N7. 4pp. [Bob Brown: see Journals, Newsletters, Personal View, Pamflet 13.]

Founded 1908
Working for planned change in English spelling for the benefit of learners and users everywhere.


Newsletter April 1994.

Edited and published by the Secretary, Bob Brown.


Lecture:

Phonicsphobia:

Emotional reactions to the teaching of English through phonic methods

A talk by our distinguished member

Dr Joyce Morris, OBE

Joyce Morris is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and has been a teacher and researcher for over 39 years. She was co-founder of the UK Reading Association and has been author or editor of numerous publications. She received her OBE - and other awards - for services to literacy. [See Joyce Morris' talk.]

Saturday April 23,1994 at 10:45
prefacing the AGM.

Lecture:

Following Joyce Morris' talk, Chris Jolly will present recent experience with The Phonics Handbook and associated teaching materials.

AGM:

The annual General Meeting of the Simplified Spelling Society will be held on Saturday April 23, 1994.

As usual, the AGM will be a combined general meeting - which elects the coming year's Committee - and first meeting of the new Committee, which elects Officers. All members are welcome to both, as always. Start time is 10:45 with two preceding lectures, detailed overleaf. There will be a lunch break at some appropriate point.

AGM agenda.

1. Minutes of last AGM
2. Matters arising, if any
3. Secretary's report
4. Treasurer's report
5. Appointment of auditor
6. Subscription for 1995
7. Editor-in-Chief's report
8. Research Director's report
9. PRO's report
10. Chairman's round-up
11. Re-election of President
12. Election of Committee
13. Any other business

Committee Agenda.

1. Minutes of last meeting
2. Matters arising, if any
3. Co-options to Committee
4. Election of Officers
5. Meeting dates for next 12 months
6. Speaker for July meeting
7. Any other business


[The accounts have been omitted.]



In Brief.

Subscription reminder.


If you have not yet paid your subscription for 1994, you will find a reminder with this Newsletter. Please pay soon (£10, net of exchange fees if from abroad) to the Secretary.

Help still wanted!


Your Secretary must admit to sinking under yet more of a workload, hence the paucity of Newsletters of late. Now his employers have asked him to work abroad for six months or so, returning home every three or four weeks. He will do his best to keep the Society's admin ticking over, but please bear with him.

Booked.


From the next issue of the Central London telephone directory the Society will be listed under both "Spelling" and "Simplified", to make it easier for people to find us. This follows a number of complaints from enquirers.

We're not being gloomy but ...


An article elsewhere in this issue invites you to think of the Society when making your Will. You will notice from the Accounts that we need to increase our endowment fund (and thus income) if we are to continue even present levels of activity.



[William Archer: see Journals including foto which was also printed in this newsletter, Newsletters, Pamflets 2, 3, 4, Book New Spelling.]

Excerpts.

William Archer: A biography.

by Peter Whitebrook, Published by Methuen 1993, 435pp, £25. William Archer (1856-1924) was present at the inaugural meeting of the Simplified Spelling Society and became its first Secretary.

This massive biography comprehensively charts his busy journalistic life, mostly as a theatre critic. Archer was also an inveterate traveller and social campaigner, so there is much to report.

Whitebrook's book has received reviews far and wide. Rather than adding to them, I felt it would be more useful to excerpt the main passages that concern the Society. The Society was but a small part of his life so receives relatively brief treatment.

[This account of Archer's life], the first for over sixty years, is an illuminating and original portrait of a principled and enigmatic man, whose inexpressive demeanour concealed a progressive and passionate mind.

A drama critic for more than forty years, William Archer transformed the Victorian theatre ... into the playwright's theatre we know today. He introduced Henrik Ibsen to the British stage, guided the early career of Bernard Shaw, encouraged Pinero, Wilde, Galsworthy and Granville Barker, and had a grand affair with Elizabeth Robins, one of the greatest actresses of her generation, who played Hedda Gabler in Archer's own translation of Ibsen's play. He was a radical opponent of censorship and a lifelong campaigner for a British National Theatre. [Cover] (1907:] It was yet another of his enthusiasms which took Archer abroad that spring. In his early love letters to Frances he had proposed a modest spelling reform, mostly consisting of dropping the u from words such a favour. [...]

The previous year, the Simplified Spelling Board was founded in New York ... This was just the sort of thing Archer enjoyed ... Simplified spelling was modern ... and smacked of American good sense and practicality. [...] In the Morning Leader, he called for an international commission of eminent scholars to refine English spelling ... [for] the Simplified Spelling Board, whose job it would then be to encourage newspapers and magazines 'by bribery and corruption' if necessary, to translate at least some of their articles into new spelling. [ ... I This was the message he took with him to New York when invited to address the Board on 3 April 1907 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. [264-51]

[1908 after the award of a Norwegian knighthood for services in translating Ibsen:] Being a knight in Norway did not guarantee an income in England, and financially, he was only bumping along. But as so often with Archer, something came along to save the day. He became a co-founder of the Simplified Spelling Society, an English counterpart to the Simplified Spelling Board. At the inaugural meeting on 10 September, Walter Skeat, a Chaucerian scholar from Cambridge, was elected president and Archer secretary on a salary of £200 a year. A week later [... ] he was appointed treasurer as well. Renting a tiny office at 44 Great Russell Street, he equipped it with desk, typewriter and typist [and began to spend the funds from Andrew Carnegie that had initiated the Society].

