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Editor: Frederick Wilkins
Suffolk University, Boston

Vol. XII, No. 1
Spring, 1988


(IN THIS ISSUE)

THE EUGENE O'NEILL SOCIETY SECTION

I. Minutes of the Ninth Annual Meeting

The Ninth Annual Meeting of The Eugene O'Neill Society was held at 7:15 p.m., December 29, 1987, in the Toyon Room of the San Francisco Hilton. President Fred Wilkins presided. The minutes of the Eighth Annual Meeting were approved as distributed in the Newsletter. Reports from the Secretary and Treasurer were presented and accepted. (See Sections II and III below.)

Proposed amendments to the by-laws as approved by the Officers and Board were presented for discussion by Mike Hinden, Chairman of the Board. Brief discussion of the rationale for the amendments ensued. It was pointed out that operations of the Society would be more easily facilitated if the offices of the Secretary and Treasurer were not subject to frequent change. Also the Secretary and Treasurer must have greater leeway in routine expenditures, which now often exceed the existing $100 limit. Frank Cunningham moved approval of the amendments. Seconded and so voted. The amendments will be published together with these minutes in the Newsletter (Section IV). All amendments are subject to final approval at the 1988 Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The ballot for the election of officers and board was distributed, with the explanation concerning the necessity of electing the Secretary/Treasurer for a one-year interim term pending final approval of the by-laws amendments. (The by-laws do not preclude a single person from holding both offices.) There being no nominations from the floor, Paul Voelker moved that the Secretary be directed to cast a single unanimous ballot for the slate as presented. Motion approved; ballot was cast. The new list of Officers and Board is appended in Section V.

Marc Maufort reported on the progress of the Belgian conference, "Eugene O'Neill and the Emergence of American Drama," May 20-22. The names of James Robinson and Mel Cobb have been added to the participants. All Society members will be sent further information and a registration blank.

Fred Wilkins reported on the status of the Society's play contest, which is soliciting new scripts concerning O'Neill and his times. Two submissions have been received to date. The winner, if there is one, will be announced on July 4, 1988, and will receive a staged reading at the Circle in the Square in October 1988.

Sally Pavetti discussed other Centennial activities. Grants have been received from the Connecticut Arts Council for putting on productions and readings and other events with the combined participation of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Monte Cristo Cottage, and Connecticut College, under the heading of "Collaborations Three" during the coming year. All Society members will receive a revised program early in 1988. Sally also announced that the Museum of the City of New York is now presenting an O'Neill exhibit called "Face of Genius: Images of Eugene O'Neill," which will be displayed during the centennial weekend in October at the Lyman Allyn Museum of Connecticut College. She also reported on the various activities of George White of the O'Neill Center at Waterford, who is working on the events connected with the erection of the statue of young O'Neill to be dedicated in the New London harbor on October 16, 1988. Many dignitaries, including the king and queen of Sweden, have been invited. There will be a display of fireworks and a Monte Cristo Ball to climax the occasion. It is hoped that Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst will offer some sort of O'Neill production. It is also hoped that during the year the entire O'Neill canon will be offered in the New London area in the form of productions and readings.

Jordon Peelle reported that in March on American Playhouse PBS will present a one-hour program on O'Neill's life from 1910 to 1920--Journey to Genius--covering O'Neill from Princeton to Beyond the Horizon.

Judith Weston reported on the Los Angeles Eugene O'Neill Theatre Festival. The productions undertaken during the year were, unfortunately, not financially successful, although critically acclaimed. The Festival has been invited to China and hopes to secure grants for the trip. They may perform Hughie back to back with a Chinese version, with the hope of bringing both back to this country.

Fred Wilkins will chair the Special Session on O'Neill at the 1988 MLA Convention in New Orleans. The title: "Eugene O'Neill at 100: Respects and Retrospects." Papers should reflect general overviews of the life and canon. Submission of papers is welcomed from all and should be sent to Fred by mid-March 1988.

Joanne Bowling presented the proposed round-the-world tour for 1988, encompassing all four O'Neill celebrations in Belgium, Sweden, China, and Japan. Liberty Travel of New York (where she works under the name of Carroll Ward) has put together a complete package. Further information will be sent to all members of the Society early in 1988. The proposed all-inclusive price is currently $3795. The entire package need not be taken, but can be broken into individual portions as desired.

