2019-05-24 ALA Minutes

Minutes for EWS Business Meeting (ALA Annual Conference; May 24, 2019)

In attendance: Rita Bode; Melanie Dawson; Myrto Drizou; Meredith Goldsmith; Andrea Harris; Jay Jessee; Sharon Kim; Maria Novella Mercuri; Paul Ohler; Emily Orlando; Carole Shaffer-Koros; Meg Toth; Gary Totten; Lisa Tyler.

The President of the EWS, Melanie Dawson, called the meeting at 09:40 am. After asking those in attendance to introduce themselves, Melanie shared the agenda and information about the EWS awards, the recent issues of the Edith Wharton Review, and the CFP for the upcoming EWS conference (June 17-20, 2020).

The first item on the agenda was Carole Shaffer-Koros’ appointment as EWS archivist. In close consultation with EWS Vice-President, Jennifer Haytock, who brainstormed and drafted this position with Melanie, and with the approval of the rest of the Executive Board, Melanie was happy to announce the new office position, that of the Society archivist. Melanie described the archivist’s main tasks (which include compiling a history of the EWS since its early years) and she stressed the significance of this position for preserving our institutional memory.

The next item on the agenda was the report by the new EWS membership coordinator, Sheila Liming. Melanie shared the report that Sheila had sent, stressing that the Society has 121 active members plus institutional subscriptions (primarily handled by Penn State UP). The Society expects a surge in membership with the upcoming conference in New York.

The EWS treasurer, Sharon Kim, offered a report about the Society’s finances and she discussed the possibility of changing from Bank of America to Chase Bank for higher interest. The details of the EWS finances are cited below:

The Society has $10,632.57 in the Bank of America Checking Account and $435.65 on PayPal.

The EWS also has $6,584.32 in CDs:

CD1= $2,259.82 [7/14/10-7/14/20, 60 months; .15%]

CD2= $2,284.81 [7/14/10-7/19/21, 66 months; .15%]

CD3= $2,309.69 [7/14/10-7/19/22, 72 months; .15%]


Total Assets: $17,922.54

Paul Ohler then gave the Edith Wharton Review report. He emphasized that the journal has now greater visibility, as proven by the growth of institutional subscriptions (which have more than doubled) and the increase in downloaded articles. The EWR editorial team continues the effort to raise the profile of the journal; Paul encouraged EWS members to reach out to potential contributors. He mentioned that the editorial team has commissioned a bibliographical essay by Mary Carney; the journal also welcomes shorter and/or pedagogical pieces. Paul thanked the editorial team—Sharon Kim, Myrto Drizou, and Shannon Brennan—and offered some information on the forthcoming EWR special issue on the Age of Innocence (fall 2020). Furthermore, the journal hopes to publish pieces that will emerge from the EWS conference in 2020 and will publish presentation abstracts to showcase the range of scholarship in the field. The conference organizers and the EWR team will collaborate to link the CFPs for the special issue and the conference. Finally, Paul shared that Melanie Dawson and Virginia Ricard have joined the editorial board of the journal.

Melanie offered more information about upcoming conference panels. At the next MLA conference in Seattle, the EWS will hold a panel on Wharton and disability (contributors: Emily Banks; Paul Ohler; Lisa Mendelman; Maria-Novella Mercuri).

The EWS conference co-organizers, Meg Toth and Jay Jessee, proceeded to give a report about their plans for the conference. They have secured the New Yorker hotel in Manhattan as the venue and they are planning a site visit next month. The conference organizers have also planned a two-hour-long roundtable of very well-known Wharton scholars (there will be no concurrent sessions during that time). This roundtable will be headed by Dale Bauer and will include Nancy Bentley, Carol Singley, Melanie Dawson, and Jennifer Haytock. The conference organizers are also exploring options about the keynote speaker and are thinking about coordinating the roundtable with the keynote, so as to foreground a discussion about the future of Wharton Studies. In terms of logistical matters, Carole Shaffer-Koros stressed the importance of securing tax exemption and finding someone who will represent the Society in that capacity.

The discussion also involved what to do about the ALA, which will be held in San Diego, CA, in May 2020. The ALA dates are very close to the EWS conference, but the consensus was that the EWS will try to organize at least one panel for the ALA, so as to continue having a strong presence in the conference. Melanie also asked what kind of panels we would like to see in future conferences and encouraged people to submit ideas via e-mail. Some ideas included:

Wharton and affect; Wharton and film/ new media; Wharton and innovative forms; Wharton and Digital Humanities; Wharton and addiction/drugs in the context of art.

Furthermore, Melanie offered the Society’s congratulations to Jennifer Haytock, who won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

Finally, Melanie talked about email spoofing of EWS addresses and what to look for if one receives such an e-mail (which is something we cannot control).

Before the meeting was adjourned, Emily Orlando asked about the status of Christopher Hampton’s film on Custom of the Country, but no one had any information. Melanie talked briefly about Sagacity Films and their forthcoming screen adaptation of Bunner Sisters.

After thanking everyone, Melanie adjourned the meeting at 10:15 am.

Respectfully submitted to the EWS Board,


Myrto Drizou

EWS Secretary