He had hardly begun his secretarial duties when, after nine months without a drama column, he became theatre critic for The Nation, a Liberal weekly paper ... [281]

By the Spring of 1909, Archer had written three [SSS] pamphlets, or 'pamflets', urging the use of a 'fonetic alfabet' and had become the ambassador to its sister organization in the USA, speaking at its annual meeting in April. [281]

[1910:] He fell back on his work as secretary [of the SSS], but as he now only worked part-time, he halved his salary to £100 a year. With Walter Ripman, who took over as treasurer, he wrote the Society's handbook, Proposals for a Simplified Spelling of the English Language [subsequently New Spelling], outlining their phonetic principles and which, in a substantially revised form, is one of the publications still issued by the Society today. [2861

[1912:] For the second time in four years, there seemed nothing to keep Archer at home. Resigning as secretary of the [SSS], he planned his second trip around the world. [290]

© Peter Whitebrook 1993.



The Society's Finances.

Thank you, Sir George!

Sir George Hunter.
Picture courtesy of (and ©) Swan Hunter.
Sir George Hunter, of the Tyneside shipbuilders Swan Hunter, backed the Simplified Spelling Society financially for many years until his death in 1937.

He then left us with substantial funds which - despite heavy inroads over the years - still form the core of our present endowment of over £70,000. This still generates an annual investment income approaching £3,000.

But it plainly isn't enough. You will also notice that we spent more than our income last year, eating into reserves a little.

Then and now.

In Sir George's day, the Society maintained a small permanent office with a full-time staff. This was in Great Russell Street opposite the British Museum from 1908 until Sir George relocated it to Wallsend-on-Tyne during the 1930s to reduce costs. Although not operated as a membership society in those days, the Organisation claimed several thousand "members" or supporters.

All this contrasts with our present membership of 130 or so, and a relatively low level of activity, dependent on a few individuals donating their leisure time. And still we have difficulty to cover our costs.

Members can help - no matter in how small a way - by emulating Sir George Hunter's generosity and leaving the Society money in a will.

Changing your will is simple.

Minor changes to your will can be made by adding a codicil - a simple amendment or addition to your existing will. But if you want to make more substantial change we recommend that a new will be prepared. Simply contact your solicitor who will advise on what is most appropriate.

But if you haven't made a will.

Surprisingly, two out of three people die without leaving a will. This can cause problems such as lengthy, and maybe costly, legal delays. Worst of all, if you are unmarried and have no close family, the government can claim all your assets.

Simplifying the archaic spelling of English is a cause to which you are dedicated to some degree, or you wouldn't be a member of this Society. Change could be brought about much sooner if we had more resources - and mostly that means more income, in turn meaning more capital.

If you haven't already remembered the Simplified Spelling Society in your will, call your solicitor now for an appointment.

Sir George Hunter is being effective more than half a century after his death. Will you still be reforming our wayward orthography in the middle of the next century?




N8. 2pp. Founded 1908
Working for planned change in English spelling for the benefit of learners and users everywhere


Newsletter March 1995.

Published by the Secretary Bob Brown.


LECTURE.

English Spelling and the Computer.

A talk by our long-standing member Dr Roger Mitton Dept. of Computer Science Birkbeck College, London University
This is also the title of Roger Mitton's forthcoming book on the subject.
Saturday April 29, 1995 at 10:45 prefacing the AGM, as detailed below.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.

The Annual General Meeting of the Simplified Spelling Society will be held on Saturday April 29, 1995 in London, after the talk mentioned above.

As usual, the AGM will be a combined general meeting - which elects the coming year's Committee - and first meeting of the new Committee, which elects Officers. All members are welcome to both, as always. Start time is 10:45 with a preceding lecture.

There will be a lunch break at some appropriate point.

AGM Agenda

1. Minutes of last AGM
2. Matters arising, if any
3. Secretary's report
4. Treasurer's report and approval of Accounts
5. Appointment of auditor
6. Subscription for 1996
7. Editor-in-Chief's report
8. Research Director's report
9. PRO's report
10. Chairman's round-up
11 Election of Committee
12 Any other business

Committee Agenda

1. Minutes of last meeting
2. Matters arising, if any
3. Co-options to Committee
4. Election of Officers
5. Meeting dates for next 12 months
6. Speaker for future meetings
7. Any other business.

[The accounts have been omitted.]

IN BRIEF.

Subscription time again!

Members are reminded that subscriptions for 1995 are now due, at a rate of £10 or US$ 20. Please send your cheque or bank draft to the Secretary at the address below as soon as possible. For the small number of members inconvenienced, we regret that it is not possible to provide alternative methods of payment, for administrative reasons.

Coming home.


Your Secretary has been working away from home, except for brief weekend visits, for most of the last year. Members will have noticed the consequent lack of Newsletters and other Society activity.

Bob Brown returns to the UK again at the end of April, and then hopes to be able to pick up the reins once more.

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