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Irwin Spiegelman,
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2009 proved to be an exciting, activity-filled year of celebration of Thomas Paine's life, accomplishments and legacy. Listed below are just some of the events in which Thomas Paine Friends members played a part.


  • The Thomas Paine Society of Pasadena presented scenes from The Real Tom Paine, written by award-winning Philadelphia playwright, Larry Loebell, in a 2009 VIDEO. A staged reading of the Thomas Paine Society's new play was performed at the Tom Paine 200 Festival at Thetford, England - June 4-6, 2009.


  • May 2 -- Joyce Chumbley addressed members of the Humanist Society of the Suncoast on "Thomas Paine: Still Relevant and Revolutionary." The Humanist Society is located in the Tampa Bay, Florida area


"On the Eve of His Execution: A Play About Thomas Paine ran for four weeks, from April 21 through May 13 and played Sunday and Monday nights at 8:00 pm at WNEP Theater, 3209 N. Halsted in Chicago. Written and performed by Chicago playwright Henry Andrew Caporoso.


  • April 24 thru 26 -- Morris County held a three-day celebration of the region's significant role in the nation's colonial period. Executive Director of the Morris County Tourism Bureau, Leslie Bensley, interviewed by the Parsippany Daily Record, described the origins of this celebration as follows:

    "One of the keys for a successful destination is having annual events. When something happens on an annual basis, you tend to get repeat visitors. In Trenton, they have Patriots Week, which is George Washington crossing the Delaware.

    It's not new, but we've never had anything like that. Now that Congress has created the Crossroads of the Revolution Heritage Area, of which we are one of the anchors, we decided we needed to do our own effort. So, we have created this new weekend. It kicks off with a naturalization ceremony at Washington's Headquarters. Here now, we (will) have some of the newest Americans being sworn in -- in what we call the Crossroads of the Revolution. Then, we have a tea, and then there's storytelling, and an encampment, and something that I'm in charge with is this Thomas Paine dinner at the Morristown Club. We've got this wonderful little template. We hope to have about 2,000 people


  • Saturday, June 6, 2 pm. TPF, Inc., co-sponsored with Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation a lecture about Paine by historian, J. Ward Regan, at the Jefferson Market Branch of the Public Library, 425 Sixth Avenue at West 10th Street. After the lecture, there was a short walking tour to nearby 293 Bleecker Street (Herring Street in 1809), one of Paine's New York City residences, and then proceeded to the site where he died, now Marie's Crisis Cafe, at 59 Grove Street, where there are two intriguing art works relating to Paine. Research librarian, Mariam Touba, of New-York Historical Society, helped to construct a small tour map with historical notations, which was printed as a memento.

    Joyce Chumbley next to the newly-planted Liberty Tree

  • Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m., James Kaplan gave a walking tour sponsored by the Fraunces Tavern Museum in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Thomas Paine’s death. Call The tour left from Broadway and Murray Streeet in front of City Hall park.

    Timothy Nelms at the John Lennon Imagine Memorial

  • Monday, June 8, 11:30-1:30. Thomas Paine Friends, Inc., sponsored a commemoration in Thomas Paine Park, at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, on Monday, June 8, 2009, being the 200th anniversary of the death of Paine.

    Frances Chiu at the Thomas Paine Park Historical Celebration

  • Monday, June 8, at 2:30 p.m., James Kaplan gave a special encore presentation of his walking tour for attendees at the Thomas Paine Park Rededication. Paine enthusiasts stayed for dinner at the Fraunces Tavern Museum afterward for continued reflection and conversation about this memorable day.

    Martha Spiegelman at the Thomas Paine Historical Celebration


  • Sunday, June 7, 1 pm. In New Rochelle, was held a commemoration at the Paine Monument, on North Avenue near Paine Avenue. With TPF, the City of New Rochelle and the local historical organization, Huguenot & New Rochelle Historical Society, sponsored, and H&NRHS hosted the memorial observance. Following the memorial, the H&NRHS held a fund-raising gala lawn party on the grounds of Paine Cottage only a few steps from Paine Monument.


A series of educational events was presented as “ Thomas Paine: The Forgotten Founding Father” co-sponsored by Moonstone, the Office of Accelerated Education of the Philadelphia School District, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Thomas Paine National Historical Association, the Thomas Paine Society (UK), and the Henry George School. This project was made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and additional support from the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Barra Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
  • February -- A biographical overview of Paine
  • March -- An exploration of Paine’s Common Sense and The Crisis during revolution-era America
  • April -- A discussion of Paine in Europe and The Rights of Man, Age of Reason, and Agrarian Justice
  • May -- A study of Paine and the promise of America
  • June 8 -- Paine scholars came together to present a free public panel discussion on Paine on the 200th anniversary of his death, June 8, 2009. The panel discussion on June 8th also included a special feature – the two winning authors of our high school writing contest. In addition to attending the monthly lectures on Paine, students participated in the Thomas Paine Writing Contest by either composing an essay on Thomas Paine’s influence and relevance to today’s America, or by writing an appeal in the spirit of Paine on any social or political issue about which they are passionate. Students participating in the writing contest had the opportunity to share their work at local Philadelphia libraries as part of the selection process.

Philadelphia-based actor Steve Gulick portrays Thomas Paine. Here is a short video of him reading from The Crisis.

Another portrayal of Paine by Adam Altman opened in January 2009 at the Iron Age Theatre in Norristown, Pennsylvania and later in the year at Moonstone Arts Center in Philadelphia. A brief excerpt from the show can be viewed on Youtube.


  • October 2008 thru March 1 -- A program described as "Taking Liberties: The Struggle for Britain's Freedoms and Rights," at the British Library, London. Henry Porter at the Guardian said: "One suspects that the curators are making a point-that so much of what was fought for by people like John Wilkes, Tom Paine, John Stuart Mill and the Chartist Ernest Jones is threatened by this government's attack on constitutional rights." An Online Exhibition remains available.
  • February 28 -- The Convention on Modern Liberty, offered in London and across the country. For more information go to the website for Modern Liberty. Thomas Bingham lamented that today "People … haven't been brought up to cherish liberty."
  • March 28 -- The 200th Anniversary Meeting of the Thomas Paine Society, with Speakers Gregory Claeys and John Keane, at Conway Hall, sponsored as well by the South Place Ethical Society, the Freethought History Research Group, and the Socialist History Society

    LISTEN to the addresses delivered by Gregory Claeys and John Keane!
  • August 29 through October 9 -- "A New World: A Life of Thomas Paine," the World Premiere of a play by Trevor Griffiths at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London


  • July 4 thru 14 -- Thomas Paine & Lewes: "Revolution & Reason" in Lewes.


  • Thomas Paine Collection from the Working Class Movement Library Salford/Manchester. A Special exhibition that began in the fall. For more information see: Working Class Movement Library.


  • June 5 thru 8 -- Tom Paine 200 Celebrations - "The Man, The Place, and The Age" during the Thetford - Bicentenary Weekend, with a lecture series that continued in the fall.
  • June 6 -- A readathon of famous author and revolutionary Thomas Paine's works is planned at Thetford. The 24-hour marathon was held at St Peter's Church as part of the town's Tom Paine 200 celebration. The celebration commemorated the bi-centenary of his death. Volunteers are being sought to take part in the readathon and are invited to book their slot with the event co-ordinators. No knowledge of Paine's works was required and participants.

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