THE EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY SECTION: NEWS, REPORTS, DOCUMENTS
[One immediate benefit of the affiliation between the Newsletter and the Society is the opportunity the former affords--twice this year and thrice in succeeding years--for officers and members of the latter to communicate with one another and air their views in a special "society section" of every issue. The first such section, which follows, comprises two reports on the Society's first annual meeting last December (an official one by Secretary Jordan Miller, and an unofficial one by Erin Hallissy, staff writer of the Contra Costa Times); a copy of the Society's by-laws as amended and adopted by the membership at that meeting; an announcement of a Society meeting next December; and news of President Horst Frenz's recent O'Neill-related activities and the possible future meeting overseas to which they may give rise. Contributors of items for inclusion in future issues of the section should mark them "Society Section" and send them to any officer or to the editor. --Ed.]
1. Report on Society Meeting at Tao House, December 1979.
The Eugene O'Neill Society held its first Annual Meeting at Tao House on December 29, 1979, in conjunction with the MLA convention in San Francisco. Over 30 members attended. Members of the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Tao House, arranged for a tasty box lunch, and a detailed guided tour of the premises by Travis Bogard was the high point of the day. The tour also included a showing of the only known motion picture of O'Neill (plus Carlotta and Blemie), an 8 mm sequence of only a few seconds, but of course of great interest to all O'Neillians.
The Society's by-laws were amended and unanimously adopted (a miniprint copy follows as item 4); Sophus Keith Winther was elected, by acclamation, as an honorary director of the Society; and a permanent slate of officers and board of directors was elected. President Horst Frenz (Indiana University) and Vice-President Winifred Frazer (University of Florida) will serve for two years. Secretary Jordan Miller (University of Rhode Island) and Treasurer Virginia Floyd (Bryant College) will serve for four years, as will Timo Tiusanen (University of Helsinki), who was elected International Secretary.
Because the Board of Directors will have staggered terms, the following will serve for four years: Frederic Carpenter, Walnut Creek, CA; Doris Falk, Califon, NJ; Sally Thomas Pavetti, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT; John Henry Raleigh, University of California, Berkeley; and Frederick C. Wilkins, Suffolk University, Boston. Those serving two-year terms will be Travis Bogard, University of California, Berkeley; Eugene Hanson, College of the Desert; Adele R. Heller, Provicetown Playhouse in Provincetown, MA; Esther M. Jackson, University of Wisconsin; and Tom J. A. Olsson, Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm.
Four standing committees have been formed. Membership, chaired by Fred Wilkins, will seek to enlarge the Society's rolls; Program, chaired by Thomas Marshall, is making plans for future meetings, especially in Houston next December; and Publications, chaired by Michael Hinden, has already accomplished its most pressing task--assimilating the Newsletter, formerly an independent publication, into the Society. The Public Relations Committee, with Travis Bogard and Doris Falk presently sharing the tasks, will look into the development of the Society's artistic, professional, and general public. Current members of the afore-mentioned committees are Virginia Floyd, Deborah Kellar and Jordan Miller (Membership); Winifred Frazer, J. Dennis Rich and Albert Wertheim (Program); and Jacob Adler, Horst Frenz, Paul Voelker and Fred Wilkins (Publications).
The Eugene O'Neill Society is dedicated to the promotion of the study of the life and works of Eugene O'Neill and the drama and theatre for which his work was in large part the instigator and the model. It will be listed in the next edition of Gale's Encyclopedia of Associations, and we are also working toward official recognition by the MLA so that we may have closer cooperation during convention time, especially as regards securing meeting space and notices of Society activities.
Membership is open to anyone with an interest in O'Neill and the American theatre, and all readers are cordially invited to join. For further information and a membership application, write to me at the Department of English, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881.
--Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary
2. Erin Hallissy, "Tao House Brings Them Closer to Eugene O'Neill," (Contra Costa Times, January 13, 1980, p. 19).
The peacefulness and solitude of the Corduroy Hills was interrupted recently when scholars from across the nation converged on Tao House to pay homage to Eugene O'Neill and form a society in his honor. It was the first time many of the scholars had set foot on the historic site where O'Neill lived for seven years and created some of the greatest masterpieces of the American theater, including A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Iceman Cometh and Long Day's Journey Into Night.
The O'Neill aficionados eagerly toured the house, hanging on their guide's every word. They oohed and aahed over a short home movie of O'Neill and his family. One man exclaimed afterward, "That's the first time I've ever seen O'Neill move." They took photos of the study with its commanding view of Mt. Diablo, where O'Neill worked for hours every day, immersing himself in his writing. They strolled around the grounds of the home, scurrying after pine cones that are supposed to bring good luck to those who carry them, and plucking oranges off trees that O'Neill himself planted, joking to each other that they would go home and laminate them.
After the tour, the scholars assembled in the spacious living room to approve the by-laws of the new Eugene O'Neill Society, pledging to "promote the study of the life and work of Eugene O'Neill and the drama and theater for which his work was in large part the instigator and model." The organization is starting with 71 members from universities across the United States and five institutions abroad.
