Norman Mailer Society/Minutes of the 2017 Business Meeting

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The annual business meeting of the membership of The Norman Mailer Society (“NMS”) was convened at the beginning of the Society’s fifteenth annual conference at the Lido Hotel, Sarasota, Florida, on Thursday, October 26, 2017, with President J. Michael Lennon presiding.

The meeting began with announcements from Mike Lennon. Mark Olshaker and Mike Lennon were among attendees at the event in Washington commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on the Pentagon. Many of the participants in the march attended, including members of the SDS, Women’s Strike for Peace, and other groups. Also participating were Peter Yarrow and Daniel Ellsberg, who addressed attendees from another location. Lennon noted that there was much discussion at the events regarding the paucity of coverage of the antiwar movement in the Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam war.

President Mike Lennon noted the presence of authors in the society, including Justin Bozung, who has a new book on Mailer’s films and Maggie McKinley, who also recently published a book on Norman Mailer. The Library of America is issuing a set of four Mailer books from the 1960’s – these books are due to be published in January, 2018. Remaining announcements included planning of the 2018 conference in Macon, Georgia. Jerry Lucas has agreed to be the conference coordinator. Mike Lennon noted that November 10, 2017, will be the tenth anniversary of the passing of Norman Mailer, and offered memories of the 2007 conference in Provincetown, while Norman was hospitalized.

Treasurer David Light discussed the conference’s logistics and events, and thanked Mike Lennon for the photographs that are included in the program cover – the best program cover the Society has had. Included on the cover are striking photographs of Mailer’s upstairs office in the Provincetown home, where Norman worked until August of 2007. Mike Lennon pointed out the photograph of Norman Mailer with Gore Vidal, who visited Provincetown for the production there of “Don Juan in Hell.”

Jerry Lucas moved for approval of the minutes of the 2016 business meeting that had been provided to attendees, and Mark Olshaker seconded the motion, which was then approved.

Maggie McKinley presented her nominations for reelection of Executive Board members Neil Abercrombie, Philip Bufithis, Ezra Cappell, Nicole DePolo, Phillip Sipiora, Robert Begiebing, Christopher Busa, and Michael Lennon. Upon motion and second, these Board members were elected to a new three-year term. Maggie McKinley presented nominations for Officers of the Executive Board. Michael Lennon having decided to step down as President, Maggie McKinley was nominated to serve as President. Gerald Lucas was nominated to replace Maggie as Vice President. David Light having decided to step down as Treasurer after serving in that capacity since the Society’s inception, Jason Mosser was nominated to serve as Treasurer. Mike Lennon moved for the election of the new officers, and Donna Lennon seconded the nomination. The motion was unanimously approved, and the new officers were elected.

David Light presented his last Treasurer’s report. A copy was provided to the membership. David is retiring from his service in that capacity and plans to spend time with his grandchildren and writing. Fundraising contributions received exceeded $10,000. In addition, Susan Mailer made a contribution of $10,000. The Norman Mailer Society has $86,917 in its savings account. Expenses are the annual conference costs and the life insurance premium for Larry Schiller. Total expenses for the previous year ending August 31, 2017 were approximately $29,000 and receipts totaled $44,000. The finances of the Society are in good shape. Mike Lennon thanked Board members who made donations and thanked Susan Mailer and Betsy Mailer for their very generous contributions. Past President Mark Olshaker expressed gratitude to David Light for his service as Treasurer. Mike Lennon noted that the expense of $4,000 per year for Larry Schiller’s life insurance policy is for a $100,000 policy which can be used for an endowment in the future. Larry, who now lives in Bucks County, PA, has Norman Mailer’s library, consisting of 5,000 volumes. Discussion is underway for it to ultimately be housed at Wilkes University.

Phil Sipiora updated the members on The Mailer Review. He commended the Mailer family for its generosity. He also informed the members that the Donald Kaufmann estate is interested in selling Kauffman’s Mailer collection, and would like to sell it in its entirety if possible. The new edition of The Mailer Review will have a surprise cover. It is in the final stages of copying and editing, and should be mailed approximately four to six weeks after the conference. It will include an interview of Michael Mailer, who has directed the movie “Blind.”

Jerry Lucas updated members on Digital Mailer. It will be necessary to find a new host for the Society’s website. This should be accomplished within a few months. The compilation Works and Days has been revised. The Norman Mailer Society now has a Wikipedia article, written by Jerry. After a previous article prepared by students was removed by Wikipedia for reasons related to its standards, the new article has been approved and is online. Jerry is working on getting all issues of The Mailer Review posted online. Justin Bozung’s podcast continues and is going strong.

The proposed 2018 conference in Macon will be during the same week in October as this year’s conference. The hotel hosting the conference is an excellent new facility, and is located two blocks from downtown Macon. Several colleges and universities are in the vicinity. Marc Triplett moved that the 2018 conference be held in Macon, and the motion was seconded by Mark Olshaker. The motion was passed. The conference will be held on October 25-27, 2018. Discussion followed regarding the site for the 2019 conference. Mike Lennon recommended serious consideration for Monmouth University. A plaque will soon be erected in Long Branch commemorating Norman Mailer and the former Scarborough Hotel. The Executive Board will consider locations of future conferences at its meeting.

Bonnie Culver reported that discussions are underway with Larry Schiller regarding the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony, which formerly was housed in Provincetown and may continue at Wilkes, as well as the Norman Mailer library collection.

There being no other business to be brought before the membership of The Norman Mailer Society, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Marc S. Triplett, Secretary