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Constitution and Bylaws of

C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists* 



The name of the association shall be C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, hereinafter referred to as C19.



The educational purposes of C19 shall be:

  • To hold biennial meetings for the purpose of advancing scholarship and the exchange of ideas pertinent to the study of nineteenth-century American literature and culture.

  • To publish materials necessary to or valuable in achieving C19′s educational purposes.

  • To maintain a website and electronic mailing list for the purpose of informing members of plans and projects appropriate to C19′s educational mission.

  • To operate and maintain C19 exclusively for educational purposes so that from its operation none of its Members, Officers, and elected committee members shall enjoy any pecuniary profits.

  • In cooperation with a press and two co-editors, to sponsor and oversee the publication of a journal.



Any person interested in the purposes of C19 may be admitted to membership by payment of annual dues as established by the Executive Committee and may be continued as a Member in good standing by such payment.

Members in good standing may vote in biennial elections.


Executive Committee


The Executive Committee shall comprise the President, the Vice President, Chairs of the Programs, Membership Development, and Communications committees, and two at-large members elected by the voting members.



The Executive Committee shall administer the affairs of C19 and shall, in conjunction with the Programs Committee, plan the biennial conference. The Executive Committee shall report on its actions at the Business Meeting of the biennial conference, where its activities are subject to review by the membership.


Conduct of Business

In such meetings of the Executive Committee as are called by the President, a majority of Executive Committee members shall constitute a quorum of the Executive Committee and decisions shall be by a simple majority of committee members. A tie vote shall be understood as a failure to pass the proposed measure.  The Executive Committee shall be presided over by the President of C19, and meetings of the Executive Committee may be conducted electronically as necessary.



The officers of C19 shall be the President and Vice President. On expiration of the President’s two-year term, the First Vice President shall become President and a new Vice President shall be elected by the voting membership.


Duties of Officers

The President shall serve as chair of the Executive Committee and chair of the Business Meeting of the biennial conference. The Vice President shall serve ex officio as a member of the Programs Committee, shall keep minutes of Executive Committee meetings, and shall assist the President in matters assigned by the President. If necessary, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the President and the chair of the Program Committee shall become Vice President. The Treasurer shall be appointed by the President and shall serve in that capacity until their resignation or upon the appointment of a successor. The Treasurer is charged with overseeing C19 elections and the management of the financial affairs of the organization, including the filing of the annual tax returns. 

Standing Operating Committees

The Committees shall be as follows: Programs, Membership Development, Communications, and Nominations. Members of the Nominations Committee shall be elected by the voting members of C19 in alternate years to the biennial conference.  The chairs of these committees shall be elected by the membership at large, from a roster designated by the Nominations Committee (two candidates each for President, Vice President, and committee chairs,  and a roster of four candidates for Nominations Committee members from which each voting member shall choose two), and shall serve as members of the Executive Committee.  In the first year of operation only, nominations committee members and chair shall serve a term of one year.  Each elected chair shall submit a list of the names of possible committee members to the President.  The final membership of committees, apart from elected chairs and the elected members of the Nominations Committee, shall be selected by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.

The Nominations Committee shall comprise two elected members and an elected chair. The Program Committee shall comprise two appointed members, and elected chair, the President ex officio, the Vice President ex officio, and the Conference Coordinator ex officio. The Membership Development and Communications committees shall comprise two appointed members and an elected chair each.

The committees are responsible for carrying out the charge of their committees as determined by the Executive Committee.

Basic duties shall include the following:

  • Programs — Planning of program for biennial meeting.

  • Membership Development — Recruiting members and collecting dues; maintaining membership lists and records of dues payment.

  • Nominations — Nominating candidates for Vice President, the two at-large members of the Executive Committee, chairs of the Programs, Membership Development,  and Communications committees, and Nominating Committee membership.  The committee shall propose two candidates for each election from the members in good standing of C19.

  • Communications—maintaining the C19 website, electronic mailing list, membership email list, and any other online sites dedicated to C19 business, excluding the journal; coordinating publicity and educational materials.


Term of Office

The President, Vice President, and two at-large Executive Committee members shall serve terms of two years.   Committee members and chairs shall serve terms of two years (with the exception of the Nominations Committee in the first year of C19). In order to insure continuity, chairs of the Program, Membership Development, Nominations and Communications Committees shall serve a three-year term, the final year of which shall be in the capacity of “Past Chair.” Should a committee member or chair resign or be unable to serve, the Executive Committee shall appoint a replacement.  The President shall be replaced by the Vice President.

The co-editors of the journal shall serve terms of five years, renewable by vote of the Executive Committee in consultation with the press’s editors.

Terms of office begin immediately upon notification of either election or appointment.



No Officer or elected committee chair or member shall receive compensation for any service they may render to C19. However, such parties may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.


Nomination and Election of Officers and Nominating Committee Members

Officers, Executive Committee at-large members, committee chairs, and Nominating Committee members shall be elected for the terms herein set forth and shall serve until their respective successors are elected and qualified. Any member in good standing shall be eligible to serve an elected position. Nominations for Vice President, for the two at-large members of the Executive Committee, for committee chairs, and for Nominating Committee members shall be made by the Nominations Committee.