Most of the scholars were excited at seeing the home of the Nobel prize-winning playwright. "I'm eager to tell my students about coming here," said Vivian Caspar, modern drama professor at the Texas Woman's University. Caspar said she was a little disappointed that Tao house hasn't been renovated. "It's important to get the house restored and make it available to scholars. I look forward to returning when it's restored."
Fred Wilkins, chairman of the English department at Suffolk University, Boston, and editor of the Eugene O'Neill Newsletter, was enthusiastic about his day at Tao House. "It's been a very exciting, very moving day," he said. "It's a great experience to see the home where so many masterpieces of American drama were created." Wilkins said his newsletter was the first step toward the formation of the Eugene O'Neill Society. The paper comes out three times a year and has a circulation of more than 300, reaching individuals and major universities throughout the country and overseas, including the Sorbonne in France. "There has been a renaissance of enthusiasm for O'Neill as we approach the centennial of his birth in 1988," Wilkins said.
Seeing the house where
O'Neill lived put Paul Voelker from the University of Wisconsin "in
closer touch with the man. It gives you a feeling for the author that
it's very hard to get from reading about him," he remarked while
relaxing on a sofa next to the fireplace in the
Eugene Hanson, English professor at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., said he has had a "30-year love affair" with O'Neill's works. "The gloomy realism and the power of his drama attract me," Hanson said. "In the early 60's I saw one of the earliest student productions of Long Day's Journey Into Night, and for three days after I walked around in a kind of dream world. O'Neill has always had the power to do that to the audience," Hanson stated.
Michael Hinden, associate professor of English and teacher of modern drama at the University of Wisconsin, expressed enthusiasm about O'Neill as he browsed through some first editions and collections of O'Neill's plays in the study. "His writing is the closest thing to Greek tragedy in American theater," he said. "You can feel the force and passion of the characters in his works. There is also a subtle dealing with the problems of the American family in his plays, and that is always interesting to undergraduates." Hinden remarked that it was difficult for him to get a feeling for O'Neill as he toured the house because it was empty and unrestored. "But I can get a sense of how the mood here would have affected him," he said, looking out the window at the view of Mt. Diablo and the surrounding hills. "I'd like to come back here by myself--I think O'Neill was the type who didn't like a lot of people in his house."
Travis Bogard, vice president and director of programs of the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, which oversees Tao House, called O'Neill the "most important of American playwrights." Bogard said the formation of the Eugene O'Neill Society was important to the prominence of O'Neill. The Society hopes to foster the development of new historical and critical writing about O'Neill as well new stage, film, and television productions of his works.
Tao House, an early California-style home built by O'Neill in 1936, became a national historical site in 1976. O'Neill and his wife, Carlotta, lived in the house for seven years before moving to San Francisco. The house is being preserved by the National Park Service and the Eugene O'Neill Foundation.
3. Society News Notes.
a. The EOS is not yet eligible to arrange an official program in connection with the annual convention of the Modern Language Association in Houston next December. Therefore, Thomas F. Marshall and President Horst Frenz have applied, as individual MLA members, to hold a special MLA session on "O'Neill and Music." Their application has been approved, and members of the Society are cordially invited to attend the symposium, which will be chaired by Professor Marshall and will include as panelists Professors Travis Bogard, Winifred Frazer, Horst Frenz, J. Dennis Rich, Albert Wertheim and Frederick Wilkins. (Immediate information on the session may be obtained from Professor Marshall, 1540 Emory Road, Upperco, MD 21155.) It is expected that the 1980 annual meeting of the Society will also be held in Houston. Details will be given in the next issue of the Newsletter.
b. During April and May, 1980, President Frenz lectured on various phases of the "international" O'Neill at the Universities of Stockholm, Helsinki, Tampere, and Warsaw. He conferred with Tom Olsson (EOS Director) and Timo Tiusanen (International Secretary) about ways of inviting foreign colleagues to join our organization and about activities the EOS may carry on in Europe. He is very pleased with the results of his discussions, not only with the two foreign members of our Board but also with officials of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, of the Nobel Foundation, and of the University of Stockholm. Frenz expects to be able to provide further information on future plans later in the year. And they may include a Society meeting in Sweden!
4. By-Laws of the Eugene O'Neill Society.
ARTICLE I: PURPOSES
Section I.1: Statement of Purposes
The specific and primary purpose for which this corporation, The Eugene O'Neill Society (hereinafter referred to as the "Society"), is formed is to pro-mote the study of the life and works of Eugene O'Neill and the drama and theatre for which his work was in large part the instigator and the model.
The particular purposes of the Society are to form an international organization whose members will join in the exploration of O'Neill's life and works by means of historical and critical writing, artistic performances on stage, film, television, radio and recordings, by the amassing of historical documentation, and by publications devoted to O'Neill and his plays. The subjects of study shall include not only Eugene O'Neill and his works, but all related aspects of the American and world theatres.