Mike Hinden informed the meeting of Fred Wilkins' desire to step down as editor of the Newsletter at the end of 1988 after 12 years at the job. The Board has reluctantly accepted Fred's decision, which is recognized as a crucial issue for the Society. Since it was felt by the Board that no single person would likely want to undertake editing the Newsletter as it now stands, the publication might be broken into two parts, including a more modest quarterly newsletter which would omit all scholarly articles, but would continue to convey all Society information, news on performances, etc., as at present, plus an annual journal to be refereed and of genuinely scholarly nature. Mike explained certain of the financial problems for such ventures, since the present Newsletter costs are not fully covered by subscription and dues payments, needing some underwriting by the host institution. The Board recommended exploring the two-publication possibility. Jackson Bryer has been informally approached as editor of the Annual and would be interested provided an editorial board is formed to help, but there still remains the question of financial support from the University of Maryland. The Board would like to know if there are other Society members who might be interested. It is felt that the smaller newsletter could be supported from present income with minimal institutional support. The Board plans an immediate mailing to all Society members announcing the impending change and soliciting names of those who might be interested in one or the other of the proposed publications. Fred will continue through 1988 and will be happy to serve in an advisory capacity thereafter.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary.

II. Secretary's Report for 1987

It is a great pleasure to announce that as the O'Neill Centennial Year opens the Society has reached a goal we have aimed for since our first meeting in 1978 at the New York Hilton, when the assembled handful tossed $10 each into the kitty to get things started. As of the close of this, our eighth full year of existence, we have surpassed the 200 mark and stand at 206 members, an increase of 14% over 1986 and 151% over our original charter membership of 82. Our attrition rate remains remarkably low, with only 12 non-renewals for the year. So far we have 78 renewals for 1988, or 38% of the present membership, a very encouraging sign. A total of 29 members chose the joint membership with Tao House during 1987, and seven joined Monte Cristo Cottage. We have ten joint membership requests for each so far for 1988.

It is interesting to see how our membership breaks down. We have 157 regular members, 17 students, 10 emeriti, 8 family units for a total of 16, two sponsors, and two institutions. But we also have two $500 Life members, both from Japan, whose faith in our continuance during their lifetimes is humbling. We now have 35 members in 12 foreign countries: 12 in Japan, 10 in People's Republic of China, two each in Hungary, Korea, and Sweden, and one member each in Belgium, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Taiwan, West Germany, India, and Norway. Daphne Waters, our member from Bermuda, lives in O'Neill's old Spithead home and has written a book about him, now being circulated for publication possibilities. Our Society is truly global.

The Society will be participating in a variety of ways in the various centennial celebrations throughout the world. A number of our members will appear on the program, "Eugene O'Neill and the Emergence of American Drama," in Belgium, sponsored by the Belgian Luxembourg American Studies Association under the organization of our very active member, Marc Maufort, May 20-22. Others will be at the Strindberg/O'Neill Festival in Stockholm, with which our International Secretary for Europe, Tom Olsson, is working, May 25-27. Liu Haiping, our International Secretary for the Orient, has organized a conference, "Eugene O'Neill - World Playwright," to b e held in Nanjing, China, June 6-9. Several of us have been asked to participate. There will be a conference in Japan at Hosei University in Tokyo, June 11-12. Joanne Bowling, one of our members and a New York travel agent, has prepared a tour package which will be explained later in this meeting for those wishing to attend one or more of these events.

An outstanding program has been under way since October of 1987 and will extend into October of 1988, called "Collaborations Three," in which Connecticut College, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and Monte Cristo Cottage have combined their efforts in a series of readings, productions, lectures, and symposia, including a planned puppet performance of The Emperor Jones by the Institution of Professional Puppetry Arts, an affiliate of the. Theater Center.

Productions of O'Neill plays have appeared around the country. The Society has contacted over 200 academic and amateur producing companies, encouraging their participation in the centennial celebrations.

The Secretary has not received any requests for information quite as startling as that from the White House last year, but the Society does continue to receive inquiries from students, libraries, and sundry organizations about any "free" material we might have. Many inquiries seek general reference information from our non-existent library. All inquiries are, of course, answered, but the only thing we have, aside from informing them about the existence of the Newsletter, is our application blank, with its brief history and outline of the Society's aims and purposes.

Our results from general advertising continued to be disappointing during 1987, with virtually no response from costly inserts in pertinent publications. We have decided to abandon all such undertakings. We are growing by word of mouth and more people hear of us through the various directories of organizations in which we are included than through any expensive advertising.

