On the 30th anniversary of the American Vacuum Society, the Vacuum Technology Division presented a session on the History of Vacuum Science and Technology. The author was asked to present a paper on the history of the AVS and the IUVSTA for this session. Topics selected for discussion include the formation, growth, organizational structure, and strategy of operation of the AVS. Other subjects covered are publications, scholarships, and the author’s own personal experience in setting up two major awards for the Society. For a more comprehensive and detailed history of the AVS, the reader should consult ‘‘The First Twenty Years of the American Vacuum Society’’ [J. Vac. Sci. Technol. 10, 833 (1978)] and ‘‘The American Vacuum Society—1973 to 1983’’ [J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 1, 1351 (1983)]. Other countries have also organized their own vacuum societies. Many of these, some 22 in number, including the AVS, are members of the IUVSTA, an international confederation of national vacuum organizations. The formation and early history of this organization is described, including its new scientific divisions patterned after the AVS. Various objectives and activities of the Union are discussed.

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