The Society is formed for the purposes of performing all things incidental or appropriate to the achievement of the foregoing objectives, and shall have such other charitable, literary and educational purposes as the Executive Officers (hereinafter "Officers") and the Directors (hereinafter "Directors") may authorize or approve from time to time. The Society shall hold and may exercise such powers as may be conferred upon a non-profit corporation by the laws of the State of Rhode Island and as may be necessary or expedient for the administration of its purposes; provided, however, that in no event shall the corporation engage in any activities which are not charitable, artistic or educational in nature.
ARTICLE II: PRINCIPAL OFFICE
Section II.1: Location
The principal office for the transaction of the business of the corporation shall be that of the elected Secretary of the Society, or such other place as the Officers may from time to time determine.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
Section III.1: Terms of Membership
Membership in the Society shall be open to all interested persons upon payment of annual dues in the amount determined by the Officers and Directors.
Section III.2: Classes of Membership
Membership shall be divided into the following categories without distinction as to rights and privileges except as noted in III.3 and III.4 below:
Section III.3: Classification of Members Eligible for Election
Officers and Directors
shall be chosen from categories d), e) and f) above.
Membership in the Society shall carry the following rights and privileges:
ARTICLE IV: GOVERNING BOARD
Section IV.1: Definition of the Governing Board
Except as otherwise noted, the governing board of the Society shall be the Directors of the Society acting in concert with the Executive Officers to determine the policies and establish the Society's programs.
ARTICLE V: EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Section V.1: Authority of Officers
Except as otherwise provided by these by-laws, by the articles of incorporation or by the laws of the State of Rhode Island now or hereafter in force, all corporate powers of the Society shall be vested in and exercised by, or under the authority of, and the business and affairs of the Society shall be controlled by the Executive Officers.
Section V.2: Number of Officers
The number of the Society's Officers shall be five (5) unless and until changed by amendment of this section, consisting of s President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, an International Secretary, and a Treasurer.
Section V.3: Remuneration of Officers
Officers shall receive no compensation for their services, but may be reimbursed for reasonable personal expenditures incurred on behalf of the Society.
Section V.4: Terms of Office and Election of Officers
Section V.5: Powers of Officers
The Executive Officers of the Society shall exercise the powers of the corporation, control its property and conduct its affairs. Without in any way limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Officers shall have full power to
Section V.6: Duties of the Individual Officers
The duties of the individual officers are as follows:
ARTICLE VI: DIRECTORS
Section Vl.1: Number and Structure of Board of Directors
Section VI.2: Term of Office of Directors
Directors shall be elected by the membership for a term of four (4) years, except that in the first annual election five (5) shall be elected for a two (2) year period.
Section VI.3: Powers of the Directors Directors shall have the following powers:
Section VI.4: Duties of the Directors Directors shall have the following duties:
Section VI.5: Honorary Directors
ARTICLE VII: MEETINGS AND QUORUMS
Section VII.1: Meetings of the General Membership
Section VII.2: Meetings of Officers
Section VII.3: Meetings of Directors
ARTICLE VIII: ELECTIONS
Section VIII.1: Election of Officers and Directors
ARTICLE IX: DUES
Section IX.1: Structure of Dues
Unless altered by action of the Officers as approved by the Directors, the following schedule of annual membership dues shall be in effect as of January, 1980:
IX.2: Previously Paid Monies
All payments for dues made in advance of the Society's first meeting in December, 1979, shall be considered to extend from January 1, 1980 until December 31, I980.
ARTICLE X: APPROPRIATIONS
Section X.1: Power to Make Appropriations
Officers shall have power to make appropriations of the funds of the Society for any of the purposes referred to in Article I of these By-Laws, subject to those controls set forth in Article V Section V.3 above.
ARTICLE XI: MISCELLANEOUS
Section XI.1: Instruments in Writing
All checks, drafts, demands for money and notes of the Society and all written contracts of the Society shall be signed by such Officer or Officers, Agent or Agents as the Officers may from time to time by resolution designate.
Section XI.2: Fiscal Year
The Fiscal Year of the Society shall begin on the first day of January of each year and end on the last day of December of each year.
Section XI.3: Annual Reports
Not later than the annual meeting of Members, every Member shall be furnished a report in writing of the business transacted by the Society during the pre-ceding fiscal year and a statement of the receipts and expenditures of the Society during such year and of its financial condition at the end of the year.
Section XI.4: Rules of Order
All meetings of the Directors or Officers or Members of the Society shall be conducted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order, Revised, except for instances in which the Articles or By-Laws or applicable statutes provide otherwise.
ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF BY-LAWS
Section XII.1: Procedure for Alteration of By-Laws
ATTENTION, ALL MEMBERS OF THE EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY: IMPORTANT NEWS!!
PLANS ARE NOW BEING MADE
FOR THE 1980 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE E O S TO
BE HELD IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, AT THE END OF DECEMBER
-- THE PLACE &
TIME OF THE MLA CONVENTION AND A SPECIAL SESSION THEREIN
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