As the constitution of the charter members was lost around the time of the Great War, the Novel Club has been moving loosely within a framework of tradition and present needs.
Unchanging through many years have been certain procedures. At seven forty-five on the first Tuesday of each month, excluding the months of July, August and September, the members meet to hear a biographical study of the author and a critical analysis of his work, each paper limited to fifteen minutes. The critic of the evening then submits three or four written questions for discussion, based on the assumption that all members and guests have read the book. The lively opinions reveal the divergent professions and interest of the members, and enrich and enlarge the interpretation of the individual participants.
Nine novels for the following year are selected by the members at an April business meeting by vote from a list of proposals presented by the Program committee. This committee also juggles the assignment of writers and places to meet, achieving general concord by legerdemain.
By agreement the maximum number of members is thirty-six, for this is the only number that satisfies the tradition whereby each member gives a paper every two years, and whereby each couple or two-some entertains the club biennially.
Though many former members have seemed irreplaceable, the Club happily renews its vitality by the addition of promising new members. Through all the changes of many years, the Club retains its quaint essence.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERS
1. Regular Attendance.
2. Careful reading of the novel and participation in the discussion.
3. Willingness to serve as host and to prepare papers as scheduled by the Program Committee.
4. Serving as an officer or as a committee member when requested by the Council of Administration and membership.
5. Bringing novels of merit to the attention of the Program Committee.
6. Prompt payment of dues.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SPONSOR OF A PROSPECTIVE MEMBER
1. Determines that the prospective member is seriously interested in the novel as literature and reads widely.
2. Invites the prospective member to attend at least three meetings, and informs him of the novels to be discussed and urges participation. Notifies the host or hostess that the guest plans to attend. Introduces the guest to as many members as possible at each meeting.
3. Tactfully explains to the prospective member the history and traditions of the Novel Club and the obligations and responsibilities of membership.
4. Determines whether or not the prospective member wishes to be considered for membership. If so, the sponsor is responsible for writing an introduction of the candidate for the members, and obtaining two letters of recommendation from active members for submission to the Council.
As an alternate to resigning, any person of 70 years or more who has been a member of the Novel Club for at least 15 years may advise the Chair of the Council of Administration and Membership that he or she elects to take emeritus or emerita status, and upon such election, shall not be required to give biographical or critical papers, may agree to serve as co-host from time to time, and shall receive all notices of Club events.
At any time prior to the above requirements being met, a request in writing to the Council, followed by an affirmative vote by a majority of the Club members, will entitle a member to emerita or emeritus status.