Bylaws of the Society of Early Americanists 


Dues for the Society of Early Americanists (SEA) are designed to cover:

— the Society’s contractual payments to the University of North Carolina Press (which entails a subscription to the journal Early American Literature and the management of the Society’s membership);

— the contractual payments to the website host;

— convention and conference programming and logistical expenses, including travel subventions for certain groups of members, such as Graduate students;

— other expenses such as the Society’s insurance premiums; banking fees; and the costs of publication of the newsletter.

Dues are structured according to the following categories: scholars employed in academic or other professional institutions; graduate students, independent scholars; secondary school teachers, part-time or adjunct faculty, and staff at a historic site, museum, or library. Dues are posted on the Society website and payable in U.S. currency only.


The central platform of the Society of Early Americanists for disseminating information and providing other resources to the public and its members shall be the website at Members of the Society will also receive the Society of Early Americanists Newsletter (SEAN), published biannually in digital format. Editorial policies shall be determined by the webmaster, the editor, and the Council of Officers of the Society. The Society shall sponsor whatever social media it deems useful for the promotion of its mission of furthering the exchange of ideas and information among scholars of early American studies. The Society will approve the moderators of electronic venues and provide general guidelines for their operation.


SECTION 1: The members of the Executive Committee are elected officers; they serve the Society in an executive capacity.

President. The president of the Society of Early Americanists shall preside at the annual business meeting and chair any other meetings of the executive committee. The president shall oversee any proposals for change or emendation to the Constitution and/or Bylaws of the Society of Early Americanists. The president shall attempt to facilitate congenial relations among all members of the Society.

Vice President. The vice president shall substitute for any functions of the president in the absence of the president. The vice president shall be responsible for recording and distributing the minutes of the annual business meetings of the Society among the Council of Officers and the minutes of the meetings of the executive committee among the members of that committee.

Executive Coordinator. The executive coordinator is in charge of member relations, such as recruitment and communication. The executive coordinator shall also archive the Society’s records and serve as financial proxy to the treasurer. The executive coordinator will oversee the balloting in elections to the post of the new executive coordinator, along with any other elections that should become necessary during the course of the executive coordinator’s term. The executive coordinator will facilitate the balloting for any proposed changes or emendations to the Constitution and/or the Bylaws of the Society of Early Americanists. In the case of the absence of the vice president from the annual business meeting and the meeting(s) of the executive committee, the executive coordinator will record and distribute minutes of the meetings to the appropriate bodies as described above.

The executive officers shall determine the time and place of the annual business meeting and shall be empowered to act for the Society between meetings on matters that do not require a general ballot. The formal actions of the executive officers, whether in electronic session or at regularly stated meetings of SEA, shall be recorded in SEA’s records and publicized at the annual business meeting of the Society.

SECTION 1(a): General Powers: The business and the property of the Society, a not-for-profit association, shall be managed and controlled by the executive officers consisting of three executives (president, vice-president and executive coordinator). Said executive officers shall have the power and authority to make rules and regulations not inconsistent with the Constitution and the Bylaws of the Society and for the transaction of the Society’s business; for the guidance of the officers of the Society; and generally to exercise all powers necessary for the transaction of the Society’s business. It is expressly understood that nothing herein contained shall be deemed to limit or restrict the general powers and authority vested in said executive officers for the management and control of the Society.

SECTION 1(b): Quorum: A majority of the members of the executive officers shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any and all business of the Society. In the event there shall be in attendance at any meeting of the executive officers a lesser number than a quorum, that number may adjourn the meeting to another day, at which time of adjournment the members present shall give each other member at least five (5) days’ notice.

SECTION 1 (c): Manner of Acting:

a.     The act of the majority of the executive officers present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the executive officers.

b.     Business at meetings of the executive officers shall be transacted in such order as the executive officers from time to time may determine by resolution.

c.     At all meetings of the executive officers, the president, or in his or her absence, the vice president of the Society, shall preside.

d.     Unless otherwise provided by law, any action required to be taken at a meeting of the executive officers may be taken without a meeting if a consent in writing, setting forth the action so taken, shall be signed by all of the executive officers entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof.

SECTION 2: The members of the Advisory Committee are appointed officers (except in the case of the past president) and serve the executive officers in an advisory capacity. The advisory committee consists of:

i.     Editor of the Society of Early Americanists Newsletter (SEAN). The editor of SEAN is an appointed post; the editor thus serves at the discretion of the executive officers of the Society to oversee the only official publication of the Society. The renewable term of this office shall be three years.

ii.     Webmaster of the Society’s internet site, The webmaster post is appointed by the executive officers. The website includes announcements of conferences and prizes, membership and registration information, a members-only blog, a directory of current members, and a history of the society. The renewable term of this office shall be three years.

iii.     Moderator of the Society listserv (EARAM-L). The moderator’s post is appointed by the executive officers. The EARAM-L Listserv shall provide a means of communication between Society members and non-member subscribers. The moderator will archive listserv posts and make them available to list members. The renewable term of this office shall be three years.

iv.     Past president of the Society. The past president of the Society serves a two-year term as an advisory officer, after the post of president has been completed. The past president shall advise the executive officers, especially in questions concerning the general membership and the future of the organization.

v.     Treasurer. The treasurer (position defined in Section 3), shall be an ex-officio member of the advisory committee. The treasurer shall prepare documentation for a biennial financial review by an audit committee appointed by the President, but will not serve on that committee. The renewable term of this office shall be five years.

vi.     One of two co-chairs of the SEA Junior Scholars’ Caucus. The Junior Scholars’ Caucus may select one of its co-chairs to serve a two-year term as an SEA advisory officer.

vii.   The Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

viii.   The Media and Communications Chair. 

ix.   At-Large Representative. If the president deems it useful, the president may appoint, for the two-year term of his or her presidency, a regular member in good standing to serve in an advisory capacity to the organization. It will be the responsibility of this member to consider the interests of the membership at large in any matters that should arise.

