Some Notes on NESFA Constitutional History

On 9/9/67 an informal meeting was held (at Tony Lewis's, Brookline) "for the purpose of discussing the reorganization of sf fan activity in Boston; 14 persons were present." It was agreed to proceed with forming a non-profit corporation. On 9/23/67 the organizational meeting (at Bill Desmond's, Cambridge) decided on the organization's general structure, membership policy, purposes, and name: "New England Science Fiction Association" was approved by a vote of 16-1. A committee was appointed to draft the Constitution and By-Laws, and on 10/8/67 (at Tony Lewis's) these were adopted and the first election of Officers was held.

NESFA's incorporation papers were filed on 7/25/68; the incorporators (the then Officers plus two) became the first Board of Directors. It was announced on 10/13/68 that "The Charter of Incorporation has been received." (See below for comments on later changes to the Articles of Organization.) The following month the first published roster listed a total of 65 Members: 23 Regular, 8 Associate, 27 Corresponding, 2 Family-Dependency, and 5 Affiliate.

In 10/70, after an episode of hopeless confusion over the casting of proxies, the Rules Committee declared "in favor of replacing our current Constitution and Bylaws with new Bylaws which are actually worded such that one can understand them." So new By-Laws were drafted, several lengthy hearings were held to refine them, and the final text was distributed at Boskone 8; they were adopted by a vote of 10-1 ("with Mr. Harter objecting") at a special meeting on 3/31/71.

Meanwhile, a special committee had been appointed in 11/70 to go through the past minutes and codify the standing rules. More drafts were distributed, hearings held, new rules added to fill gaps, and on 7/11/71 the first edition of "The NESFA Code" was adopted by a vote of 12-1. In the same year, the Membership Committee issued the first "Guidelines to NESFA Membership Policy" (3/28/71: now Standing Rule 1.7(5)); a 9-page reply to the IRS's questions (8/71) led to the granting of NESFA's tax exemption; and then of course there was Noreascon I.... There were giants in those days.

Previous updated editions of the By-Laws were published with the dates 3/73, 4/76, 3/81, 4/83, 4/87, and 7/91. (This text is up to date as of May 1993, but has not been published in this form.) Updated editions of the Standing Rules were dated ?/73, 8/74, 4/81 (only partially updated), 1/84, 1/86, and 6/92. Supplementary updates to the rules were first issued in 8/83; although supposed to be quarterly, they have in fact appeared at irregular intervals.

"Hugo Award", "Worldcon", and "NASFiC" are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary association. "Boskone" is a service mark of the New England Science Fiction Association, Inc.
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