"My country is the World. My Religion is to do Good."



Direct email inquiries
to TPF, Inc. Secretary, Martha Spiegelman,
or by telephone:

Thomas Paine Friends, Inc. is a membership organization. Directors and Officers serve one-year terms, and elections are held annually each Fall.



Edward J. Dodson, President
...Cherry Hill, NJ
Victor Madeson, Vice President
...Allentown, PA
Irwin Spiegelman, Treasurer
...Amherst MA
Martha Spiegelman, Secretary
...Amherst, MA

Other Directors

Jennifer Bisheff
...Santa Barbara, CT
Maurice Bisheff
...Santa Barbara, CA
Frances Chiu
...West Hartford, CT
Sidney Moss
...Northampton, MA
Christiane Munbkholm
...Boston, MA
Richard Robyn
...Twinsburg, OH
John F. Skibiski, Jr.
...Northampton, MA
Merrylees Turner
...Amherst, MA

About Thomas Paine Friends, Inc.

The following statement of purpose is found in the Articles of Incorporation of Thomas Paine Friends, Inc., approved April 2, 2002:

... "Thomas Paine Friends, Inc. ('the organization') shall be an educational, historical, monumental and civic non-profit organization which shall encourage people to learn about and from the author-patriot, Thomas Paine, his times and his philosophy, so that they may be inspired to participate in public affairs in ways reflective of the spirit of Paine's life, thought and ideals; and which shall strive to increase public awareness of Paine's contributions to our representative democracy, to equality, to justice, to human rights, to free thought and free expression; and which shall endeavor to strengthen a sense of world citizenship; and which shall propose and support fitting memorials to Thomas Paine.
... Activities of the organization fall into two principal spheres: 1. To raise public consciousness of Paine's notable contributions to the political foundations of our representative democracy, and to numerous social and economic reforms; and, 2. To advocate the role that Paine in his writings and by his life's example set out for citizens in a free representative democracy -- education and discourse in the public interest so that citizens will participate in an informed way in the civic and public life of the large and small community."

A Short History of Thomas Paine Friends, Inc.

...For more than two centuries, many thoughtful persons around the world have found strength in the writings of Thomas Paine and in the story of his life. In the United States during the 1990s, an effort was begun by several dedicated Paineites to convince individual state legislatures to celebrate the anniversary of Paine's birth by observing every January 29th as a Thomas Paine Day.
... In 1998, the Commonwealth of Virginia became the first state to enact, as law, Thomas Paine Day to be observed every January 29th. In 1999, Florida followed with the same legislation.
... The passage of this legislation occurred because of the efforts of Sherwood V. Smith in Virginia and Robert N. Walsh in Florida. Their success stimulated volunteers in other states to press their own state legislatures to join with Virginia and Florida by declaring January 29th to be Thomas Paine Day.
... By the 29th of January, 2002, a total of 30 states had joined in the celebration of Thomas Paine Day. Most the the declarations had been made in the form of governors' Proclamations. However, the campaign for legislation continued, and by December, 2005, nine states had done so. The list of states included Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
... Out of this state-by-state Thomas Paine Day effort developed the nucleus of a small but very committed band of activists. We dubbed ourselves, Thomas Paine Friends.


In May of 2000, the group produced the first issue of a newsletter, BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends.
Thomas Paine Friends is an association of activists committed to several specific projects designed to bring the great political philosopher and humanitarian into permanent prominence, as is his due. We invite anyone who wants to be active in one or more of these projects to join us.
One goal is to obtain recognition of Thomas Paine's life, achievements and legacy. We see various routes to reach the goal.
  • State-wide, annual THOMAS PAINE DAY
  • Informational programs for schools, libraries, civic and community groups
  • Encouragement to youth to learn about Thomas Paine, and the foundations of our country, for example by essays, special teaching units, performances, etc.
  • Proposals to schools to teach about the civic and political life and self-government
  • Exhibits in libraries, town halls, community centers, and similar locations
  • Letters and short articles sent to professional journals...to newspapers
  • Production and distribution of a newsletter, the BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends, to exchange information and views related to Thomas Paine and to provide a forum

The January, 2001 issue of the BULLETIN provided a belated acknowledgement of the important contributions of several other individuals responsible for the formation of Thomas Paine Friends, Inc. In the late 1980s, the Thomas Paine Readers Club, formed by Florence Stapleton and Nat Mills brought new people into the group.
...Florence periodically sent her personal Thomas Paine Readers Club letter, one to two pages in length. When informed of her death in 1999, Paine Readers from all over the world sent messages of remembrance and condolence to Florence's family.
...After the Thomas Paine National Historical Association (TPNHA) decided in Fall 1999 to discontinue a newsletter, a number of recipients of the expired TPNHA newsletter said that we ought to maintain a news exchange. Those of us involved at the time decided to call our network Thomas Paine Friends.
...Ever faithful, Florence Stapleton and Nat Mills cannot be forgotten as guides and examples to any of us working to restore Thomas Paine to his rightful place in history and in the civic life.