Our members continue in their research and publication. One outstanding volume issued in 1987 was Nancy Roberts' book written with her father, As Ever, Gene, an edition of the letters of O'Neill to George Jean Nathan. Other important things are in the mill--more letters edited by Jackson Bryer and Travis Bogard, for instance--and they will be reported on subsequently in this meeting by those who are doing the work. Your Secretary is pleased to report that the Shoestring Press is interested in a centennial revision of his Bibliography, aimed for the post-centennial year in order to catch as much of the important new writing as possible after the fact.

The Society is in good financial shape and experiencing steady growth. It has been a rewarding year.

Respectfully submitted by Jordan Y. Miller, Secretary.

III. Financial Report, 1/1/87-12/31/87.

DEBIT
Publication - E. O'N. Newsletter - $1,855.00
Filing Fee for Non-profit Corp. - $10.00
Tao House dues disbursement - $320.00
Tao House disbursement, lunches - $250.00
Monte Cristo Cottage dues disbursement - $40.00
Printing - $262.21
Postage and Bulk Mailing Fee - $227.01
Mailing list, Theatre Comm. Group - $25.00
Secretarial help - $47.50
Miscellaneous secretarial expenses - $50.00
TOTAL - $3.086.72

Balance Savings 12/31/87 - $5,700.41
Balance Checking 12/31/87 - $1,240.00

TOTAL DEBIT - $10,027.13

CREDIT
Balance, Savings 1/1/87 - $3,775.58
Balance, Checking 1/1/87 - $1,006.72
Dues payments 1987 - $3,200.00
Dues payment toward 1988 - $1,820.00
Interest on savings 1987 - $224.83

TOTAL CREDIT - $10,027.13

Respectfully submitted by Jordan Y. Miller, Acting Treasurer.

IV. Proposed Amendments to the By-Laws

Approved by the Membership at its Annual Meeting of December 29, 1987. Subject to final
approval and incorporation into the by-laws at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans in 1988.

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

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

Change to Read
c) The Secretary and/or Treasurer shall serve terms of four years, with the possibility of re-election for an indefinite number of consecutive terms.

Section V.3: Remuneration of Officers

Present Reading
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 per annum must be approved by the Directors.

Change to Read
Section V.3: Remuneration of Officers and Expenditure of Society Funds

a) Officers shall receive no compensation for their services, but may be reimbursed for reasonable personal expenditures not to exceed $100 per annum incurred on behalf of the Society.

b) Personal expenditures by officers that exceed $100 per annum must be approved by the Directors.

c) Single expenditures on behalf of the Society exceeding $100 each, such as advertising, purchase of mailing lists, and other exceptional costs, must be approved by the Directors.

d) Routine expenditures for postage, office supplies, stationery, fees, secretarial help and the like shall be at the discretion of the Secretary and/or Treasurer.

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

Change present d) to e) and add the following:
d) International Secretaries, as appointed officers, shall serve indefinite terms at the discretion of the Directors.

V. Officers and Board of Directors

OFFICERS

President (two-year term, 1988-1989)
Frederick C. Wilkins
Department of English Suffolk University 02114
Boston, MA 02114

Vice-President (two-year term, 1988-1989)
Michael Manheim
PO Box 63
Strafford, VT 05072

Secretary-Treasurer (one-year interim 1988)
Jordan Y. Miller
Department of English
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881

(This is the Society's official business and mailing address.)

International Secretaries (Europe and Orient)

Tom J. A. Olsson
Royal Dramatic Theatre
Stockholm, Sweden

Liu Haiping
Nanjing University
People's Republic of China

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Four-year term, 1986-1989

Travis Bogard University of California
7 West Parnassus Court
Berkeley, CA 94728

Adele R. Heller
Provincetown Playhouse
Provincetown, MA 02657

Jordan Pecile
US Coast Guard Academy
New London, CT 06320

Paul Volker
Univ. of Wisconsin, Richland Center
Richland Center, WI 53581

Albert Wertheim
Department of English
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47401

Four-year term, 1988-1991

Frank Cunningham
Department of English
University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD 57069

Eugene K. Hanson
College of the Desert
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Michael Hinden (Chairman of Board)
Department of English
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Sally Thomas Pavetti
Monte Cristo Cottage
325 Pequot Avenue
New London, CT 06320

John Henry Raleigh
Department of English
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94708

Permanent Honorary Board Member
Virginia Floyd
2536 Longboat Drive
Naples, FL 33942

(IN THIS ISSUE)

 

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