The Nominations Committee shall put before the membership a slate of  two candidates for each vacancy, to be selected by majority vote of the committee.  A tie shall result in the nomination failing. The membership of C19 is free to nominate candidates to the Nominating Committee, who must bring all such names before the committee. A candidate may also be included on the election slate by petition of twenty (20) members in writing to the Nominations Committee three weeks prior to the distribution of ballots.  If more than one such petition should arise, the Nomination Committee by majority vote must choose at least one of the petition nominees to stand election.

Elections shall be held by the membership at large no more than one month following the biennial conference with election results being announced as soon as possible thereafter.

Nominating Committee members completing a term of service shall not be named as candidates for any elected position in C19 in the election following their completed term.

Elections shall be conducted by electronic ballot, with appropriate controls for privacy and legitimacy, under the supervision of the Nominations Committee.

With the exception of the President, if a member of the Executive Committee resigns or is otherwise unable to complete his or her term, the vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Executive Committee, until the next scheduled election.

The Nominations Committee in consultation with the Treasurer is responsible for ensuring the independence of the balloting process and tabulating election results.

Fiscal Matters

The fiscal year shall begin on the first day of January and end on the 31st day of December, except that the first fiscal year shall begin on the date of incorporation.

The Business Meeting of the biennial conference will include a report on the financial status of C19.

The Chair of the Committee on Membership Development shall handle membership rolls.

Only the President and Vice President can authorize payments from C19 accounts. Any expense over $5,000 requires approval of the Executive Committee.

Books and Records

The President shall maintain copies of the corporate records, including the Minutes and Constitution and Bylaws, and shall maintain a list of the membership, which shall be available to any member. The President shall also maintain such other records or copies thereof, which document the business of C19 over the course of his or her term.

The Vice President shall keep the minutes in the minutes book, which shall be available for inspection by any C19 member, and shall provide copies of the minutes to the President.

The President shall ensure that complete and accurate records of accounts are maintained, and are filed annually with the federal government. The President shall report regularly to the Executive Committee on the financial condition of C19 and ensure that a financial report is included in the agenda of the biennial conference Business Meeting.



The Journal

The editor or editors of the journal shall be appointed by the Executive Committee in consultation with the Press editors and shall serve terms of 5-years each, renewable.

The editor or editors shall report on the state of the journal annually to the President and shall present the state of the journal to the membership at large at the biennial conference.

The Editorial Board members shall serve three-year terms. Each year there shall be between fifteen and twenty-one editorial board members with staggered terms so that approximately one third of the board cycles out annually. The number and names of board members will be recommended by J19 editors and approved by the Executive Committee. 

In the first year of operations, the journal shall have a fifteen-person editorial board: five members with a three-year term, five members with a two-year term, and five members with a one-year term. Every succeeding rotation will introduce five members with three-year terms.

The editor or editors may decide to designate one issue a year as a “special topics” issue. That option will be exercised at the discretion of the editor or editors. The topic shall be chosen by the editor or editors in consultation with the Executive Committee.

The Podcast

The chair or co-chairs of the Podcast shall be appointed by the outgoing Podcast chair or co-chairs in consultation with the Executive Committee and shall serve terms of two years each, renewable.


The Communication chair shall serve as the liaison between the Podcast chair or co-chairs and the Executive Committee. The Podcast chair or co-chairs shall report on the state of the Podcast annually to the President and shall present the state of the Podcast to the membership at large at the biennial conference.


The Podcast committee members shall serve two-year staggered terms and shall be appointed by the Podcast chair or co-chairs in consultation with the Communications chair. 


The activities of C19 shall be restricted to those permissible to an organization exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Every third conference shall return to the Pennsylvania State University, founding institution of C19 and host of the society’s inaugural conference.

Amendments and Dissolution

Amendments to this Constitution, or dissolution of C19, may be proposed by the Executive Committee or by written petition signed by at least twenty (20) Members in good standing. Such proposed amendments, or proposed dissolution of C19, shall be submitted to a ballot of the membership and shall become effective upon approval of two-thirds (2/3) of those voting.


C19 Executive Committee 


  • President – Chairs Executive Committee

  • Vice President – Elected biennially. Becomes next president after two years of service

  • Two At-Large Members – Elected biennially

  • Program Chair – Elected biennially. Oversees committee helping to plan annual conference, conducts correspondence with seminar and panel proposers as needed

  • Membership Development Chair – Elected biennially. Publicizes C19, oversees membership outreach and maintenance of membership database.

  • Nominations Chair – Elected biennially. Runs calls for nominations, conducts elections.

  • Communications Chair—Elected biennially.  Maintains website, electronic mailing list, and email list, coordinates publicity and educational materials.

*Includes amendments passed at the 2012 Conference at Berkeley and 2016 Conference at Penn State


Image: Wu Lan, 1824 Friendship Album, created while a student at the Cornwall Foreign Mission School,

Collections of the Cornwall Historical Society

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