Minutes for Edith Wharton Society Business Meeting, American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, CA, Friday 5/25/18
Attendance: Sharon Kim, Sheila Liming, Paul Ohler, Madison Priest, Gary Totten, Myrto Drizou
Paul Ohler called the meeting at 11.15 am. He addressed a welcome message to all present and emphasized the significance of opening up the society to more scholars and young researchers. In this context, he mentioned the upcoming deadline for EWS awards (June 30, 2018) and encouraged members to apply.
Paul also introduced the new team for the Edith Wharton Review (himself as editor, Sharon Kim and Myrto Drizou as associate editors, and Shannon Brennan as book review editor). He mentioned the recent special issue on Wharton and religion (guest edited by Sharon Kim) and discussed the upcoming issue on Wharton and the periodical market. He asked members to encourage submissions, expanding the scope of the journal to include Wharton’s circle as well as literary associates and contemporaries. The EWR editors met with Patrick Alexander of PSUP at the recent MLA conference to figure out ways to strengthen the EWR board. Melanie Dawson has been added to the board; the editors are looking to add one more international scholar. Sharon added that the EWR editors will ask the editorial board members and executive board members to encourage and solicit submissions.
Myrto Drizou then offered the EWS membership report. The Society has 114 active individual members, which is lower since this time last year when we had 184 members. Institutional memberships are now handled by PSUP. Over the past couple of months, Paul and Myrto have individually e-mailed members whose subscriptions have or are about to expire; Myrto has also sent Donna an updated membership list for the website and list-serv. We hope that with the upcoming conference, the memberships will surge again, as was the case with the previous EWS conference in DC. With Myrto’s transition to another academic position outside the US, she will continue to manage the PayPal membership site, but Carole Shaffer-Koros will receive the membership checks. We have already updated this information on the EWS website (thank you, Donna!). Myrto also raised the question of a multi-year membership, which was requested by several members. This might be more convenient for members and might be worth looking into. Paul offered to make a motion to have that approved with the EWS board.
Paul also read the treasurer’s report, which was prepared by Carole Shaffer-Koros. As of May 15 2018, the Society has $19,719.35 in the checking account; and CDs 2,305.25, 2,281.11, 2,256.43. Total is: $26,562.85.
Further, Paul mentioned that we will have an election for a one new at-large executive board member in the fall as we implement staggered terms. Duties include vetting essays and proposals for the society prizes, proposing sessions on Edith Wharton at regional conferences such as SAMLA, occasionally supporting the work of the journal, and enjoying a free lunch at MLA.
He then proceeded to solicit ideas for next year’s ALA conference: the VP, who will be Jennifer Haytock, will organize one panel and any other society member may take responsibility for the other guaranteed panel, in consultation with the executive board, per bylaw 5.8.: “Topics for second Edith Wharton sessions at the ALA conference may be selected from proposals made by any member at a Wharton session at the prior year’s convention or by proposals solicited by the Society in advance.” Topics suggested included Wharton and her contemporaries, Wharton and networking, among others. Paul also mentioned that the society has a guaranteed panel at SSAWW, and Donna Campbell has organized this for the 2018 conference in Denver. MLA 2019 panel has been organized by incoming president Melanie Dawson; its topic is Edith Wharton’s Sense of Time.
Finally, Paul offered an update on the 2020 EWS conference. Meg Toth and Jay Jessee have been named conference co-directors. Bard College was an option for the location of the conference but there is interest in holding the conference in New York City. The conference will be held in late spring or early summer of 2020 and the goal will be to bring more international scholars, especially from the UK and Europe.
The meeting was adjourned at 11.45 am.