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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. IV, Nos. 1-2
May-September, 1980



[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
Tao House living room. Voelker described O'Neill as a complex man and outstanding playwright. "There's a depth of characterization and a concern for reflecting the culture and society in which he lived in his work, and he explored the problems of life with a clear gaze and honest eye," he said. "Also, he's a man you have to admire for his devotion to his craft."

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.


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.


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.


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:

a) Student Members: enrolled students actively pursuing a course of study in a recognized school, college, university, conservatory or private school of theatre, art or dance.

b) General Members

c) Emeritus General Members (age 65 or over)

d) Family (husband and wife)

e) Sponsors

f) Life Members

g) Honorary Directors

h) Institutional Members

Section III.3: Classification of Members Eligible for Election

Officers and Directors shall be chosen from categories d), e) and f) above.

Section III.4: Privileges of Members

Membership in the Society shall carry the following rights and privileges:

a) With the exception of Institutional Member-ships, all Members shall have the right to vote for Officers and Directors of the Society as hereinafter provided.

b) Members shall be privileged to attend regularly scheduled meetings of the Society.

c) Members shall receive regular announcements of the Society's activities, elections and other matters germane to the business of the Society.


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.


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.

a) Expenditures that exceed $100.00 per annum must be approved by the Directors.

Section V.4: Terms of Office and Election of Officers

a) Executive Officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Society voting in any given election.

b) Term of office for the President and Vice-President shall be for two (2) years, with the possibility of re-election to one, but not more, consecutive term of office.

c) Other Officers shall serve for a term of four (4) years with the possibility of re-election for one, but not more, consecutive term of office.

d) Persons who served as Officers pro tem prior to the formation of the Society may be eligible for election to a regular term of office.

e) The first election of Officers shall be held by written ballot distributed to those attending and paying or having paid dues at the time of the first official meeting of the Society in December, 1979. Thereafter, all balloting will be by mail, as prescribed in Article VII below.

f) Elections shall be held every second year after the date of the first election.

g) A vacancy among the positions of the Officers, caused by reason of resignation, disability or death shall be filled by a person named by a majority of the Directors.

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

a) Enter into any and all contracts, leases and other agreements which in their judgment may be beneficent to the interests and purposes of the corporation, or necessary and desirable in the conduct of the affairs of the Society.

b) Receive property by devise or bequest, subject to the laws regulating the transfer of property or by will, and otherwise acquire and hold all property, real or personal, including shares of stock, bonds, and securities from other corporations.

c) Convey, exchange, sell, lease, mortgage, encumber, transfer upon crust or otherwise dispose of all property of the corporation, real or personal.

d) Act as trustee under any trust incidental to the principal objects of the Society, and receive, hold, administer, and expend funds and property subject to such trust.

e) Borrow money, contract debts, and issue bonds, notes and debentures, and secure the payment or performance of its obligations.

f) Receive membership dues and other incoming funds essential to the operation of the Society.

g) Solicit funds from private and public sectors for the carrying-out of the Society's purposes.

h) Lend or grant money for reasons consistent with the Society's scholarly and artistic purposes and accept conditional or unconditional promissory notes therefore, interest-bearing or non-interest-bearing, secured or unsecured.

i) Appoint standing committees of the Society as needed.

j) Do all other acts necessary or expedient for the administration of the affairs and attainment of the purposes of the Society.

Section V.6: Duties of the Individual Officers

The duties of the individual officers are as follows:

a) President. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Society. The President's duties shall include exercising general supervision over and management of the business and affairs of the Society. In addition, the President shall

i) preside at all meetings of the Society and those of its Officers and Directors.

ii) execute either personally or by designate(s) such programs as the Society may wish to initiate.

b) Vice-President. The Vice-President shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by the President, including those described above in the event of the President's absence or disability.

c) Secretary. The Secretary shall perform the following duties:

i) Keep the Minutes of all meetings of the Society and of its Officers and/or Directors.

ii) Keep a roster of active members and their addresses, in which shall be recorded the termination of any membership and the date on which said membership ceased, and to publish annually a list of active members.

iii) Ensure the mailing of the Society's informational announcements.

iv) Perform such other duties as may be pre-scribed by the President from time to time.

d) International Secretary. The International Secretary shall assume responsibilities identical with the Secretary for that portion of the Society's membership outside the United States. In addition, the International Secretary shall

i) ensure that the Secretary has essential information with reference to non-United States members.

ii) shall collect and forward or otherwise account for dues paid in foreign currency to the Treasurer of the Society.

iii) shall actively encourage a network of memberships in all non-United States countries.

e) Treasurer. The Treasurer shall perform the following duties:

i) Collect the dues and cause to be kept regular, true and full accounts of all property, of whatever description owned by the Society and of all business transacted by the Society.

ii) Make detailed reports of the same to the Officers and/or the Directors when called upon.

iii) File or cause to be filed all tax returns, information returns or other reports of the Society's income, receipts, expenditures and assets required by federal, state or local governmental or other authorities.

iv) Perform, in addition, such other duties as may be delegated by the President from time to time.


