2022-05-27 EWS Business Meeting at ALA

Edith Wharton Society Business Meeting

American Literature Association, Chicago, IL

May 27, 2022 2:30-3:50

Present: Myrto Drizou, Stephen Arch, Donna Campbell, Samantha Seto, Maria Novella-Mercuri

Myrto Drizou called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.

  1. Appointment of Donna Campbell to take minutes as Secretary pro tem.
  2. Announcements:
    1. Awards. The deadline for the submission of EWS Awards: June 30 for the 3 awards: The Elsa Nettels Prize for a Beginning Scholar, The Edith Wharton Society Award for Archival Research, and The Edith Wharton Society Undergraduate Research Prize.   Please spread the word to interested parties. Awards information is available at https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/awards/.
    1. Elections. The positions to be filled in the elections to be held this year include those of  Secretary, who then becomes VP and President; and two open Members at large positions. More information about positions and duties is available on the EWS site.: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/membership/constitution-and-by-laws/
  3. Officer Reports:
    1. Sharon Kim, Treasurer: “Our current assets are $31,844.25. Since we do not have any CDs, all of our money is in a Chase checking account (or en route to it from PayPal).”  
    1. Rita Bode, Edith Wharton Review editor:

“I would like to thank Paul Ohler for helping enormously with the transition to my editorship, and thanks too to Shannon Brennan and Myrto Drizou for welcoming me and for all the committed and thought work that all three put into producing the Review.

When Myrto becomes the EWS President, she will step down from her editorial role –  she will be much missed.

Katrin Horn, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at University of Bayreuth, Germany, has accepted the editors’ invitation to join the editorial team as Associate Editor in October and we look forward to working with her.

At the end of last year, the position of the Book Review editor has been eliminated in favour of adding another Associate Editor position and the former responsibilities of the Book Review Editor are now shared among the Editor and the three Associate Editors. Shannon Brennan has moved into the position of Associate Editor.

We continue to highlight books of relevance to Society members. While it sometimes takes a while to find suitable reviewers which can cause some delay, we welcome suggestions of new books that Society members would like to see reviewed.

The editors are exploring additional ways in which the work being done on Wharton can be effectively profiled such as the round table discussion from the last issue.

The next issue, on which we are currently working, is a general issue, but the one after that is a special issue on Edith Wharton and Ecology, guest edited by Melanie Dawson and Jennifer Haytock. The deadline for submissions is September 15th.

We invite and encourage EWS members to submit their work and /or encourage their colleagues and/or their senior graduate students to do so for all coming issues. The review welcomes submissions on Wharton’s work from a broad range of approaches and perspectives.

The editors wish to thank the Edith Wharton Society and the Edith Wharton Review Board members for their support.”

  • Donna Campbell, webmaster: “In the first five months of 2022, the EWS site has had 9,432 views and 3,448 unique visitors, which compares favorably with last year’s 12-month total of 16,630 views. Most of our visitors come from the U. S. (5349), followed by the Netherlands (1,711) and the United Kingdom (1001). We receive most of our referrals from search engines (2,645), followed by Twitter (163), Wikipedia (89), Facebook (27), and Blackboard (25).

Our information pages, those with written text and links to  Wharton’s works (Biography, Novels and Novellas, FAQ, Chronology, Short Stories) are among the most visited, along with The Edith Wharton Review. Information posted to the site is immediately also posted on Twitter and Facebook. This summer we’ll be hosting another ‘New Books Week’ featuring new books and articles, so please send that information. There’ll be a call for these soon.”

  • Carole Shaffer-Koros, Archivist: “I have been interviewing colleagues who were present at the organizational meeting for the EWS in 1983. So far I’ve spoken to Katherine Joslin, Alfred Bendixen, and Carol Singley, but I have a few more people to talk to. I’d like to compile the results into an article when I’m finished.”
  • Sheila Liming, Symposium Director: “The Edith Wharton Society Symposium, to be held at The Mount, is scheduled to take place next summer, from May 30-June 1 [2023]. The majority of the symposium activities will occur across two days (on Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1), with a welcoming reception planned for the evening of Monday, May 30th. All symposium activities will take place at The Mount, either in their stable facilities / auditorium or elsewhere on the property, and we are also working out a deal with the nearby Seven Hills Hotel, which is adjacent to The Mount and so located within walking distance to it.

I sent out a questionnaire to EWS members last December and received about 30 responses. The questionnaire asked about ideas for innovative and non-traditional symposium sessions, such as workshops, historical tours, reading groups, and cultural activities. From those results, I’ve gathered that there is a lot of interest in the gardens at The Mount, in particular, so one activity we would like to look into would be a guided tour of the garden presented along with some discussion of books from Wharton’s library at The Mount that focus on botany, horticulture, etc.

Another great suggestion had to do with Wharton and food. Since The Mount has a functioning kitchen, we were thinking about a workshop that would have participants make a recipe that figures prominently in Wharton’s writing (like Roman Punch, as featured at Ellen Olenska’s farewell dinner in The Age of Innocence). The idea would be to focus on more hands-on activities and sessions, while also allowing opportunities for networking, for conducting research in the library, and for presenting new research. For instance, The Mount has requested that we have an evening presentation that would be open to the public. At the moment, the thought is to form a small panel of symposium participants and have them each sample from some of their current research on a given topic that would be of interest to a more general audience.” Sheila added that we are still searching for a co-director for the symposium.

  • Discussion Items
    • Constitutional Revisions: Appointment of Treasurer and appointment/Election of EWR Editor: The proposed constitutional amendments discussed in the MLA EWS Executive Board Meeting (January 2022) were circulated in the meeting and will be later voted on by the EWS board and membership.

Discussion: Mary Carney is currently shadowing Sharon Kim.

  • Next international conference. Next year we are hoping to have the symposium, possibly 30-40 people. We are tentatively planning for the next international conference in 2025 and we welcome further discussions and proposals about it.
  • Future MLA and ALA panels. We welcome suggestions for the next MLA panels. Discussion:
    • EW and History for MLA 2023 is set.
    • Suggestions for Wharton and other American women writers, possibly combining two author societies working together for ALA.
    • For the MLA, it’s the President that organizes the panel.
    • Possible permanent presiding officers for SAMLA, PAMLA, and other regional MLAs. We used to have regular panels at NEMLA, SAMLA, and the other regional MLAs. We could have panels at those and possibly a permanent presiding officer. We usually put out a call for papers on the listserv, Wharton-l, the site, twitter, Facebook, etc. 
    • EWS Members’ Access to EWR through a portal at the EWS site. Thanks to Penn State and JStor, EWS members now have access now to back and current issues of the EWR through a dedicated link on the EWS site. Current members need to have the password sent to them once their membership has been confirmed; after this, a notice of this feature can be sent out and posted to the site.
  • Other Discussion and Announcements:
    • Samantha Seto would be interested in helping with the journal; Myrto suggested reporting on sessions.
    • Maria Novella: it would be nice to have hybrid panels because of expense; also, the term isn’t over for many European universities by the time that ALA meets.  Myrto: MLA will only be 10% online next year.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Campbell, Secretary pro tem