SECTION 2(a). Removal. Any officer or agent appointed by an executive officer or the executive officers may be removed by the executive officers whenever in their judgment the best interests of the organization would be served thereby, but such removal shall be without prejudice to the contract rights, if any, of the person so removed.

SECTION 3: The Treasurer of the Society. The treasurer will be in charge of the central business office of the Society, have custody of Society funds, and serve as primary signatory for the Society’s bank and credit card accounts. The treasurer shall file the annual tax returns and maintain the status of the Society as a non-profit entity under IRS regulations. The treasurer shall prepare documentation for a biennial financial review by an audit committee appointed by the president.

The treasurer shall work with and follow the directions of the executive coordinator. The treasurer shall have charge of all funds belonging to the Society and keep and deposit for and on behalf of the Society in a bank or banks to be designated by the executive officers or the executive coordinator. In the absence of such designation, the treasurer may select the bank or banks in which to deposit such funds. If required by the executive officers, the treasurer shall give a bond for the faithful performance and discharge of the treasurer’s duties in the sum and with such surety or sureties as the executive officers shall determine. The treasurer shall perform all of the duties incident to the office of treasurer and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the executive officers. The renewable term of this office shall be five years.

SECTION 4: Officer for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). 

The member appointed to this office will work with and advise the members of the SEA’s Executive Committee to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices are prioritized and executed throughout our organization. For this purpose, “diversity” is understood in a broad sense as it may pertain to culture, race, gender, age, nationality, geography, religion, ability, etc. The member appointed to this office will join the SEA’s Advisory Committee as a regular appointed member for a renewable three-year term. 

Responsibilities of the member appointed to this office include:

— the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness in our membership through proactive outreach and onboarding of new members across all ranks and career stages.
— the promotion of diversity in our leadership through encouragement and nomination of current members to stand for election for SEA office. The DEI officer will vet the pool of candidates standing for election and work to enhance diversity of the pool when needed.
— the promotion and facilitation of diversity in the SEA’s programming. The DEI officer will serve on the program committee for the SEA’s biennial conferences in order to ensure diversity in the content of and participants in the program. The DEI officer will appoint a delegate to serve on the program committee of events co-sponsored by the SEA, working to promote the SEA’s DEI objectives and values.
— general advising of the Executive Committee on questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the execution of SEA’s governance.


The Society of Early Americanists will sponsor a biennial conference for its membership in odd-numbered years. Site selection and the appointment of the program chair will be determined by vote of the executive committee, after consultation with the advisory committee. One or more members of the executive committee will participate on the program committee. The president or treasurer will serve as signatory of all contracts requiring the commitment of SEA funds. The program chair (typically the president) will oversee the program committee, the local meeting arrangements, and preparation of calls for session proposals and calls for papers, publicity, and the preparation of the program and registration materials. SEA will pay mailing costs, if needed. Once the program committee has prepared a draft program, it will be submitted to the SEA executive committee for approval. The financial record of the proceeds and expenses of the meeting shall be published in the annual minutes of the SEA business meeting.

In even-numbered years when the biennial conferences are not scheduled, the Society of Early Americanists can at its discretion sponsor or co-sponsor conferences on special topics in the field of Early American studies. The SEA executive committee will consider and approve all proposals for such meetings. The special topics conference organizer(s) must be member(s) of the Society and will serve as the signatory of all contracts for such meetings and also as liaison for the committees overseeing their design and implementation. The annual business meeting of the SEA shall be part of the program of the special topics conference, in years when such a conference is held.

The Society of Early Americanists will sponsor annual sessions at the meetings of the American Literature Association, American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, and whatever other scholarly meetings it deems suitable. The vice-president, or a committee delegated by the vice president, shall determine the content of these sessions and oversee the publicity and logistics of SEA’s participation in these affiliated organizations. The vice-president will also introduce to the executive committee all proposals for formal affiliation with scholarly organizations for the committee’s approval, after consultation with the advisory committee.


The Society of Early Americanists reserves the right to honor SEA members and distinguished contributors to the field of Early American Studies by awarding plaques bearing the Society’s logo, the Society’s statement of purpose, and a brief text citing the causes for the award. These recognitions shall be awarded at the SEA’s regular meeting and publicized in the Society’s electronic and print fora.

Carla J. Mulford, Founding President
Rosemary Fithian Guruswamy, Founding Vice-President
Sharon M. Harris, Founding Executive Coordinator

Executive Officers, 2021-2023

Ralph Bauer, President
Sandra Gustafson, Vice President
Kelly Wisecup, Executive Coordinator

[1994; Revised and Approved, August 1, 2015; March 4, 2017; December 12, 2020; May 2022]





Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814), History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, 3 vols. Boston, 1805, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division (7A)

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