By-Laws of the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society

Adopted at the Annual Meeting of the Society, May 25, 2001

Revised November 2022

I. Name

The name of the society is the Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society.

II. Purpose

The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society (CMSS) promotes the study and awareness of Sedgwick’s life and works. It aims to increase availability and access to her writings and offers a forum for established and emerging scholars, as well as others interested in Sedgwick, to exchange ideas, research, and pedagogical strategies.

III. Membership

The membership of the Society shall be open to persons and institutions who apply for membership and continue to pay annual dues or subscribe to a lifetime membership. Only individual members in good standing shall have the right to vote, hold office, or present at CMSS-sponsored forums. The Society may from time to time elect Honorary members.

IV. Dues

Annual dues of the Society are as follows: Regular member: $20; Student, Independent Scholar member: $10; 3-year Sustaining membership $50; Lifetime member: $250.

V. Officers

[Updated list of Officer Positions and Descriptions, posted on 4 Nov. 2018 (PDF): CMSS_Info]

The Executive Board shall consist of the following officers with the following responsibilities:


Promotes the Society’s vision and mission of supporting scholarship and exchange on CMS’s life and works, and overall, to increase visibility of society and support productivity of membership by helping to coordinate conference activity, both “external” (reading abstracts, chairing if needed) and “internal” (especially contacting keynote speakers, helping with arrangements); recruiting new members; connecting with other author societies (co-sponsoring conferences and events at conferences to promote scholarly activity); suggesting and generating content for the newsletter (e.g., “annual report,” special articles, membership activity, & soliciting others to contribute); fundraising for symposia; mini- grant writing for special events; contacting/updating Advisory Board members.

First Vice-President, Programs

Organizes a (generally) tri-annual symposium. Working with the CMSS board, identifies a theme and location; creates a CFP and registration information; receives and reviews abstracts; organizes panels and the symposium schedule; identifies the keynote speaker(s) and other outside events; works with food and drink vendors; and generally hosts the symposium itself. While the first VP coordinates all of these tasks, many of them are done by board members, other volunteers, and/or a host institution.

Second Vice-President, Programs

Prepares panels for national conferences, including ALA and SSAWW and MLA (this includes sending out call for papers, selecting abstracts, chairing or choosing a chair, and communicating with organizations and presenters); works with Executive Committee to design conference panel topics, solicit proposals, organize blind review of abstracts, arrange for chairing of panels, communicate with panelists; may prepare or coordinate panels at regional conferences; assists first VP Programs with organizing symposium.

Vice-President, Communications and Newsletter

Produces and distributes the Society’s newsletter (digital format); sends occasional email updates and announcements to the membership; maintains the CMSS affiliates email list, website/blog, and other social media; solicits materials from officers and membership; sends occasional email updates and announcements to the membership.

Vice-President, Membership and Finance

Maintains the CMSS membership list; processes new memberships and renewals; processes registrations for symposia; assists with the planning for symposia with particular emphasis on financial transactions; recruits election coordinator and assists with ballot distribution to current membership.

Vice-President, Digital Resources

Responsible for web design and digital communication, including updating the CMSS website, Facebook page, and other on-line communications as needed. In symposium years, creates the symposium website including managing the registration system for electronic collection of information and fees.

All officers are elected to three-year terms by simple majority of the members who vote via an official ballot distributed by electronic or regular mail.

VI. Advisory Board

Advisory board members are selected by the executive board and invited to serve in this capacity for a period of three years. They may serve consecutive terms at the executive board’s invitation. Advisory board members provide advice regarding the Society’s direction and activities, including Sedgwick-related publications. In addition, they promote the Society wherever feasible.

VII. Meetings

The Society, in non-Symposium years, meets in conjunction with the annual conference of the American Literature Association. During the years in which the Symposium is held, the meeting will take place at the Symposium. In addition, the executive board may arrange Society programs at other times and places, such as panels and/or social gatherings at meetings of the ALA and the SSAWW, or other venues. All members of the Society shall be encouraged through open calls for papers to participate in the Society’s programs.

VIII. Newsletter

The Catharine Maria Sedgwick Society Newsletter is the official publication of the Society. The newsletter shall regularly print notices, notes, queries, announcements, reviews, and other materials. Each member will receive one free copy of each issue of the newsletter, which will be published at least annually.

IX. Amendments to the By-laws

These by-laws may be amended by a two-thirds majority of members who vote on same, which may be carried out in person at the annual meeting or via electronic or regular mail. All proposed amendments must be circulated among the entire membership at least one month prior to the mail ballot deadline.

X. Dissolution of the Society

Upon dissolution of the Society, all assets belonging to the society after the discharge of any and all outstanding obligations shall become the property of a Sedgwick-related institution approved by the executive board. (Especially shall no member or other individual be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the Society’s assets upon dissolution of the Society.)

By-Laws Amendment, adopted July 15th, 2002

As of the vote of Sedgwick Society members on July 15, 2002, several changes were approved in the Society By-Laws.  The title or duties of two executive committee positions were amended in Section V, and changes in the language of Section VII were approved, as follows:

Section V. Officers: Second Vice-President, Programs — has primary responsibility for organizing Society-sponsored panels at external conferences and assists the First Vice-President, as needed, in coordinating other activities and programs of the Society.

Vice-President, Communications — produces and distributes the Society newsletter, which is published at least once annually, and communicates other matters of interest to the membership as needed.

Section VII. Meetings:  The selection committee for any CMSS-sponsored conference panel shall consist of at least one member from the Executive Board plus two additional members from either the Executive or Advisory Boards whenever possible, or from the general membership if necessary.  Whenever the Society issues an open call for papers for a non-Symposium panel, a blind submission process shall be administered.  Anyone submitting a proposal for a non-Symposium panel is ineligible to serve on the selection committee for that panel.