Persuasions #1, 1979 Page 7
Brief Highlights of the Meeting
The inaugural meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America was called to order at 4:15 p.m. on October 5, 1979 in the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City, by the President, J. David Grey. Thirty-six members and four press representatives were present. (Others joined later for the dinner.)
Mr. Grey introduced himself and the two other founders of the Society and announced the offices held by each. Mr. Burke, who had prepared a Constitution and By-Laws for the Society, was called on to explain its organization and to announce its additional officers.
Mr. Burke explained that the Jane Austen Society of North America is a club and that the business of the club is essentially carried on by the Board of Directors, who have one or two-year terms.
The President announced that the Board of Directors would be announced made up of the three founders, three patrons chosen from the patron list, and four members to be elected by ballot from those who had been nominated by other members or who had volunteered as suggested in letters mailed earlier to Society members. Juliet McMaster of the University of Alberta; Janet Todd of Douglass College; and Donald Greene of the University of Southern California will serve as patron-members of the Board.
Mr. Grey introduced the artist, Isabel Bishop, who has illustrated an edition of Pride and Prejudice.
The Society has forty-four patrons and 335 members who have joined in the six-month period since March. Letters were sent to prospective patrons in January. Sir Hugh Smiley provided a list of the Canadian and American members of the (English) Jane Austen Society and these persons were then sent letters of invitation in March to join the Jane Austen Society of North America.
Suggestions were heard for next year’s meeting site and enthusiasm was expressed for San Francisco, Boston. Toronto, Victoria, Baltimore, Williamsburg, and Alton, Ontario. An important factor in deciding the site is the location of a large percentage of the membership; one-third now reside in or near New York City. The Board of Directors was to discuss the matter.
The meeting was adjourned at 5 p.m.