The meeting was conducted on November 10 2006, at the SSAWW conference in Philadelphia, PA.
In attendance: Judith Barlow, Cheryl Black, Martha Carpentier, Drew Eisenhauer, Sharon Friedman, J. Ellen Gainor, Barbara Ozieblo, Mary Papke, Noelia Hernando-Real, Mike Solomonson.
1. President’s Report
President Barbara Ozieblo (Basia) welcomed members. She thanked Martha Carpentier for the time and effort she has put into developing the Society and the website, which was endorsed by all members present; she urged Martha to reimburse herself from the Society account for any personal monies spent (notably $100 on the Provincetown wine-and-cheese and miscellaneous amounts on paper and ink for flyers, etc.)
Basia gave a brief history of the formation of the Society at the ALA conference in Boston in 2003 by the founding members, including herself, Martha, Mary Papke, Marcia Noe, and Lucia Sander. “For three years of working as a society,” Basia stated, “we’ve done a lot.” She listed the major book publications to come out, including Linda Ben-Zvi’s 2005 biography and re-issue of Road to the Temple; Kristina Hinz-Bode’s study, SG and the Anxiety of Expression; Patricia Bryan and Tom Wolf’s Midnight Assassin; and most recently, Martha’s edited volume of critical essays from Cambridge Scholars Press and Martha and Basia’s long-awaited anthology of critical essays from Rodopi, Disclosing Intertextualities. Articles have been published by Cheryl Black and Sharon Friedman, among others. Judith Barlow’s critical anthology, Women Writers of the Provincetown Players, is forthcoming. J. Ellen Gainor’s 2001 study, SG in Context, is now out in paper. Entries on Glaspell and her works have been submitted by Basia and Martha to the Literary Encyclopedia online with more forthcoming from other members.
Basia reported that Society members have also been extremely productive with conference panels since 2003, presenting at ALA, Twentieth-Century Literature, ATDS and ATDS-sponsored panels at ATHE, The O’Neill Society Conference, and now SSAWW. Basia also praised performances of Glaspell’s work, including the 2005 Metropolitan Playhouse’s production of Inheritors, Mike Solomonson’s production of Intimations from the Brook, Monica Stufft’s production at Berkeley of Inheritors, and most recently Trifles performed by students at SuZhou University in China. Cheryl Black was thanked for her work directing conference readings of Glaspell’s plays.
Basia concluded that, having concentrated on publishing essays in anthologies, we need now to make ourselves more visible by increasing journal publications, and she added that work on the fiction particularly needs to continue. We also need to keep up our annual presence at conferences such as ALA and ATHE, and to continue to present dramatic readings of Glaspell plays, which has proven to be a successful way of broadening appreciation of her work.
2. Vice President’s Report
Vice President Martha Carpentier reported that the SG Society now has 45 members and that since the O’Neill Conference (which left our finances at zero), we had accrued $306 in membership dues. This was added to substantially by the box office proceeds of $1,365 from Mike’s production of “Intimations from the Brook,” which, it was decided by Valentina Cook and himself, should be donated to the Society. The present balance of SG Society funds is $1,671.00.
Martha handed out a form for all present members to renew membership and submit dues (which is now done annually in December, as per the By-laws). She will send the form out to other members not present at the meeting.
Martha asked whether it was appropriate or helpful for her to mail out a list of members to the members with addresses and e-mail addresses. Those present said that approval of all members would be required, and anyone who did not want to be included would have to be exempt. It was decided that the present method, sending notices by e-mail to Basia or Martha for forwarding on to the complete list of members, was working fine and should continue.
3. Discussion and vote on the SGS By-laws
Correction to Article I, Section 2 of “re-establishment” to “recognition” was proposed by Mary Papke.
Reasons for our formation as an affiliate society of SSAWW were discussed. The distinction between being an “affiliate” of SSAW and “under the umbrella” was established; we are an affiliate. This does not behoove us to have our Society meetings at SSAWW in future, nor does it require members of the Society to become members of SSAWW (unless presenting at a panel at SSAWW). It was suggested that if we get up to 75 members in the future maybe we could think then about forming an entirely autonomous society.
Martha Carpentier and Mary Papke confirmed their desire to continue in their present offices of Webmaster (not Webmistress!) and Bibliographer respectively, and they were unanimously approved as such by the members present.
Discussion of whether or not we should institute a Society Newsletter ensued: Judith Barlow asked whether it should be a newsy or scholarly newsletter and she commented that, since we want to get more Glaspell articles published in refereed journals, a newsletter of the scholarly model would be redundant. The website already functions effectively as a resource for Society news, so a “newsy” newsletter would also be redundant. Considering the amount of work involved, members agreed that it was not worthwhile at the present time to institute a newsletter, and that all references to the newsletter and Newsletter Director should be deleted from the By-laws.
Ellen Gainor requested that formal acknowledgment of Officers’ service to the Society come annually from the President in the form of a brief letter for the purposes of tenure and promotion. Basia agreed, and added that a letter from the Vice President attesting to the President’s service should be forthcoming as well. A record of Officers and previous Officers with terms of service should be kept on the website.
