ENGLISH WESTERNERS' SOCIETY
REPORT OF THE
50TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD ON SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2006
AT OVER-SEAS HOUSE
This year we were once again in the Rutland Room for our lunch and meeting. A total of 10 members and 1 guest took lunch. These were: Raymond Cox; Stephen Goldsmith; Peter Harrison (Southampton); David Jackson (Surbiton); Rex Pope and a guest (Reading); Richard Pratt (Stocktonon-Tees): Keith Robinson; Joseph G. Rosa (Ruislip); Francis Taunton and Bob Wybrow (Bromley). After lunch we were joined by Colin Crocker, Allan and Marion Radbourne, and Stuart Tucker.
When the meeting opened, the Chairman, Richard Pratt, advised members that all the committee members would offer themselves for re-election and that he would continue to deal with the production of the Tally Sheet, in addition to his duties as Chairman. Reports from the various officeholders were received and points raised by the members were discussed.
The members then warmly expressed their congratulations to Allan Radbourne for his achievement in having his biography of Mickey Free published by the Arizona State Historical Society and receiving the Western History Association Award, together with an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.
This year, the auction followed the business session, and we raised £59 for Society funds The business and auction finished Francis Taunton gave a talk on two engagements in the Nez Perce war – White Bird Canyon and Canyon Creek – battlefields he had visited and photographed extensively during the summer. The proceedings ended at 5.30, but several of us (including our speaker, who needed lubricating!) lingered in the cocktail bar, chatting until around 6.45 p.m. (FBT.)
A note on the AGM: All members are entitled to attend the AGM free of charge, irrespective of whether or not they take lunch. (There is a buttery on the premises, which serves snacks and a three-course meal). We take lunch in our own room partly because in this way we avoid a room-hire charge, and also because this furnishes us with an opportunity to enjoy a meal together. But, please do remember, everyone is welcome to attend the meeting even if they do not take lunch!
The Tally Sheet
I have produced 3 Tally Sheets since the last A.G.M. and am very grateful to all members and associate members who have contributed. I am always looking for further book reviews, and items of Western Americana interest, plus articles for the Tally Sheet. The Society receives very few review copies these days from publishers and this avenue appears to be drying up. Most reviews are by members and associates hwo have purchased their own copies and I am grateful to them for these.
From the technical point of view of production, I have to thank my other committee members for their work and support, especially to Francis Taunton who deals with our printer. (RJP)
The Brand Book
Following the publication of The Battle at Rainy Butte, the next work currently on the stocks is the awaited work by Francis Taunton, which has been maturing like a fine wine (the work, not Francis!). It is called “A Stinging Blow” and at the time of this report is being proof read, pending completion of the cover. This will form the third issue for 2004-2005. Immediately after this, we have The Life and Death of Outlaw Harry Tracy by Robertus Love, Ghost writing for Frank James. Bob Wybrow will be providing a Foreword and editorial comments on this unusual reprint. We also have an offer from Allan Radbourne to publish his Indian Scouts in Arizona, together with Barry Johnson’s A Blackburn Man in the Frontier Army, though this may appearing the second volume of the Golden Jubilee Publication (q.v.). In the more distant future we have works by Colin Taylor, and an edited version of the History of the 19th Kansas Cavalry by Captain George B. Jenness. (PH)
The Society was 50 years old in November 2004, and to commemorate this half-century of achievement we are publishing one or more special Golden Jubilee Publications. The first volume, entitled Vignettes in Violence, was despatched to members in May 2005. A second volume was planned to appear in 2006-2007 featuring contributions on the Army and Indian Wars but has been replaced by Rainy Butte and The Life and Death of Harry Tracy. It is now intended to publish this volume as soon as possible, hopefully before then of 2007. (FBT)
The Secretary’s Report
The point of contact for Westerners International was changed from the President to the Secretary and a few copies of their publication, the Buckskin Bulletin, are now received on a regular basis. UK members may request a copy from me, which will be photocopied and charged for including postage and packing. (My address appears elsewhere in this Report.) We are considering giving the organisation more details of our activities for publication in their Bulletin.
I received a letter from a member asking why we did not hold regular meetings. In principle, the committee is willing to support this. The problem is that meeting rooms in London, where a significant minority of our members live, are expensive and those in the provinces need someone living locally to organise the event. This is something we need to explore more fully, and I hope to be able to conduct a survey of members during the coming months to see how much support there might be.
The site is normally updated monthly, with the exception of the summer months, as these are affected by my other commitments. The process of including past articles has now begun, the first being posted in November 2005. I intend to put a selection covering various topics relating to the American West onto the web site during the next 12 months after consulting with the authors of the articles concerned. It has been suggested that some of the Society’s earlier works would be ideal candidates. We have also been investigating how we can potentially support the national curriculum by providing fact sheets on the American West. (KEG)
Associate Secretary’s Report
Associate Secretary is an impressive title for what is really a very straightforward job of stuffing envelopes and posting them off to Members. This year saw three mailings (October 2005, March and June 2006) with the usual mix of Tally Sheets and Brand Books, News for members, and special offers of books, Society ties and shirts. The majority of our members live in the U.K., but we also send to 50+ U.S. members, as well as to a few members in Poland, Switzerland, France, Germany and as far away as Australia. The mailings have again gone smoothly this year; members are very good at telling us about changes of address, etc. Thanks once again this year to Richard Pratt for printing the address letter and to my husband Mike (“Assistant Associate Secretary”) for carrying all the boxes of envelopes to the Post Office. (MC)
The Treasurer’s Report
There was a loss last year of £142, slightly higher than in the previous year. This is primarily due to the continuing decline in membership, exacerbated by the adverse dollar/sterling exchange rate prevailing since 2005. Sales of Society publications and miscellaneous income are also much lower than in the past. On the expenditure side, mailing costs have risen, and will continue to do so, but we have contained publications costs without reducing their overall length. We retained adequate reserves at the end of the year. In terms of membership, we ended the year with 173 members (2005: 183), as follows: Honorary Officers: 3; honorary members – 1; Founder members – 1; Committee members – 6; members and associates – 162. The gradual decline in membership totals has been a growing trend and partly reflects the average age of the membership. For example, in 2002 the membership totaled 194, falling to 189 in 2004.
Note: Stocks of Society Publications, People of the Buffalo, polo shirts and ties are not included in the financial statements above
Executive Committee -2006/2007
* Mary subsequently resigned from the committee on 9 December 2006, but has agreed to continue to mail publications to members as before.
English Westerners' Society