Re-visited," authored by Professors Henry Francis Stabler and Norman X. Dressel of Georgia State University. The authors have made an effort to weave us both into their account, as they go along, and they have managed to keep us nearly abreast with their 191 refer-ences. My only complaint of any consequence is the failure of the authors to give some consideration to my writing after the late 1940s—the period in which I did most of my best work. At the conclusion of the Stabler/Dressel paper, however, there is a lengthy quotation from a minor article of mine taken from the June 1974 issue of The Michigan CPA. It is this reference that has spurred me into writing these recollections of my contacts with Mr. May with the thought that they may be of some interest as a supplement to the Stabler/Dressel study.
Prior to my membership on the Committee on Accounting Pro-cedure, my contacts with Mr. May were slight, and not particu-larly friendly. I recall one spat with him (about 1936) in which he took offense at some comment regarding him in one of my articles. He wrote a caustic note, virtually consigning me to outer darkness. He had a point, and I finally replied with a conciliatory letter. Mr. May was a very conceited Englishman, and hypersensitive to criticism, even when somewhat justified. He finally forgave me for this affront, and I've always been glad he did. But when Eric Kohler had the nerve to attack him in The Accounting Review (of which Eric was editor at the time), he resigned from the American Accounting Association and never spoke a word to Eric again. I