Meeting of the Society: June 2000

Meeting, 6/10/00
Hitchcock room, Red Lion Inn
Stockbridge, Mass.

Attending: V. Clements, K. Westwood, S. Smith-Gates, T. Carmichael, J. Michel, D. Miller,
E. Foster, B. Daly, J. Varnum, C. Ritter, M. Pugh, J. Gibson, J. Iasko, M. Homestead,
J. Fetterley, K. Woods Weierman, L. Vetere, D. Evans, C. Avallone, J. Elmore, J. Banks,
W. Bell, L. Damon-Bach

Meeting was called to order by Lucinda Damon-Bach at 3:25

I. Conversation addressed the society’s mission statement, beginning with one written by Deborah Gusssman. (See meeting agenda.)

J. Banks was troubled by the use of the word “legitimacy,” noting it suggests a defensive posture.

M. Homestead, K. Westwood, and J. Drew suggested language be included to take CMS’s work outside the profession.

Some discussion of issue of “access and availability” –should the society’s goals include getting the work into print? What’s the difference between access and availability? M. Homestead pointed out that something can be available (as in rare book rooms and microforms) but that that does not mean that work is easily accessible.

After much general discussion and editing from all members present, the final mission statement was revised to read: (Cindy has final draft.)

II. Make-up of the executive committee was discussed. V. Clements shared three models of officer committees, those of the Melville Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, and the theater company she directed. She noted the collaborative nature of the last, noting that the by-laws had been written to include the idea that each officer can pinch hit for any other officer, that work is generally shared, that even though specific job responsibilities are outlined, officers can cover each other’s back.

S. Smith Gates queried whether or not one qualification might not be location, i.e., should we have a West coast representative and an East coast representative?

Some discussion of whether or not the person in charge of the Web site should be a member of the exec. committee, that person’s importance being noted by S. Smith-Gates and T. Carmichael.

It was generally agreed that the symposium director should be on exec. committee. L. Damon-Bach asserted that the job is too great for one individual; it was therefore suggested that one person be official director and second be in a rollover position and be in charge of following symposium. It was generally agreed that this felt like too much apparatus and that the director should be able to choose his/her own co-director and committees, rather than having to operate within any formal structure in this regard.

There was some discussion of whether or not the person editing the newsletter should have/would want additional exec. committee responsibilities; J. Elmore and K. Westwood argued for that person being a member of committee.

Five positions finally agreed upon were: 1) Finance/membership, 2) Symposium director/recording secretary, 3) Newsletter editor/corresponding secretary, 4) Coordinator of calls for papers and panels at other conferences, 5) Member at large.

B. Daly motioned to accept these positions, J Banks seconded, motion carried unanimously.

III. General question from the floor: should society membership be required of those who wish to present papers at symposia and at other conferences at which the society mounts panels? Generally agreed that membership should be required. M. Homestead asserted and others agreed that such a requirement is standard in other societies.

IV. M. Homestead queried whether or not voting for exec. committee could take place today, as two nominees (Gussman and Kalayjian) were absent. It was suggested that getting the committee in place was urgent and that these two could be placed on advisory board.

There was some discussion of length of terms for office. L. Damon-Bach pointed out that first important function of committee would be to draw up by-laws and recommended that first committee be elected for period of one year, and that terms for officers should then be decided by this committee.

C. Damon-Bach, J. Banks, M. Homestead, V. Clements, and K. Woods Weierman agreed to serve as officers for one year.

J. Fetterley moved to accept slate of officers with the understanding that the five would decide among themselves who would occupy which position; K. Westwood seconded, motion carried unanimously.

V. J. Banks asked what the function of the advisory board is. J Gibson, J. Fetterley, others suggested chief functions are to provide connections to and advocacy with publishers and to suggest directions for society.

B. Daly nominated D. Gussman for advisory board, M. Homestead nominated Ellery Sedgwick, K. Westwood suggested inviting Barbara Allen (Stockbridge Library), J. Elmore suggested Susan Harris and Sharon Harris, J. Banks suggested Cathy Davidson and Linda W. Martin, M. Homestead suggested curator Mass. Historical.

J. Fetterley suggested number be limited and J. Gibson suggested terms be limited. J. Banks motioned that exec committee should determine number and terms, J. Iasko seconded, motion carried unanimously.

VI. T. Carmichael volunteered her services and those of her university’s tech department for assistance with Web site.

VII. L. Damon-Bach noted that SSAWW call for papers deadline is in early August, that conference is in San Antonio in February.

VIII. L. Damon-Bach queried how one submits paper for consideration if one is on exec. committee, assuming exec committee will select papers–general feeling was that one could submit but then absent oneself from selection,

Meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m..