The Tolkien Society
The Tolkien Society was formed in 1969 by Vera Chapman, an Oxford-educated retired teacher/civil servant, who, horrified at the annexation of Tolkien's works by "hippies and drop-outs" decided to form a group dedicated to the true appreciation of Tolkien's works.
Initially London-based, the Society would meet in Vera's North London Flat; they kept in communication via a xerox'd newsletter called "Belladonna's Broadsheet" ( Vera adopted the name Belladonna Took as her Middle-earth alias)
The Society grew steadily, and Vera willingly passed over responsibility for the bulletin to other hands. A further, more scholarly, publication "Mallorn" also appeared.
Belladonna's Broadsheet went through a number of identity changes, being "Henneth Annun" for one issue before its then editor, John Martin, adopted the name it is still published under: "Amon Hen" (the first such being number 2).
The Society also undertook a pilgrimage to Oxford, exploring the colleges and sites relevant to J.R.R. Tolkien's life. Visit was made to Wolvercote Cemetery where wreaths in tribute were laid. At that first visit, it was found that a wild bramble had rooted in the topsoil of the grave. This was rapidly uprooted, and the Society offered to buy a rose plant, the offer of which Priscilla Tolkien - Tolkien's only daughter - accepted. The weekend event culminated with a visit to the home of Priscilla Tolkien.
Vera Chapman was invited to a lunch by Rayner Unwin, where she met Tolkien himself. At the lunch she invited him to become President of the Society, and also presented him with a handsome tobacco jar, filled with his favourite leaf. J.R.R. Tolkien graciously agreed to the presidency of the Society; on his death, the other family members who were in touch with the Society suggested that he remain Honorary President "in perpetuo" and this was gladly accepted by the Society, with Priscilla Tolkien becoming Honorary Vice President.
The Tolkien Society organizes the following events annually:
- September: the Oxonmoot at one of Oxford's colleges.
- Spring: the Annual General Meeting.
- Summer: the Seminar.
Throughout the year Smials (e.g. local chapters) of the Tolkien Society also meet throughout the world.
The Oxonmoot grew to be an annual event, and in subsequent years other members of the Tolkien family, including two of the Professor's sons: Fr John, the Catholic priest, and Michael, a teacher based in Lancashire, also met with Tolkien Society members.
Other annual events include the AGM & Annual Dinner (with Guest Speaker), held as part of a weekend of activities in the Spring in a different UK town or city each year.
The Seminar consists of a program of talks on a Tolkien-related subject, in the Summer.
The Tolkien Society also organized unique events in recent decades, typically an anniversary around J.R.R. Tolkien and his works.
Centenary Conference 1992
The Return of the Ring 2012
In 2012 the Tolkien Society will organize The Return of the Ring conference
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