As many of you already know, the two leading Oxfordian groups in the United States, the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship, are making plans to unify into a single organization.
This unification is long overdue, in my opinion. Both organizations have the same basic goals and mission and there has been a lot of inefficiency and extra expense in maintaining separate organizations.
Both groups have already shown that working together has many benefits. Witness the past seven Joint Authorship Conferences (and the upcoming eighth one to be held next month in Toronto) as well as the recently concluded High School Essay Contest.
The Boards of Trustees of both organizations have been working tirelessly to come up with a plan to unify the two groups in a way that preserves the "best of both". A Plan of Unification and a completely new set of bylaws for the new organization have been drawn up.
As I write this, both of these documents are being sent to the members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship to be approved. Final approval will hopefully occur at or before the Annual Meetings of the two groups, which are scheduled to occur during the upcoming Toronto Conference (see an earlier post for some details on this Conference).
Some highlights of the proposed Plan of Unification include:
1. The unified group, to be known as the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship (SOF), will publish both of the two currently produced journals, The Oxfordian and Brief Chronicles, and will be able, because of the enhanced efficiency of the unification, to send print copies of both journals to all Regular Members. The journals will continue to have the same editors as previously, thereby maintaining the high degree of scholarship they provide.
2. The SOF will also send out four newsletters a year to all members. The newsletter will be edited by Alex McNeil, who is now serving as the editor of Shakespeare Matters, the current newsletter for the Shakespeare Fellowship.
3. The SOF will initially be governed by a Board of Trustees which has been nominated by the current Boards of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship. At subsequent Annual Meetings of the SOF elections will be held for Trustee positions, as specified in the new bylaws. The proposed initial SOF Board will consist of nine individuals: John Hamill (President), Tom Regnier (1st Vice President), Joan Leon (2nd Vice President), Michael Morse (Treasurer), Richard Joyrich (Secretary), Ramon Jimenez, Lynne Kositsky, Tom Rucker, and Earl Showerman.
4. The current Shakespeare Fellowship website will be updated for use as the website for the new SOF and all appropriate content (including copies of past newsletters and journals) from the websites of both existing organizations will be combined. Other social media outlets currently managed by the two organizations will be similarly combined.
As I mentioned above, complete details of the Plan of Unification and the new Bylaws will be sent to the membership for approval. The bylaws are also available online at www.shakespearefellowship.org/SOFbylaws for anyone who is interested.
I believe that this unification will result in allow for much better education of the general public on the important Authorship Issue and will allow a more united front for the continual attacks by the "academic community" who are no longer able to just ignore us and hope we will just go away.
I urge all members of the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship to vote to approve the Plan of Unification and the new Bylaws.
The future begins now.