Constitution of the Society of Early Americanists

The Society shall be known as the Society of Early Americanists.

The purpose of this Society shall be to further the exchange of ideas and information among scholars of various disciplines who study the literature and culture of America to approximately 1830. The Society shall promote the exchange of ideas and information among its members through a newsletter, which serves as the primary forum for members’ concerns, through an electronic bulletin board, and through meetings, joint research projects, and any other means the Society might deem appropriate.

The Society shall be a general not-for-profit organization as described in the appropriate sections of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America and shall meet requirements set forth in that Code.

Membership in the Society shall be open to any person or institution interested in its purposes, upon payment of one year’s dues. The Dues Structure is outlined in the Bylaws of the Society of Early Americanists. Only members in good standing shall have the right to vote on Society matters, and only regular members can be elected to positions of executive office. A regular member is an individual dues-paying member.

The Society of Early Americanists shall maintain affiliation with the American Literature Association. The Executive Officers may apply for affiliation with other appropriate scholarly organizations and consider requests from smaller or more specialized organizations for affiliation with the Society of Early Americanists.

The Society shall have a two-part Council of Officers: Executive Officers and Advisory Officers. The Executive Officers of the Society shall be a President, Vice President, and Executive Coordinator. As outlined below, the Executive Officers hold elected posts. The Advisory Officers shall consist of the Editor of the Newsletter of the Society of Early Americanists, the Coordinator of the Electronic Bulletin Board, the Past President of the Society, the Treasurer, and one other person, appointed at the wish and discretion of the President. Except in the case of the Past President of the Society, the Advisory Officers hold appointed posts.

Terms of office of Executive Officers shall be two years. The Executive Coordinator shall be elected every two years from among members in good standing. The existing Executive Coordinator shall automatically become the Vice President and the Vice President shall automatically become the President upon the election of a new Executive Coordinator.

After the President’s term is complete, the President shall, as Past President, become an Advisory Officer. The President is ineligible for election to the office of Executive Coordinator, or appointment to the office of Treasurer, for three years following his or her two-year (Past President’s) term as an Advisory Officer.

The Editor of the Society newsletter and the Coordinator of the electronic bulletin board are officers appointed by the Executive Officers for three-year terms beginning in June 1992. The Treasurer shall be appointed by the President to a five-year term, renewable at the discretion of a subsequent President.

The Council of Officers shall meet at least once a year at the time of the meeting of the American Literature Association, or at another time as it may determine. Duties of the members of the Council of Officers are designated in the Bylaws for the Society of Early Americanists.

If at any time an Executive Officer or an Advisory Officer cannot complete the term of office, the remaining members of the Council of Officers may appoint a member of the Society in good standing to serve that officer’s function until the election of the new Executive Coordinator shall take place. At the time of this election, there shall be an open election for the replacement of any Executive Officer who could not complete his or her term.

The Society shall conduct an election for a new Executive Coordinator every two years and under the direction of its existing Executive Coordinator. Any member in good standing can make one nomination for the post, and individuals may nominate themselves for election. All nominations must be in writing, directed to the existing Executive Coordinator. Elections to the post of Executive Coordinator shall require a simple majority of the voting members.

The Executive Officers may, at their discretion and for such terms as they deem appropriate, appoint any individual members who are in good standing to hold particular service posts for the organization. The Executive Officers may also appoint standing or ad hoc committees to serve at the will of the Council of Officers. Members so appointed may serve as consultants to the Council of Officers, but they shall have no vote at Council meetings, and they shall stand in advisory rather than executive functions to the Society.

Members in good standing shall receive the Society newsletter and any other regular publications of the Society. All members with appropriate technological support shall have access to the electronic bulletin board.

The Society shall hold meetings annually to transact regular business, inform Society members of important news, and promote congenial relations among members present. The location of the annual meeting shall be determined by the President in consultation with the executive officers and announced at least one month in advance of the relevant meeting. When the Society holds a general conference, the business meeting should take place at that conference.

Other special meetings of the Society may be arranged at the discretion of the Executive Officers, but no business meeting affecting the whole membership of the Society shall be discussed or concluded at such special meetings. Special meetings to be sponsored by the Society shall be coordinated through the office of the Vice President.

Written proposals to change the Constitution must carry at least ten signatures of Society members in good standing. Proposals for changes shall be submitted to the President at least two months prior to a public business meeting. Proposed changes shall be announced to the members at least one month prior to the public meeting. Changes thus proposed and announced shall be discussed by members present at the meeting, but any changes to the Constitution shall be made through a referendum election to be conducted by the Executive Coordinator, after consultation shall have taken place at the Society business meeting. The institution of changes to the Constitution shall take place upon a two-thirds majority of the voting members.

Written proposals to amend or change the Bylaws of the Society of Early Americanists may be presented by individuals to the President of the Society. If accepted by the Executive Officers of the Society, such proposals shall then be considered by the Council of Officers. If the Council of Officers so wishes, voting on emendations or changes of the bylaws shall take place through a referendum election to be conducted by the Executive Coordinator. The institution of changes to the Bylaws shall require a two-thirds majority of the voting members.

In the case of the dissolution of the Society, any assets remaining after the obligations of the Society have been paid shall be distributed to such not-for-profit, exempt organizations under Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of the United State of America (or as it may then be amended), available in the United States for scholarly or educational purposes similar to those of the Society, as the then-existing Council of Officers shall deem appropriate.

Carla J. Mulford, Founding President

Rosemary Fithian Guruswamy, Founding Vice-President

Sharon M. Harris, Founding Executive Coordinator

[1994; Revised and Approved, August 1, 2015; May 4, 2017]

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