About the Society

Please follow the links below to learn more about the Dante Society of America, its mission, organization, and leadership:

History, Mission, and Activities

The Dante Society of America was founded in 1881 through the leadership of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Charles Eliot Norton, who in turn served as its first three presidents. Our renewed and reinvigorated mission is to encourage the study and appreciation of the time, life, works, and cultural legacy of Dante Alighieri.

Currently under the leadership of its nineteenth president, Alison Cornish (New York University), the Society publishes the annual journal Dante Studies, sent gratis to all members, and an electronic journal of critical notes (Dante Notes). It also produces an annual American Dante Bibliography, now in collaboration with the Società Dantesca Italiana, and organizes sessions on Dante at various scholarly meetings during the academic year. Since 2014, the Society has also organized annual symposium in conjunction with its annual meeting.

For more information on the history of the Dante Society, you may refer to Wikipedia. A listing of the Society's presidents is available here.

Interested in becoming a member? Please visit our Membership page for more information.

The Society also sponsors two annual essay contests. One is open to undergraduate students, the other to graduates, who are enrolled in North American colleges and universities. Please see the Prizes webpage for submission guidelines.


The current by-laws of the Society, adopted on January 9, 2014, may be downloaded as a PDF document.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Adopted by Council on 11 November 2018

The Dante Society of America is committed to promoting the study and appreciation of Dante Alighieri and his legacy among a diverse and inclusive community that embraces a broad range of intellectual and cultural approaches. It actively encourages a positive and supportive professional environment and seeks diversity in its governance structure and membership. The Society does not advance any particular ideological or political positions and does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation in the administration of its membership, conferences, prizes, or publications.

Council and Committees

Members of the Society's governing Council are elected annually by the Society's membership for staggered three-year terms. Officers are appointed in turn by elected Councilors. The President appoints committees, committe members, and liaisons. Click here for a listing of current Councilors, officers, and other committee members and liaisons.

Honorary Members and Fellows

The Society's by-laws provide for the recognition of "persons distinguished for their interest in the Society's mission or who have rendered valuable services to the Society." Over the years, a number of prominent scholars, particularly scholars outside the United States, have been proposed and elected by Council as "honorary members." In addition, Council has invited writers and artists whose creative work has contributed significantly to the appreciation of Dante to be recognized as "fellows."

Since 2018, Council has also periodically conferred a "distinguished service award" on members who have provided the Society with an extraordinary degree of service over their careers.

A listing of current honorary members, fellows, and distinguished service award recipients is available here.

Annual Meeting Minutes and Reports

Until 2014, annual reports were published as part of the Society's annual journal, Dante Studies (please refer to the "Access Dante Studies" section of this website, in particular the information and links under the JSTOR subheading). Since 2014, the content of the Annual Meeting Minutes has been expanded to serve as Society's annual report.