Section Vl.1: Number and Structure of Board of Directors

a) There shall be ten (I0) Directors.

b) Directors shall be chosen from the membership by election, but representation must in part derive from the following categories:

i) The scholarly communities in the United States

ii) The scholarly communities outside the United States

iii) The performing arts

iv) Representatives of such organizations as The Provincetown Playhouse on the Wharf, Inc.; Monte Cristo Cottage of The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center; and The Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Tao House.

c) In the event that nominees cannot be found to serve in all of the above categories, the incumbent Officers shall be empowered to alter the composition, but not the number, of the Board of Directors without recourse to a change in the by-laws of the Society, it being understood that whenever candidates are available, the prescribed structure shall be adhered to.

d) Directors shall receive no reimbursement for services to the Society.

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:

a) To approve by majority vote claims of over $100 per annum for reimbursement to Officers for personal expenses incurred in carrying out the Society's business.

b) To name by majority vote replacements for Officers who are unable to complete a term of office.

c) To approve by two-thirds (2/3) vote all proposed changes in these By-Laws as may be recommended by the Officers of the Society and to initiate such changes in the By-Laws as appear necessary and proper.

d) To approve by majority vote recommendations of the Officers for changes in the structure of dues.

e) To initiate by unanimous vote recall elections for the removal of any Officer whose performance of official duties is characterized by neglect or malfeasance.

f) To approve by majority vote the issuing of special publications as recommended by the Officers and/or Membership.

i) The term "special publications" shall not include informational announcements, routine program material or advertisements concerning the Society's meetings or membership drives. It shall include feature articles written in the name of the Society for newspapers and magazines or for dissemination through other media, and all books or journals incorporating material prepared by or for the Society, such as papers read at the Society's annual meetings or at special seminars sponsored by the Society.

Section VI.4: Duties of the Directors Directors shall have the following duties:

a) To work in concert with the Officers in order to develop appropriate programs for the Society.

b) To advise Officers as to desirable changes in the Society's policies which may or may not necessitate changes in these By-Laws.

c) To conduct the Society's elections as hereinafter prescribed.

d) To appoint persons to fill out terms left vacant by resignation, disability or death of incumbent Officers or Directors.

e) To carry out such other duties as may from time to time be prescribed by the Officers.

Section VI.5: Honorary Directors

a) Upon the recommendation of any member of the Society, the Directors and Officers of the Society, through the Society's President, may invite distinguished persons who were associated personally with Eugene O'Neill or with the scholarship or performance of his plays or with the sponsorship of the Society's programs to become Honorary Directors of the Society.

b) Honorary Directors shall have all rights and privileges of the Members of the Society.

c) Honorary Directors shall be invited to attend and participate in all meetings of the Directors, but shall not be considered as voting members of the Board of Directors.


Section VII.1: Meetings of the General Membership

a) There shall be a minimum of one (1) meeting of the General Membership annually at such place as determined by the Officers.

b) A quorum of Members shall be considered to be those present and eligible to vote.

c) Additional meetings or group activities may be scheduled with the consent of the Officers and Directors.

d) The membership may call a meeting of the Society at any time by petition to the Officers and Board. The number of petitioners shall be determined by the Officers and Board at their first meeting during 1980 and that number shall be inserted here as part of these by-laws.

Section VII.2: Meetings of Officers

a) Officers shall meet at least once annually. Additional meetings may be arranged as necessary and convenient.

i) A quorum of officers shall be considered to be the President or Vice-President, the Secretary and one other Officer.

b) Officers shall meet at least once annually with the Directors.

i) The annual meetings of Officers under a) above and of Officers and Directors may be combined into a single session.

ii) At meetings of Directors and Officers, a quorum shall consist of the President or Vice-President, the Secretary and a minimum of five (5) Directors.

iii) At combined meetings, the President shall preside.

Section VII.3: Meetings of Directors

a) Directors shall meet at least once annually.

i) A quorum shall consist of a minimum of (5) Directors.

ii) A chairperson of the Directors, to serve in that capacity for one (1) year, shall be named by majority vote of the Directors at the first annual meeting, or earlier by mail ballot.

b) The annual meeting of the Directors may be combined with the meeting with the Officers under Section VII.2.b above.


Section VIII.1: Election of Officers and Directors

a) Six (6) months prior to the expiration of the terms of office of any Officers or Directors the Secretary shall mail to Members a call for nominations to fill the anticipated vacancies.

b) If, singly or jointly, five (5) members in good standing nominate a candidate for an office, the name of that person shall be included on the ballot.

c) Nominations from Members shall be considered to be closed two (2) months after the call for nominations is mailed co the membership.

d) The Directors, acting as a nominating committee, may prepare an additional slate of names.

e) Three (3) months prior to the expiration of the terms of office, the Secretary shall mail ballots containing the names of all nominees for each position to the Members.

f) One (1) month prior to the expiration of the terms of office in question, balloting shall be considered closed.

g) The Secretary and one or more Officer or Director will tabulate ballots and announce the results to Members by mail or through such informational bulletin as may at that time be in existence.


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:

a) Student Membership $ 10.00

b) General Membership 20.00

c) Emeritus General Membership 10.00

d) Family (husband and wife) 30.00

e) Sponsors 50.00

f) Life Members (one payment) 500.00

g) Institutional Membership 30.00 Section

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.


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.


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.


Section XII.1: Procedure for Alteration of By-Laws

a) By-Laws may be amended or repealed by a 2/3 vote of the Membership at the annual meeting with the exception noted in b) below.

i) One (1) year must elapse between the proposal of an alteration in the By-Laws and the vote by the Membership.

b) Any By-Law or By-Law amendments changing the authorized number of Officers and/or Directors may only be adopted by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the general voting Membership of the Society, taken either by mail ballot or by written ballot at the annual general meeting.





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