EWS Elections: Nominations Sought

Dear Edith Wharton Society members,

The Edith Wharton Society is now accepting nominations for the position of Secretary and two Members-at-Large, for the 2023-2025 term.


From our Constitution:

“5.4.  The Secretary shall take and distribute minutes of all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Board and shall forward minutes to the Web Master for posting on the society’s web page.  The Secretary shall coordinate the nominations of new members of the board.”

5.7 “To achieve continuity, officers shall ordinarily succeed one another in this order: the Vice-President shall become President, and the Secretary become Vice-President, and the President become the Immediate Past President.”


Members-at-Large may be asked to adjudicate the EWS prizes, and they have the option of organizing, or deputizing someone to organize, the guaranteed EW panel at NEMLA, SAMLA, and other regional MLA conferences (5.9).

For further information about these positions, please review our Constitution at


If you have any questions about either position, please feel free to contact any current Society officer, including President Jennifer Haytock (jhaytock@brockport.edu), Vice President Myrto Drizou (mdrizou@gmail.com), or Secretary Margaret Jay Jessee (mjjessee@uab.edu) for further information.

Candidates must be members in good standing of the Edith Wharton Society. Membership dues can be paid here:

Please email Jay Jessee with nominations by Thursday, September 1st 2022. Please include which position you are nominating yourself for and a one-paragraph biography. A voting period will follow the close of the nomination period.

To vote, you must be a member in good standing. I encourage you to check on your membership status (https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/membership/directory/) and update it if necessary.



Tour Morocco with a Wharton Scholar

My name is Stacy Holden, and I am co-organizing a private excursion tracing Edith Wharton’s trip to Morocco in 1917.   This trip is tailored to Wharton fans or scholars who want to see Morocco and learn something of Wharton’s trip there 105 years ago.  

I lived in Morocco for three years, and have been traveling back and forth for 25 years.  With Amanda Mouttaki, a travel organizer based in Marrakesh, I hope to develop experiential learning for people who love Wharton or seek a more focused travel experience.  I attached an itinerary, and you can find it online here.  

A little bit more about myself: I have been a member of the Edith Wharton Society for about 5 years.  I am an Associate Professor of History at Purdue University, and my book-in-progress will assess Wharton  as drawing room diplomat who shaped ideas about early-twentieth century US policymaking both through her writing and through her elite networks.  

Links to my professional and private website are below.  


Stacy E. Holden, Ph.D.  

Associate Professor

Purdue University

University Hall 

672 Oval Drive 

West Lafayette, IN 47907-2087


New Books: The Old Maid

 Cita Press has published a new edition of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. In this 1924 novella, cousins Delia and Charlotte conspire to raise Charlotte’s secret daughter right under the nose of “old New York” society. Wharton expertly examines her characters and the social contradictions they exploit to protect their family in a story that is as biting as it is tender and, at times, perplexingly triumphant.

We are thrilled to bring this book to new audiences with a free, open access edition available online to all readers with an internet connection. The book is available in English and Spanish: https://citapress.org/#books/old-maid

On Tuesday, May 17 at 6 pm ET, journalist and author Krithika Varagur, who wrote the foreword for this edition, will discuss the book and Wharton’s evolving legacy with Cita Press editorial coordinator Jessi Haley. Details and registration for this virtual event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-old-maid-by-edith-wharton-cita-press-book-launch-with-krithika-varagur-tickets-332901566547

Cita Press is a bilingual press that celebrates the spread of culture and knowledge by publishing writing by women that is open-licensed or in the public domain. Through its library of carefully designed free books, Cita honors the principles of decentralization, collective artistic production, and equitable access to knowledge. All of our work is non-commercial and intended for educational purposes. Subscribe to our newsletter via https://tinyletter.com/citapress



TLW Talk by Dr. Maria-Novella Mercuri on The Fruit of the Tree (8 June 2022; 5 p.m. UK time)

The Transatlantic Literary Women are holding the final regular talk of the season next Wed – Wed 8 June at 5pm UK time, when we’re delighted to be joined by Dr Maria-Novella Mercuri who will be speaking on ‘A sisterhood of New Women: The Fruit of the Tree and its connection to the theatre of Ibsen and Sudermann’. Not to be missed! Details: https://transatlanticladies.wordpress.com/2022/05/23/june-tea-with-tlw-dr-maria-novella-mercuri-on-the-fruit-of-the-tree-and-its-connection-to-the-theatre-of-ibsen-and-sudermann-%ef%bf%bc/

Chiara, Lindsay and I hope you’ll be able to join us. For ease, I’m also pasting the zoom link below. 

Hope to see you there!

Take care. All best- Laura

Edith Wharton Panels and Meeting at ALA 2022

American Literature Association Conference

Chicago, IL (May 26-29, 2022)

Edith Wharton Society Panels

Panel 1: Friday, May 27, 11.30-12.50

Edith Wharton, Bodies, and Mobility (Salon 7) 

Chair: Gary Totten, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

1.     “Transnationalism and Character Identity in American Novels: Wharton’s The Custom of the Country and The Reef at the Turn of the Century,” Samantha Seto, King’s College, London 

2.     “Hidden Bodies: Disability, Corporeality, and the Imperial Past in Edith Wharton’s Short Fiction,” Donna Campbell, Washington State University

Panel 2: Friday, May 27, 4.00-5.20

Wharton’s Short Stories (Indiana) 

Chair: Myrto Drizou, Boğaziçi University

1.     “‘Between myself and my readers’: Edith Wharton’s Ghost Stories and the American Unfinished,” Kacie Fodness, University of South Dakota

2.     “Edith Wharton’s ‘Blonde Beasts,’” Maria-Novella Mercuri, University College London, UK 

3.     “Not that Innocent: Teaching Edith Wharton’s ‘Roman Fever,’” M. M. Dawley, Lesley 


All Society’s members (and anyone interested in Wharton’s work) are cordially invited to attend our Business Meeting on Friday, May 27, 2.30-3.50 (Salon 9).

