Note: This message is from John Hamill, the new president of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship. The message will be published in the next issue of the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter but is reproduced here for the benefit of readers of this website.
You might have noticed the new title of our organization. We are still registered as The Shakespeare Oxford Society, Inc., but we are now doing business as the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.
At the joint Shakespeare Oxford Society (SOS) and Shakespeare Fellowship (SF) Conference in Toronto, Canada (Oct. 17- 20), the members of both organizations voted overwhelmingly (about 95%) to unify. We were lucky that the unification of the SF and SOS was very harmonious. I especially want to thank Tom Regnier, President of the Shakespeare Fellowship, for helping to make this unification dream a reality. We knew that there were no serious issues between us that justified maintaining separate organizations. We both have the same objective – supporting research to prove that the Earl of Oxford was the true author of the Shakespeare. We will be looking at several ways to raise the funding for this. The new “Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship” (SOF) Board has already begun the work of merging the operations of the two groups. Tom Regnier and Joan Leon will be first and second vice-presidents, respectively. By unifying both organizations, we expect significant organizational cost-savings to the members, which can now be used to promote research on the Shakespeare Authorship issue.
This year it was also a goal of mine to dispose of the SOS library of about 1,800 books that have been in storage and unavailable for years to anyone. I am pleased to report that the SOS has arranged to donate over 500 books to the University of Mississippi at Oxford. They have a keen interest in the authorship issue, and are looking forward to expanding their Shakespeare Authorship collection. This way the books will be available for scholarly authorship research. The remaining 1,200 books or so are now on listed on our website and are for sale beginning Nov 1. The books will be sold on a first come, first serve basis [CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BOOKLIST].
Finally, I am also pleased to note that members of the SF and SOS assisted the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition with their new book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? This book is now available on Amazon.com, and is in response to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) and their book Shakespeare Beyond Doubt, which dismisses the authorship controversy. The SBT’s need to publish a book on this issue demonstrates that we are not irrelevant after all, as they claim.
During the next two months we will begin merging our websites and preparing a new letterhead and logo. Members of the SF will receive a final issue of Shakespeare Matters before Jan. 1st. Members of the SOS will continue to receive The Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, as before. Beginning with the new year, all members of the new Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship will receive the Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter on a quarterly basis. We will also be sending members of both organizations an appeal for donations to support our new entity.
Near the first of the year, members of both organizations will receive an invitation to extend their membership in the newly-unified SOF. I hope you will renew your membership. Regular Membership dues are $65, which will include receipt of the quarterly Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter and our two annual journals, The Oxfordian and Brief Chronicles. If you prefer, you may renew as a Basic Member for only $50, for which you will receive the quarterly Newsletter in the mail.
As Tom Regnier informed us, we also have great news about our newly redesigned website. It is now online at http://www.shakespearefellowship.org. Jennifer Newton, who hosts the “Shakespeare Underground” website is the designer, and she has done a great job. It will soon become the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship website, and we will start importing materials from the SOS website. The current web addresses of the SF and SOS will eventually be redirected to the SOF site. All of this will take a few months, but we look forward to the challenge, and we now have an exciting new website for our use and pleasure.
I expect that this new year will prove to be very exciting as more authorship evidence is uncovered and revealed. I am already aware of new books and movies that will come out soon that will be very surprising. We will be reporting on them in our SOF website and Facebook, and in our newsletter and two journals! I feel we have accomplished a great deal together this year. I believe that the forming of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship will make us a stronger organization that can effectively promote the Oxfordian movement.
I want to thank you all for renewing your membership and to those who provided donations at this most exciting time! Your continued support will help us overcome the many obstacles to our research in academia, and to promote the true author of the works of Shakespeare – Edward de Vere. 17th Earl of Oxford.
John Hamill, President
Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship