2014-01-11 MLA

DRAFT of Minutes, Edith Wharton Society (EWS) Board Meeting Saturday, 11 January 2014

8:30 am Conrad Hotel, Chicago, Illinois

Modern Language Association Conference


Present:  Meredith Goldsmith, Sharon Kehl Califano, Sharon Kim, Emily Orlando, Carole Shaffer-Koros, Carol Singley, and Gary Totten.

In the absence of Secretary Paul Ohler, Emily Orlando agreed to take the minutes.    President Meredith Goldsmith called the breakfast meeting to order at approximately 9:10 am.

Meredith noted that the newly designed Edith Wharton Review, for which she serves as Editor, would be arriving in the mail the following week.   Emily recently began serving as Book Review Editor.  Membership fees for the EWS have gone up $5 in each category.  On the issue of membership, it was reported that we have approximately 185 members at present, including university libraries.  Meredith indicated that she would determine which type of envelope to use for the mailing of the journal.  The journal features a new size, new cover art, new typeface, and is approx 90 pages.  The content is growing in size.  Meredith noted that the 30 year anniversary of the journal is approaching and she discussed the possibility of celebrating the anniversary.  Meredith noted that the cost of production for the journal has increased.  Print Tech, Meredith reported, has been very agreeable to work with.  Ann Patten has stepped down from the Executive Board.  Meredith suggested the possibility of working with an Associate Editor for the EWR.


The next topic of discussion was Digital Humanities.  Sharon Kehl Califano offered a brief and helpful update.


Meredith introduced the idea of instituting an undergraduate research prize for the EWR.  It was proposed that the prize-winning essay might be printed on the EWS website.  Meredith moved to establish the prize in the amount of $100 and the dissemination of the prize-winning essay on the EWS website.  Sharon Kehl Califano seconded the motion.


The Mount and Beinecke Research Prizes were briefly discussed.  Soon we will send out our CFP for the Mount and Beinecke Prizes.


The discussion then moved to the next Wharton Society conference.  Melanie Dawson has graciously agreed to serve as Co-Director for a proposed conference in New York.  It was discussed that given the time it takes to plan an international conference, we would target June 2016 as the conference date.  At this time, we are in need of a conference Co-Director.  Carol Singley suggested Jennie Kassanoff as a possible keynote speaker and that perhaps she might be willing to serve as sponsor/liaison for a New York Conference.  Carol also suggested the New York Society Library as a possible resource or venue.  Sharon Kehl Califano offered to assist with the planning of the conference.  Carole Shaffer-Koros suggested the Fashion Institute of Technology as a possible locale given its proximity to sites relevant to Wharton.  Sharon Kehl Califano also asked for Meredith and Emily, Co-Directors of the 2012 Florence Conference, to provide a timeline from their experience of planning the conference, a process that began in 2008.  Meredith and Emily agreed to share their notes from the Florence conference.


The discussion next turned to voting matters.  The first item concerned adding the Webmaster as Ex-Officio on the EWS Board.  Meredith made a motion, Sharon Kehl Califano seconded it.  Donna Campbell, EWS Webmaster, will serve as Ex-Officio and will vote as a member of the Board.  The second item concerned the term of the EWR editorship.  Meredith indicated that she would like to add “3-5 year renewable term” to the by-laws.  Meredith proposed, then, that we modify 5.7 of the bylaws.  Carole Shaffer-Koros seconded the motion.


Carole Shaffer-Koros, EWS Treasurer, then reported on the financials.  The EWS has 7 CDs totaling $25,152.01.  The Business Accounts amount to $2,888.07.  “We are in good shape,” Carole reported.  On the issue of finances, Carole suggested approaching the Harpers, a New York couple deeply interested in Wharton and who attended the 2008 conference, for a possible endowed gift to the EWS.

Meredith next suggested that we discuss the $1500 Mount Research Award.  The question was raised: should we ask for more from the winners of the award?  Should we consider lowering the dollar figure attached to the prize?  We discussed having the winner share his/her talk, possibly digitizing it and/or recording it such that it will be available online.  On the issue of finances, it was determined that the EWS gives a total of $3350 in grants per year.  Carole Shaffer-Koros offered to reach out to longtime supporters of the EWS to serve as possible donors.

In the interest of honoring senior Wharton scholars, Carol Singley mentioned Annette Zilversmit, Elsa Nettels, and Kristin Lauer, and the possibility of hosting a tea at ALA to invite senior scholars to be honored at ALA.  Carol also suggested a special session might be proposed on Digital Humanities and early 20th-century American Writers.

After a very rich and lively discussion, Meredith adjourned the meeting at 10:00 am.


Respectfully submitted,

Emily Orlando, Vice President, EWS


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