Edith Wharton Panels at ALA 2022 (updated 2022.05.17)

Session 9-F Edith Wharton, Bodies, and Mobility (Salon 7)
Organized by the Edith Wharton Society
Chair: Gary Totten, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

  1. “Transnationalism and Character Identity in American Novels: Wharton’s The Custom of the Country
    and The Reef at the Turn of the Century,” Samantha Seto, King’s College, London
  2. “Hidden Bodies: Disability, Corporeality, and the Imperial Past in Edith Wharton’s Short Fiction,” Donna
    Campbell, Washington State University

Session 10-K: Business Meeting: Edith Wharton Business Meeting (Salon 4)

Session 11-M Business Meeting: Edith Wharton Society (Salon 9)

Session 12-G Edith Wharton’s Short Stories (Indiana)
Organized by the Edith Wharton Society
Chair: Myrto Drizou, Boğaziçi University

  1. “‘Between myself and my readers’: Edith Wharton’s Ghost Stories and the American Unfinished,” Kacie
    Fodness, University of South Dakota
  2. “Edith Wharton’s ‘Blonde Beasts,’” Maria-Novella Mercuri, University College London, UK
  3. “Not that Innocent: Teaching Edith Wharton’s ‘Roman Fever,’” M. M. Dawley, Lesley University

EWS Research Awards (Deadline 30 June 2022)

The Edith Wharton Society is delighted to announce three prizes for 2022: the Elsa Nettels Prize for a Beginning Scholar, the Edith Wharton Society Award for Archival Research, and the Edith Wharton Society Undergraduate Research Prize.  Below please find all calls for submissions.  All submission materials should be sent via email by June 30, 2022 to current EWS President, Jennifer Haytock, SUNY Brockport, jhaytock@brockport.edu.  

The Elsa Nettels Prize for a Beginning Scholar  

This award, formerly known as the “Edith Wharton Society Prize for a Beginning Scholar,” established in 2005, recognizes the best unpublished essay on Edith Wharton’s work by a beginning scholar, advanced graduate student, independent scholar, or faculty member who has held a full-time appointment for four or fewer years.  All entries will be considered for publication in The Edith Wharton Review, published by Penn State University Press.  The author of the prize-winning essay will receive an award of $250.  

How to apply:  

  • Submissions should be 20-30 double-spaced pages long and follow the 8th edition MLA style, using endnotes rather than footnotes.  
  • Submissions should include two attached files: an anonymized MS Word version of your paper and a separate cover letter containing the applicant’s name, essay title, academic status, e-mail address, postal address, and the award name.  
  • Please use the subject line: “EWS Elsa Nettels Prize for a Beginning Scholar.”  
  • Submissions are due to jhaytock@brockport.edu by June 30, 2022


The Edith Wharton Society Award for Archival Research   

The archival award, in the amount of $500, enables a scholar to conduct research at one of the Edith Wharton archives at Wharton’s library at The Mount in Lenox, MA, the Wharton Collection at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, or the Wharton papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.  

Funds must be used for transportation, lodging, and other expenses related to archival research.  Notification of the award will take place by August 15, 2022.  The award can be used between August 15, 2022 and August 14, 2023.  A brief report detailing some aspect(s) of the research (not intended to preempt publication in other scholarly venues) will be due to the EWS president by September 1, 2023 and will be published in the Edith Wharton Review.  

How to apply:  

  • Submissions should include a proposal (of no more than two single-spaced pages) that describes the applicant’s overarching research project, its contribution to Wharton scholarship, the applicant’s scholarly preparation, and the relevance of the archive to the project’s completion.  
  • Also include two additional attachments: a CV and a separate cover letter containing your current affiliation, rank, and mailing address.  
  • Please use the subject line: “EWS Award for Archival Research.”  
  • Submissions are due to  jhaytock@brockport.edu by June 30, 2022.  

The Edith Wharton Society Undergraduate Research Prize  

First offered in 2014, the undergraduate research prize is open to students at all undergraduate levels.  Papers should be no more than fifteen pages long and can address Wharton’s works in any genre.  The winning essay will be published on the EWS website, and the author will receive an award of $100.  

Queries and Replies: Definition of “toilets” in Custom of the Country

May I inquire about the meaning of ‘toilets’ used several times in the Custom of the Country? It seems to suggest as some sort of accessories ladies wore on their person that can be seen and admired.
Thank you. — Joy Cutler

Reply: The meaning in Custom of the Country and other older novels is often “to make one’s toilet or toilette,” meaning to prepare one’s hair to go out or be in company. The Oxford English Dictionary has this to say: “Frequently in form toilette. The action or process of washing, dressing, or arranging the hair. Frequently in to make one’s toilet.” Here’s the OED example from Washington Irving’s Bracebridge Hall: ” She actually spent an hour longer at her toilette, and made her appearance with her hair uncommonly frizzed and powdered.”

Another common reference is “toilet water  n.  [after French eau de toilette (see eau de toilette n. at eau n. f)] a dilute form of perfume, esp. one largely alcoholic in content used as a skin freshener; eau de toilette.” — Donna Campbell

For more queries, go to https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/category/queries/