The Tolkien Society
The Tolkien Society is an international fan club and educational charity based in England. Founded in 1969 with the blessing of J.R.R. Tolkien, it has expanded its membership across the United Kingdom, Europe and the world.
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 Chapman's North London flat; they kept in communication via a photocopied newsletter called "Belladonna's Broadsheet" (Chapman had adopted the name Belladonna Took as her Middle-earth alias).
The Society grew steadily, and Chapman willingly passed over responsibility for the bulletin to other hands whilst a 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 its current name: "Amon Hen".
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.
List of Chairmen
The following is a list of chairmen of The Tolkien Society. Italic text indicates an acting chairman who was appointed, rather than elected.
|Name||Term of office||Duration|
|Vera Chapman||29 January 1970||20 November 1970||296 days|
|Keith Bridges||20 November 1970||15 January 1972||1 year, 57 days|
|1||Keith Bridges||16 January 1972||17 February 1973||1 year, 32 days|
|2||Hartley Patterson||18 February 1973||16 February 1974||363 days|
|3||Jonathan Simons||17 February 1974||13 April 1985||11 years, 56 days|
|4||Brin Dunsire||14 April 1985||16 April 1988||3 years, 2 days|
|5||Alex Lewis||17 April 1988||11 April 1992||3 years, 360 days|
|6||Amanda Fingleson||12 April 1992||5 April 1997||4 years, 358 days|
|7||Chris Crawshaw||6 April 1997||19 April 2008||11 years, 13 days|
|8||Matthew Vernon||20 April 2008||8 January 2009||264 days|
|Sally Kennett||8 January 2009||25 April 2009||107 days|
|9||Sally Kennett||26 April 2009||present||3 years, 213 days|
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 town or city in the United Kingdom 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.
- ↑ http://www.tolkiensociety.org/oxon/ (accessed 07-12-2011)
- ↑ http://www.tolkiensociety.org/agm/ (accessed 07-12-2011)
- ↑ http://www.tolkiensociety.org/seminar (accessed 07-12-2011)
- ↑ http://www.tolkiensociety.org/1992/ (accessed 07-12-2011)
- ↑ http://www.tolkiensociety.org/2005 (accessed 07-12-2011)
- ↑ http://www.returnofthering.org/ (accessed 07-12-2011)