Thanks to the dedication of our members, Thomas Paine Friends has been able to undertake and continue a number of major activities. One is the effort to have every state of the United States declare the 29th of January, Thomas Paine Day. Members have also been instrumental in creating the Paine Anti-Defamation League (PADL). And, of course, is our organization newsletter, the BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends.

Other projects and activities include:

Letter-writing to Media

A coordinated effort is underway to have residents in each state write a letter or opinion piece to a major newspaper in the capital city, for publication just before January 29th, Thomas Paine Day. Each state resident / volunteer is encouraged to write an article, however, Thomas Paine Friends can assist by providing model letters and background material such as a selection of quotations from Paine's writings and testimonials to him. TPF will supply the entire letter to the editor if the resident / volunteer prefers, to be signed and sent by the resident /volunteer. (Contact Robert N. Walsh, tpainein50@bellsouth.net ).

Contact State Offices

In conjunction with the Letter-Writing Campaign, state residents / volunteers can also contact state offices in their State Houses, such as the governor's office and legislators' offices. The object is for the volunteers to thank the officials for previous support of Thomas Paine Day Resolutions and to remind them of the approaching Thomas Paine Day, by enclosing a small poster and requesting that it be displayed prominently in the State House to usher in the upcoming Thomas Paine Day on January 29th. Again, sample letters and other supporting materials, plus the poster, are available from TPF. (Contact Robert N. Walsh, tpainein50@bellsouth.net ).

Annual Dinners and Receptions

Each locality has a golden opportunity to hold a festive event for Thomas Paine Day, January 29th, every year, or possibly at another suitable time of the year, for instance, Independence Day. These affairs might be small initially, but would be enjoyable gatherings as well as opportunities to get out press releases and inform local officials, schools, libraries, etc., about Thomas Paine. For information & suggestions on planning events, contact Martha Spiegelman at spiegelman22@yahoo.com, or any board member; and to list an event in the newsletter, BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends, contact Martha Spiegelman.

Exhibits for Libraries, Schools, Town Halls, etc.

Several communities have arranged exhibits ranging from a single Thomas Paine poster to collections of memorabilia to video showings. Those who have already produced these exhibits are ready to assist others to assemble an exhibit or plan another kind of public event. (Contact Martha Spiegelman, spiegelman22@yahoo.com, or Robert N. Walsh, tpainein50@bellsouth.net ).

Lecture Materials

Thomas Paine Friends President, Edward J. Dodson, has developed a presentation titled "Thomas Paine: Architect of Cooperative Individualism" in PowerPoint format. This presentation is available to teachers and anyone who is interesting in giving talks on Paine to groups. The PowerPoint slides include lecture notes that can be revised as desired. This presentation is available free of charge as a public service. Contact Ed Dodson, at edod08034@comcast.net.

Outreach, Publicity/ Public Relations

TPF needs to contact numerous groups that would have an interest in Thomas Paine, and might lend support in some projects. Some groups to be contacted are historical societies, humanist societies, libraries, cultural and civic associations. So far, only limited attempts have been made in a few localities. Letters to introduce Thomas Paine Friends to such groups are needed. Contact any officer or board member.

Membership and Fundraising

Proposals and volunteers are needed for two drives: to gain and keep members and to solicit funds. Seeking out appropriate funding agencies and making applications for grants is an important immediate task. (Contact Martha Spiegelman, spiegelman22@yahoo.com )

National Monument Initiative

Fifteen years ago Congress approved and the President signed into Law a Thomas Paine National Memorial which would be constructed on the Mall in Washington DC. Unfortunately, the time ran out on the project -- funds were insufficient and the Commissions that would have had to accept the design and plan did not make an acceptance in view of the insufficient funding. A new beginning can be made, and Thomas Paine Friends is conferring with other Paine groups to see whether to start again. (Contact Sherwood V. Smith, paineiteone@yahoo.com, or any board member).

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