MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF JUNE 11, 2007
AT THE BROWN UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE,
President Richard Dietrich called the general meeting
of the International Shaw Society (ISS) to order at 10 AM on 11 June 2006 at
the Shaw Conference at
I. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
Dick began by explaining that in the growth of membership we have made “Fabian progress” as our members have increased gradually from 125 in 2004 to 140 in 2005 to 158 in 2006 (to date). Some comfort was taken in the fact that while most organizations have a 20% drop out rate each year, we so far have had a 10% rate, yet even that represents a hole that we have to dig out of every year. The real test of the travel grants we give to the young will come when we see if they renew the membership they were given as part of the grant. A 50% retention rate, possibly less, would make the grant program worthwhile.
II. REPORT FROM OFFICERS
A.) Lori Dietrich, Membership Secretary, reminded people to renew in January. Also to increase membership by making gift memberships etc.
B.) Treasurer Lagretta Lenker being absent, Dick summarized the ISS budget by estimating that the current reserve of between $15,000 and $16,000 would remain at about that level at the end of the year, barring unforeseen grants, gifts, and expenses. This reserve is invested in CDs, that are finally drawing a decent interest rate. Twelve ISS Hampton-Hussey travel grants were made to facilitate scholars presenting at the Brown conference, and 4 more grants would go to participants in the Shaw Symposium in August. The overall goal is to invest in the young to lower the average age of Shaw Studies and thus ensure a future for it. Dick estimated that 60+ was the average age of members when we began, and now the average age is in the high forties. We are going in the right direction.
C.) Norma Jenckes, Recording Secretary, reviewed the need for elections when terms of Executive Committee members expire. Two terms will expire on 31 Dec 2006: the President’s term and the Treasurer’s. Charles Berst made a motion to give a sense of the group about Dick’s presidency and to express the hope that he will continue in office. The motion was acclaimed unanimously. However, this body is not the voting membership and the vote was a symbolic vote of confidence and non-binding.
D. Leonard Conolly, Vice-President—has been elected to
succeed the founding Vice President Don Wilmeth, who was recognized for his work for the ISS, which was capped by his
organization of the conference at Brown. Len reported that 40 people are
already registered for the Symposium at the Shaw Festival in
III. PRESIDENT’S REPORT on the state of the ISS and future planning. D.D. recapped some items from the last agenda as to progress made:
1.) The ISS is fortunate to have the SHAW journal as the official journal for the ISS, which allows for a mid-year newsletter for the organization each year, but there is some concern that the journal costs the ISS 3/4s of the income from a standard membership fee of $40.
2.) Officially established now is a registration fee
discount for conferences (but not, as of yet, for symposiums), which help
members recoup the cost of their membership.
This year’s discount at the
3.) An experimental search for grants and sponsorships was undertaken this year by a student of Tony Stafford. A grants committee will be formed in the near future to move this area forward.
4.) In the ongoing search for membership among the long-established Shaw Societies, Dick has met with London Shaw Society and Dublin Shaw Society and found that they were not receptive to joining ISS as a chapter; they are proud, justly so, of their history and longevity as independent organizations. But a few individuals have joined the ISS, and we will continue to pursue this.
6.) Question of a Shaw Symposium in 2007 co-sponsored by
Shaw/Chicago. Support for such a Symposium in 2007 might be encouraged by the
fact that the Cultural Commissioner for
7.) Complete Shaw HyperConcordance.
Kay Li is investigating the possibilities of grants and of centering this
project at the
8.) ISS has a new website that is independent of USF at www.shawsociety.org. We hope to start a real listserv sometime this year. Some positive models such as the ASTR website and the O’Neill Society website were mentioned.
B. ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED:
1.) Conference every two or three years? There was some support for a conference every three years instead of every two. Len suggested that in the years without a conference the Shaw symposium could be extended.
2.) More Shaw sessions at non-ISS meetings urged. A special Shaw session has been approved and
is on the conference program for the MLA meeting in December 2006. Also, there
is a definite Shaw panel planned at the Comparative Drama Conference due to
Tony Stafford’s good efforts. Members of ISS were urged to approach
regional MLA’s to find ways to create Shaw panels and more exposure for Shaw
and Shavians in the academy. The ISS needs a group to identify conferences
where we can insert Shaw papers. Ann
Saddlemyer warned that we should not dissipate the energy of such a small group
by overbooking. Stan Weintraub reinforced
this concern by stressing that we must always be sure that the Shaw conference
is a stellar event. Bertolini applied a dose of reality when he reminded the
gathering that for the last Shaw session at the MLA there were 40 submissions.
Dick reported that for the upcoming one in December there were 8 submissions. Dick
reminded us that the Ibsen Society of America would like a
Shaw-Ibsen conference in the States at some future date. Some of the ISS
members who plan to attend the Ibsen conference in
3.) Conference in 2008 or 2009 in
SUMMARY: Question of how frequently ISS conferences would be
held was left open. Discussion turned to the need to make more real our title
International Shaw Society and to organize the meeting after
Many members expressed regrets that we had not heard the promised farewell remarks by the local organizer, Don Wilmeth. Don, however, expressed no regrets but sat wanly waving from his chair repeating softly “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye.”
Minutes submitted by Norma Jenckes.