2018-01-06 MLA Minutes

EWS Board Meeting Minutes

MLA Convention, New York, NY

January 5, 2018 12:00-1:30

Attending: Shannon Brennan, Donna Campbell, Melanie Dawson, Myrto Drizou, Jennifer Haytock, Paul Ohler, Emily Orlando, Carole Shaffer-Koros

Welcome from Paul.


  1. Appointment of secretary (Jennifer) for minutes


  1. Approval of minutes from ALA business meeting on May 26, 2017


  1. Business arising from minutes


Thanks to Melanie for chairing the meeting; thanks to Myrto for taking the minutes.

ALA meeting produced good conference topics for us to consider for upcoming sessions at MLA and ALA.


  1. Reports


  1. President’s report:


2017 EWS Awards and deadline for 2018: thank you to our 2017 judges Jennifer Haytock, Madeleine Vala, and Meg Toth who dealt with a considerable number of essays. A good sign that we had a high number of submissions.



  • Deborah Molloy, a doctoral student at the University of Kent, the Edith Wharton Society Elsa Nettels Prize for a Beginning Scholar;
  • Aidan Selmer an English Major at the College of William and Mary, the Edith Wharton Society Undergraduate Research Award;
  • Myrto Drizou, the Edith Wharton Society Award for Archival Research


2018 deadline will be June 30 for the three awards; judges will be appointed in the spring. Please encourage undergraduate students working on Wharton to consider submitting essays.


EWS was well represented at the SSAWW Conference in Bordeaux, testament to scholars working on Wharton and the interest in her work.


Melanie is coordinating with the Fitzgerald Society for a session at MLA in 2019. We should consider other society collaborations; we encourage someone to reach out to the Cather Society for ALA in 2019.


The proposed EWS/SHARP panel for MLA was not accepted, but a version of it will be held at ALA in San Francisco using one of the EWS panels.


For ALA, calls for Edith Wharton and the West and Edith Wharton and Periodical Culture will be submitted this month.


Jan. 1, 2019 will see Melanie begin her term as president and Jennifer begin her term as vice-president; co-treasurer Carole’s final term will end on that date, as will the term of one at-large board member. The term of the other at-large member will be extended to July so we can establish a staggered term system for these positions, as per our discussion last April.


Melanie will organize the 2019 MLA panel, and Jennifer will organized a 2019 ALA panel. We should be proactive at the Board level to ensure strong submissions. Any member in good standing can propose a panel topic to the President and/or Vice President.


Melanie: the 2017 ALA panel had a lot of non-Wharton scholars, and it’s hard to predict how the panel will represent the society.


Paul: The ALA business meeting minutes have good ideas (see note at end of this document).
Emily: Edith Wharton and Boston.


In April, Paul asked Mary Carney to begin consulting with the EWS leadership about the Wharton panel she organizes at SAMLA each year because it is a guaranteed panel associated with the society. Mary kindly submitted the panel information after topics and panellists were chosen, though we may want to seek a more consultative process to avoid overlap and repetition.


4b. Treasurer’s report (Carole)


Current balances:

Checking: $18, 635.62

CDs: 6,839.80

Total: $25,475.42


Penn State will start paying us for the journal; we pay them to start, then they pay us.


We gave a $200 donation to the Mount.


We have about $500 more than at the last meeting, “very healthy” finances.


4c. Membership coordinator report (Myrto)


We have 161 active individual members, a drop from 190 in May (ALA report). Memberships have expired and not been renewed. We can’t contact people individually because it’s too time-consuming.


Discussion of paying a work-study student for help with contacted individuals with lapsed memberships. Paul and Myrto will email about this.


Lifetime members don’t pay but they send donations; maybe President could reach out? The Society received $270 in donations.


Our membership includes non-scholars in addition to scholars.


4d. Edith Wharton Review update (Paul);


New Associate Editor: Myrto Drizou

New book review editor: Shannon Brennan


Sharon Kim’s special issue EW and Religion has just been finalized; the spring issue will be the Edith Wharton and the Periodical Market special issue, then in fall 2018 we will publish articles currently in the pipeline, including one or two of the EWS prize-winning essays. We hope to have a robust offering of book reviews, including books not necessarily on Wharton but of interest to Wharton scholars, and will publish abstracts from MLA and ALA panels on an ongoing basis. We are looking for “From the Archive” submissions. We should consider commissioning a bibliographical essay that covers the past five years or so.


Myrto, Shannon, and I are meeting Patrick Alexander, director of PSU press to discuss plans for the journal going forward.


Numbers from PSU press are as follows: Views and downloads from North America and Europe are 16180 (72.5%) and 3670 (16.4%) respectively; Asia 1688 (or almost 8% of total)


Users from 1,047 institutions

JSTOR Institutions

2016 – 45

2017 – 53


Paid print subscriptions dropped from 2016 to 2017 along with membership numbers; due to 2016 being an international conference year.


Diana Pesek informs me that the journal is healthy financially and we are very pleased to have it in our program.


We’re trying to open the Review to more essays that provide context for Wharton studies, including essays that pair Wharton with another writer and/or that show her influence. Ezra Pound Journal has done this.


Melanie: interest in Edith Wharton and T20, the turn of the century and emergent modernity.


  1. ALA panels for 2018 and solicitation of ideas for 2019 MLA guaranteed panel (Melanie) and ALA (Jennifer) panel ideas


Please reflect on ideas for 2019 MLA guaranteed panel to be organized by Melanie and ALA panels, one of which will be organized by Jennifer; we still have many good concepts from ALA business meeting: The discussion moved on to topics for future ALA panels, possibly two. These were the suggestions: Wharton and maternity (Rita Bode); Wharton and technology (Lisa Mendelmann); Wharton’s Liminality; other California writers? (Gertrude Atherton); Wharton as disruption/hybrid; Wharton and Norris (Myrto); Wharton and Cather (Califano); Gilman and Wharton (Stephanie Palmer)



  1. We’ll be working on the 2020 conference site and naming of co-directors; reminder that conference coordinators will be named to executive board. We might consider having a site director separate from the co-director to manage the work.



Emily: Many thanks to Paul for his excellent leadership as President of the Edith Wharton Society.



Minutes respectfully submitted by Jennifer Haytock, 9 February 2018.