PORTRAITS AND IMAGES
to TPF, Inc. Secretary, Martha
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Edward J. Dodson, President
...Cherry Hill, NJ
Victor Madeson, Vice President
Irwin Spiegelman, Treasurer
Martha Spiegelman, Secretary
...Santa Barbara, CT
...Santa Barbara, CA
...West Hartford, CT
John F. Skibiski, Jr.
About Thomas Paine Friends, Inc.
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
In May of 2000, the group produced the first issue of a
newsletter, BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends.
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
...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
...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,
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.
Robert N. Walsh,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or any board member; and to
list an event in the newsletter, BULLETIN of Thomas Paine Friends,
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.
email@example.com, or Robert N. Walsh,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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,
email@example.com, or any board member).