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President's Report

From the President 

Pers No1 President

Beginning December, 1979, membership dues will be five dollars per year, December 16 to December 16 (Jane Austen’s birthday). Life membership is available at fifty dollars – an amount approved by the membership meeting (open) in October.

N.B. The membership of those who joined at three dollars terminates with this Newsletter. This notice will serve as their only reminder of the expiration of their membership.

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I am guilty of some oversights in announcements at our dinner meeting. Roz Van Praag, our Secretary, was not introduced … Freydis Welland, of Vancouver (Joan Austen-Leigh’s daughter), did not receive thanks for the marvelous job she performed as a one-person welcoming/registration committee… Verlyn Klinkenborg, of the Department of Autographs and Manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan Library, was not given credit for organizing the Jane Austen exhibit.

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The full complement of the Board of Directors was elected October 5. Martha Hogarth, who will serve as our Treasurer declined her position on the Board itself, owing to her election the week before to the post of Treasurer of the Richard III Society. Her place passed to Jean Frumkin, of New York City, who designed the remarkable cover for the dinner program. Lorraine Hanaway and Tad Mosel will, therefore, serve for two years: Gene Koppel and Mrs. Frumkin, until December, 1980.

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The Board of Directors convened October 6 for a continental breakfast at my apartment. The main topic discussed was the site and program for next year’s meeting. Tentative plans are a follows:

1. It will be a two-day event at Goucher College, near Baltimore. Goucher was chosen because of its Jane Austen holdings, bequeath by Mrs. Alberta Burke, and because of its past history of hosting Jane Austen happenings.

2. The meeting will probably take place the weekend of October 10-11.

3. The theme will center on Mansfield Park.

4. Dinner, followed by our main speaker, is scheduled for the Saturday evening.

5. On the following afternoon, a reading of Lovers’ Vows, Mrs. Inchbald’s rendition of Kotzbue’s play, will precede a debate among the major characters in the novel.

6. Patrons and members are solicited to present short papers related to Mansfield Park. Small seminars will be formed by those interested in each of the topics presented.

7. A cocktail party will close the program.

Suggestions and comments concerning the above are, of course, welcome.

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Copies of The Society’s Constitution, answers to the quiz, a list of items in the Morgan Library exhibit, the complete minutes of the inaugural business meeting, are available to any member requesting them. Members are beseeched to enclose a stamped (two stamps?) self-addressed envelope with any correspondence that requires a reply.

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A poll of members’ favorite novel was taken at dinner and many in attendance insisted that we print the results:  P&P 23; E 18; P 16; MP 6; S&S 3; NA 2, ALL 5; Others 1; yours truly: L&F. Total: 74. Mr. Mosel: where are the other 26 votes?

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A demographic survey of those attending the inaugural meeting: New York metropolitan area: 56; Maryland/D.C./Virginia: 13; Pennsylvania: 10; New England: 8; Canada: 5; California: 4; Illinois: 2; Arizona and Oklahoma: one each.

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Earlier this year I received a letter from Joyce Bown, of Steventon, who organized the 1975 festivities there, indicating that the village was soliciting funds for the restoration of the windows at St. Nicholas. The founders decided to announce this to the membership. In the meantime, George Tucker visited Steventon and encountered an even more dire state of affairs (cf. elsewhere in this Newsletter). The board voted to collect money and send whatever had been contributed by January, 1980.

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Herewith is announced the formation of a volunteer Jane Austen “clipping service.” i.e., members are invited to contribute to The Society’s archives by forwarding Jane Austen-related information that is found in the print media … A British Columbia member, Doyle Klyn, asks members to send mentions of Jane Austen and her works in fiction by other recognized authors. She is assembling a collection for possible publication. Address: Sidney, British Columbia, Canada.

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Regional meetings will be organized. The first, for the New York area, will be held “open-house” at the home of Joan and Hal Ranzenhofer on Jane Austen’s birthday (December 16). All members within the range of New York are invited to attend.

Maple Grove, Connecticut, is the home of member, Louise King. An excursion there may be planned for the future. Alton, Ontario, where the Millcroft Inn, a delightful converted water mill, is situated, is another.

Names and addresses have been forwarded to the following regional volunteers: New England–Sidney Ives; NYC (interim)–J. D. Grey; Philadelphia–Lorraine Hanaway; D.C. & area–George Tucker; Chicago–Catherine McQuarrie; St. Louis–Jo Modert; Los Angeles–Cathy Fried; San Francisco–Marilyn Sachs; Pacific Northwest–Joan Austen-Leigh. Regional coordinators have been supplied with a mailing list and you should be hearing from them shortly, if you haven’t already.

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One of our patrons, Professor David Monaghan, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia, has asked us to announce the publication of his book on Jane Austen. It is entitled Jane Austen: Structure and Social Vision and is published by Macmillan in England (November 30) and Barnes and Noble, here ... A member, Diana Brown, San Jose, CA, announces: “My novel is due out in January, by St. Martin’s Press. The title is The Emerald Necklace; it is a romance set in London and Yorkshire some ten years after Jane.”  Joan Austen-Leigh has also just published a novel, Stephanie, set in Victoria in the 1930’s.

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Our first financial report will be as brief as Jane Austen’s notes on the profits derived from her novels. Martha Hogarth, who is an expert in such matters, has promised to assist me in preparing a bona fide report, and a copy of same will be made available as early in 1980 as is feasible.

As of September 30 (just prior to the meeting), we had received $3943.00: $1468.00 in dues; $2460.00 in dinner payments; and (only) $15.00 in donations.

Debits totaled $3117.49: dinner expenses = $2765.00; postage = $106.47; photocopying = $135.92; supplies = $97.65; bank charges = $12.45.

The September 30 bank balance was, therefore, $825.51.

The balance announced October 5 was larger since it reflected deposits made that morning and October 2.

Canadian Bank balance is $137.31.

Additional (initial) expenditures, nearly $1,000.00, were met by the combined contributions of the three founders.

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Members are requested to please refrain from giving memberships as gifts. This seems harsh, but we would prefer information concerning The Society be relayed personally, allowing the choice to the individual contacted. Otherwise, subscription renewal and up-to-date mailing lists present a monumental burden to our limited “staff.”

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A final note of great importance: The Jane Austen Society of North America now enjoys a tax-exempt status. Dues and contributions are, therefore, tax-deductible. Our dues are minimal. Since the bank balance mentioned above includes many memberships that expire December, 1980, we shall have to finance two newsletters, and the intervening mailings, with it and whatever we collect in dues by the end of next year. Any small contributions towards the cost of operating the Society–postage, photo-copying, etc. are most welcome. All labor is voluntary.

It is hoped that you enjoyed receiving this first Persuasion.* And that you will be persuaded to maintain its quality, in a second edition.

J. David Grey, President



*Persuasions began as a 32-page (stapled) newsletter entitled Persuasion.  The title was changed to Persuasions with the second issue.  For further discussion, see Susan Allen Ford’s essay “‘Formed for [an] Elegant and Rational Society’: Persuasions and Persuasions On-Line” in Persuasions On-Line Volume 29, Number 1 (Winter 2008).


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