DRAFT of Minutes, Edith Wharton Society (EWS) Business Meeting, 22 May 2015
3:40 pm Westin Copley Place Hotel, Boston, MA.
Present: Ferda Asya, Shannon Brennan, Donna Campbell, Mary Carney, Myrto Drizou, Anna Girling, Meredith Goldsmith, Alice Kelly, Sharon Kim, Carole Shaffer-Koros, Cecilia Macheski, Maureen Montgomery, Paul Ohler, Emily Orlando, Sharon Shaloo, Sarah Way Sherman, Gary Totten, Arielle Zibrak
Minutes taken by Paul Ohler, vice-president
President Emily Orlando called the meeting to order at 3:42
Emily welcomed everyone, recognized members of the EWS board and particularly new members, reviewed the agenda, and introduced Meredith Goldsmith who reported on the following:
Meredith informed the group that the Edith Wharton Review was moving to Penn State University Press in 2016.
She discussed matters related to editorial production and finance and pointed out that the change would facilitate a focus on editing the journal while much of the other work associated with running it would be handled by the press.
Meredith stated that we would have print and digital versions of the journal in 2016, enabling us to run things in the journal we would not otherwise be able to.
She mentioned that all back issues would move to Jstor and that relationships with Proquest and EBSCO would be terminated. One result of this is that all back issues on the society Web site will be taken down.
Meredith stated that with the move happening in 2016 we will have a longer period of time to inform people of new costs, which will go up. The press is prepared to publicize the activities of the journal.
The next issue will be the last done by Print-Tec; 2016 will be one issue then 2017 will see two issues produced.
Emily Orlando called for suggestions regarding books for the journal to review.
Carole Shaffer-Koros then presented an update of society finances, noting that a $4000.00 deposit for the conference in Washington 2016 had been paid. Carole informed the group that the society has $27,987.41.
Myrto Drizou presented an update on society membership: there are 173 current members. 63 are lifetime members; some lifetime members are contributing to the society and renewals by lifetime members are being registered as donations.
Myrto anticipates a surge in membership because of the 2016 EW in Washington conference, and she noted that we will negotiate terms of renewal of memberships as we move to Penn State press.
Cecilia suggested including community college faculty in the recruitment for new members and papers.
Emily Orlando then spoke about the business meeting for naturalist author societies she and others attended, remarking that the Edith Wharton Society is doing better in terms of memberships and number of conference panels than the other author societies with whom she and others met.
Emily then reported on the conference and announced the dates: June 2-4, 2016 at the Fairfax Hotel, Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.
Emily then reviewed the report submitted by Melanie Dawson and Jennifer Haytock on their conference planning activities.
Emily reported that Sharon Kehl Califano has created the conference Facebook page and thanked her for her work. Many thanks were expressed to Donna Campbell for setting up the conference web site.
Carole briefly addressed the issue of tax exempt status for the society. To secure this we have to incorporate then file for tax exemption. Emily thanked Carole for her important work with this complicated process.
A discussion of the Washington conference ensued and the following points were made:
Melanie and Jennifer are investigating the possibility of conference attendees touring the Sackler Gallery’s Filthy Lucre exhibit.
The CFP deadline for the conference is July 15, 2015.
The conference will include undergrad panels; Melanie and Jennifer will address this in the fall.
Sharon Shaloo suggested that we encourage sponsorships at certain levels for the conference and perhaps invite advertising in the program.
Mary Carney suggested a Wharton and her world exhibit might be possible too.
Maureen Montgomery encouraged those involved with the conference to post the CFP on lists available to scholars in Europe.
Sharon Kim made the point that the deadline was too early and this would limit the number of people who could attend the conference; Emily replied to this point, stating that the conference directors had taken a number of factors into consideration when they determined the due date. She also added that many people ask to submit proposals late and that the conference directors are aware that a number of folks will likely submit late.
Sharon Shaloo reported that Library of Congress may respond positively to a request to do EW exhibit using their resources. She indicated it might be a good idea to approach the Center for the Book at the LOC and that it may be possible to hold a reception.
The next item on the agenda was a discussion of the proposed changes to the society bylaws.
Once again, Emily acknowledged Donna Campbell’s work in ensuring the revised bylaws were available on the EWS Web site.
Emily reviewed important points in the document:
The addition of a membership coordinator
That the Webmaster and the Membership Coordinator are now also at–large board members.
Emily reviewed the changed responsibilities and new terms for the editor of the EWR dealt with in sections 5.6 and 5.7 of the bylaws.
Sharon Shaloo made the point that we should not limit the number of board members to 13, perhaps 15 is a better number.
Alice Kelly discussed thinking about representation on the board from different geographic zones
Sharon Kim suggested thinking about operating procedures for the journal, which is under the auspices of the society. It will be easier for people to step into a role if there is a visible line of succession.
Meredith followed up on this and suggested a clarified set of procedures for journal succession
Emily concluded the discussion by asking people to watch for an on-line vote and to talk up the Edith Wharton Society prizes. She also noted that paper ballots will be available upon request.
The next item on the agenda was taken up: panel ideas for next year’s ALA in San Francisco.
Sharon Kim suggested Edith Wharton and Film, Wharton and Islam, EW and Cosmopolitanism
Myrto Drizou suggested Wharton and genre
Wharton and the visual arts was suggested by Alice Kelly, but the point was made that this has been done previously.
Sharon Kim suggested EW and Islam and Arielle Zibrak suggested that a panel on EW and Religion might be cast a wider net. Also suggested was Wharton and Asia or Pacific rim;
Moving on to the next topic, Emily stated that our affiliated society status with the MLA is valid until 2018.
She also reminded the group to renew their EWS memberships, or sign up for the society. There are various levels of membership: one can, for example, become a “Friend of Edith.” Make sure, too, that you are a member of the listserv.
Donna Campbell updated us on the domain name of the society:
Meredith Goldsmith then talked about the summer seminar for schoolteachers at the Mount, an NEH project that she explored and previously solicited expressions of interest for; 2017 is better because there would be no conflict with the conference.
Cecilia asked about the status of the NEH grant that had been initiated with The Mount.
Sharon Kim suggested we not take the Mount for the whole seminar, but think about universities in the area, as they could accommodate a larger group.
If we are thinking about access to the humanities, community colleges are an important place; there is a community college in Greenfield, for example. It might be worthwhile to connect with state humanities councils.
Maureen Montgomery asked about the 2020 conference: Meredith mentioned Wharton in Morocco, and a number of people mentioned New York as a possible site, given the 100th anniversary of The Age of Innocence.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:47.