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The Howellsian

Volume 6, Number I (June, 2001)

At the recent Annual Conference of the American Literature Association in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 24-27, 2001, the William Dean Howells Society sponsored one session. Chaired by Sanford E. Marovitz, vice-president of the Society, program chair, and emeritus faculty member at Kent State University, the session was comprised of three panelists: Donna Campbell from Gonzaga University presented "W. D. Howells and Mary Wilkins Freeman"; Jesse S. Crisler from Brigham Young University read "Deforest, Millard, Norris, Howells, and the 'Great American Novel ... ; and Elsa Nettels, emerita faculty member from the College of William and Mary, delivered "Howells and Wharton: Indian Summer and The Children." A surprisingly large audience attended the session, which ended with interesting questions asked and answered. The Society, as usual, will sponsor at least one session at the next ALA conference in Long Beach, California, in late May 2002. Please send five-hundred word abstracts or papers of no more than ten double-spaced pages to the new program chair, Elsa Nettels, Department of English, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, by December 1, 2001, for consideration presentation in this session.

This issue of The Howellsian begins the Society's sixth year of operation; annual dues remain a bargain at only $10.00. Please send your renewal check either to Donna Campbell, secretary-treasurer, English Department, Gonzaga University, 508 East Boone Avenue, Spokane, WA 99258-0018, or to Jesse S. Crisler, 3127 JKHB, English Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602-6290. Please also inform colleagues that they may join the Society by filling out the Membership Mail-In Form accessible at the Society's website,

Donna, maintainer of this site, continues to add links to Howells's works available on line, including several recently released by Project Gutenberg in
plain text format: Their Wedding Journey, Their Silver Wedding Journey, Dr. Breen's Practice, and A Hazard of New Fortunes. Eric Eldred of Eldritch Press who has donated e-texts of many Howells novels to the site will soon make A Modern Instance available as well. All of these can be easily downloaded for personal use at no cost. Additionally, several frequently anthologized Howells selections, such as "Editha" and "The Man of Letters as a Man of Business," are available in .pdb format for Palm PDA devices. The website is also search specific. Please send Donna any announcements of interest to Society members, including calls for papers, information on new publications relating to Howells, links to other websites, or other items that might be appropriate for the Society's web page.

Donna also produced a handsome brochure, William Dean Howells 1837-1920, for distribution to non-Society members interested in the Society and its projects. It contains a remarkably complete summary of Howells life and work, and copies have been sent already to the Chamber of Commerce in Martins Ferry, Ohio, and a committee in Hamilton, Ohio with whom the Society is exploring the possibility of a conference on Howells at some Ohio venue. Copies will also be sent soon to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio.

The Society held its third biennial business meeting on 26 May 2001 in Cambridge at which member unanimously elected Elsa Nettels vice-president and program chair and Donna Campbell secretary-treasurer. The new president is Sanford E. Marovitz. Other items of business included distribution of the new brochure-members unable to attend the business meeting will receive a copy with the next Howellsian-an update of the Society website, a financial report, a discussion of the possibility of a conference in Ohio at some future date, ideas for possible future ALA sessions, and plans for a second brochure setting forth the goals of the Society, papers given at past session it has sponsored, a list of Howells's major works, and a membership form to be available at future ALA meetings. Sandy Marovitz has agreed to spearhead discussion with various Ohio people regarding the logistics of a conference there.

A final event at ALA involving the Society was an evening lecture sumptuous dinner at Harvard followed by a program of presentations and discussion at Kittery Point sponsored by the Howells Memorial to which members of the Society were invited. Those able to attend enjoyed themselves and these events immensely, especially the opportunity to mingle with colleagues in another organization equally interested in Howells. Sally Daugherty, a member of the Howells Memorial Committee and past President of the Society, was instrumental in arranging the involvement of the Society in this mini-conference.

Enclosed with this copy of The Howellsian is a current membership list. Members in the Society now number sixty-eight, with the promise of several new members as a result of the recent ALA session. Please send alterations or corrections to your address and/or affiliation to Jesse S. Crisler (jesse_crisler@byu-edu).