Article II, section 2 was revised. Judith Barlow and Cheryl Black agreed with Mary Papke that two elections officers would complicate matters unduly and are not both necessary; we can trust one person to do the job.
It was further decided that a new “Article III Elections” should be added, which would include the present Article I e, Section 2, and the following: “The Elections officer will send an e-mail to members soliciting nominations, then ask nominees if they are willing to serve, send nominations on to EC and, after receiving approval of nominees from EC, send out a ballot to members.”
It was agreed that minutes of Society meetings should not be published on the website, but just sent via e-mail to members. At some future date it may be possible to add a password-protected page to the website for members only where minutes could be safely recorded.
After discussion it was agreed (as per the present draft) that elections for officers should be conducted every three years and should not be staggered, but it was decided that the Vice President should ascend to the Presidency after one term serving as VP, and that therefore only a VP would be elected on the three year cycle. Neither the VP nor the President can, therefore, be re-elected for a second term.
Cheryl Black proposed reducing the “three Standing Members” of the Executive Council as stated in the draft to one. Mary Papke suggested emending it to read: “Two standing members, at least one of whom must be a graduate student representative.”
Members expressed disappointment with the present SSAWW conference as a venue for future Society meetings; attendance at this conference was smaller than expected and sufficient interest in Susan Glaspell has not been forthcoming. It was decided that we should meet annually, not biannually, and that, although ALA and ATHE are both possibilities, we should not limit ourselves now as to possible future venues. Rather the By-laws should read: “It shall be the duty of the Executive Council to determine an annual meeting at the ALA or another national or international conference.”
A quorum of the Executive Council should be stated as three members, and under “Article VI: Amendments and Policy Decisions,” add “a simple majority of those voting” is necessary to pass policy decisions; whereas any amendments to the By-laws must be endorsed by the Executive Council and can only be passed by a two-thirds majority of members.
It should be added to the By-laws that any persons presenting on SG Society-sponsored panels must become SG Society members.
A motion to approve these changes to the Society By-laws was proposed by Mary Papke, seconded by Cheryl Black, and ratified by a unanimous vote.
4. Nomination and vote on the Election Officer for elections to be held in December 2006.
Judith Barlow volunteered to serve as Election Officer and was unanimously applauded. After conferring with Basia, she will send out a request for nominations for the Membership and Finances Officer and the two standing members of the Executive Council, one of whom must be a graduate student (at the time of the election).
At the behest of members, Basia and Martha agreed to serve another three-year term in their present positions, Basia as President and Martha as Vice President. This means therefore that Martha will become President in January 2010. Their continued service in their present offices was unanimously endorsed by those present at the meeting, but Basia and Martha feel they should be voted on by the full membership in the election as well.
5. Approval of Elections Calendar
It was decided to leave all matters pertaining to the Elections Calendar to Judith.
6. Suggestions for future membership campaigns, future conferences, and the budget for 2007-2010.
Mary, Martha, and Basia urged that there be an SGS-sponsored panel at ALA every year. Although the deadline for ATHE 2007 has passed, the deadline for 2007 ALA is January 30. After discussion it was decided that the SGS-sponsored panel proposal for ALA 2007 should be: “Modernist Visions of the Grotesque: Glaspell, Barnes, and their Contemporaries.” Mary agreed to chair the panel if Martha would help with paperwork. Mary will send the CFP as soon as possible to Martha. Ellen and Basia will post the CPF on various listservs, and we will hope to have sufficient paper proposals in time for submission to ALA.
Possible Glaspell topics for ATDS-sponsored panels at ATHE or SGS sponsored panels at ATHE need to be developed, as well as a topic for ALA 2008. Some under consideration: American Identity, Sex and the City, Art and the Artist.
Mary suggested not doing the Louisville Twentieth-Century Lit conference in the future as it is perceived generally as a graduate student conference that accepts anything. It is more important for us to be consistent at the major conferences pertinent to Glaspell studies. Basia suggested that we may also consider a Glaspell panel at the next SSAWW conference, whenever that is to be.
Since it is difficult for Cheryl to attend ALA, Mike Solomonson offered his services to direct a reading of Inheritors at ALA 2008.
Regarding budget, Martha proposed establishing an annual prize for the best graduate student paper on Susan Glaspell. Although members liked the idea, it was felt that the process of calling for, receiving, and evaluating graduate student papers was beyond our capabilities at present, and the idea was tabled for future consideration. It was decided that we should conserve our financial resources for now.
7. Honorary Members
Valentina and Ariadne Cook were unanimously approved as Honorary Members. Martha admitted that she had already allowed Robert Sarlós to become an Honorary (i.e., unpaying) Member, at his request when she met him at the O’Neill conference, since at the time no Executive Council or other mechanism existed for approval of such members. Mary Papke proposed, and members all agreed, that in future no academics should be approved as Honorary Members. A modest fee of $10 exists for retired faculty.
8. Other suggestions, questions …
Martha will design a Society logo to go with the illustration of SG “and her jaunty bob” uncovered by Cheryl, and will send it out for members’ approval (members are also invited to send their logo ideas in to Martha); Martha received approval to use funds for an SG Society letterhead if necessary.