2016-01-08 MLA Minutes

Minutes of the MLA Meeting of the Executive Board    

January 8, 2016                    Austin, Texas

In attendance: Emily Orlando, Meredith Goldsmith, Sharon Kim, Myrto Drizou, Shannon Brennan [Melanie Dawson, via skype]

  1. Update on the Society’s financial status. In the fall, we made a $4,000 deposit on the Washington conference. As of the most recent report from our treasurer at ALA in May, we had $27, 987.41 in the society’s accounts. As the Society prepares for the Washington conference, we need to apply for tax-exempt status in D.C., and we need to purchase special event insurance for the conference, as required by our hotel.
  1. Membership Update (Myrto Drizou)

Membership has risen from a previous count of 153 up to a current 173 members; nearly 1/3 of these are lifetime members, which means that they no longer pay membership dues. Institutional Memberships are holding at 39.

  1. Journal update (Meredith Goldsmith, Editor, Edith Wharton Review)

Number 31 of the journal is out; the journal looks forward to 2016 as production moves to Penn State University Press Journals. There will be one volume published this year; next year the journal returns to its biannual status.

This year, Sharon Kim and Paul Ohler join as co-editors of the journal. The journal is searching for a Book Review editor: effective 2017, Emily Orlando, who has held this position since spring of 2013, will be stepping down from this position. See the call for applications on the Society’s web page if you are interested.

Journal issues will now be issued at a standardized length of 96 pages per volume. Meredith plans to step down from her position as editor in 2017. The journal will be anticipating applications for the book review editorship. Expect the next issue in November of 2016.

  1. Update on Future Conferences (Sharon Kim, Melanie Dawson & Jennifer Haytock)

Sharon Kim is heading up a 2016 ALA panel and expects to announce the line-up soon (topic: Wharton and Religion).

Planning is advancing for the upcoming conference, Wharton in Washington 2016. Expect registration materials by the end of January. Registration fees will be collected via Paypal. We expect nearly a hundred scholars to register, plus 12 undergraduates. The fee structure for the conference will be multi-tiered, reflecting the different financial situations of attending scholars who are in various types of professional positions (including tenure-stream and non-tenure stream scholars, independent scholars, emeritus faculty, and those in the beginning phases of their careers.) There will also be a day-rate for interested non-participants.

Sharon Kim raised the possibility of a future conference in New York City in honor of the centennial of The Age of Innocence. A short discussion of financial considerations for such a conference took place.

  1. Edith Wharton Society Awards (Emily Orlando)

Last year the submission deadline for prizes was June 15; the society plans to maintain a June deadline, which will likely be moved close to the end of June because of the June conference this year. The following prizes and amounts will be awarded:

The Beginning Scholar Prize $250

The Undergraduate Research Prize $100

The Archival Research Award* (to be used for travel to The Mount, the Beinecke Library, or other EW archive) $500

*This award takes the place of previous, separate prizes for travel to The Mount and to the Beinecke Library.


There is interest in creating an endowed award; the society would need about $30,000 to generate sufficient interest to fund it. To this end, a subcommittee on fundraising and donor out-reach was created and will be headed by Sharon Kim.

  1. Nominations

The secretary will issue the nominations, as per the by-laws.

Current EWS officers will conclude their current terms on January 1, 2017. At that point, officers will be: Paul Ohler – President, Melanie Dawson – Vice President. We will need to fill the position of Secretary and will need to confirm Carole Shaffer-Koros’s interest in continuing as Treasurer.


Two at-large Executive Board members’ terms end on January 1, 2016. We need to check with Mary Carney and Sharon Kim, whose terms are listed as ending in June of 2016; this may be a typo. A short discussion of nominations for the two opening seats on the Executive Board then took place.



*Corrections to Prior Minutes

Comments on the Wharton Society site reflect that both Cecelia Macheski and Ferda Asya were in attendance at ALA in 2015 for the society meeting. Thanks to all who contributed to these corrections.