John Hamill and Tom Regnier received awards at the closing of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship’s November 2016 conference in Boston, in part for their work in unifying the two major Oxfordian groups in the U.S. to form a single organization, now called the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.
In 2012, John Hamill was president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society, and Tom Regnier was president of the Shakespeare Fellowship, both Oxfordian groups pursuing essentially the same goal – researching and disseminating the Oxfordian thesis. Negotiating all the terms and meeting all the legal requirements necessary for unification was a complex, year-long process that culminated in 2013 in an overwhelming vote by the members of both groups to unite. Hamill was the first president of the unified organization and was later succeeded by Regnier. Conference organizer Earl Showerman presented awards to both men on the last day of the Boston conference:
John Hamill received a special award, recognizing not only his role in unification, but also his leadership in initiating the SOF’s successful Research Grant Program, which has funded exciting discoveries related to the authorship question, including the finding of records of the canal system between Verona and Milan and documents memorializing Edward de Vere’s request to the Council of Ten in Venice for permission to view private collections not available to the public. John has written numerous articles in Oxfordian publications and given talks at many of our conferences.
Tom Regnier was presented with the Oxfordian of the Year Award for 2016. In addition to his role in unifying the two groups, he oversaw the creation of the current website and the augmentation of the SOF’s online presence via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Under his direction, the SOF began making videos of conference presentations and showing them on its own YouTube channel. He started using print-on-demand for SOF journals, which greatly reduced costs, and established a Speakers Bureau and an Outreach Program.
Recently, Tom has given introductory talks on the authorship question at such places as the Miami Press Club, the GableStage theatre, and the North Palm Beach Library. Videos of the latter two have received a total of over 10,000 views on YouTube as of this date. He also appeared this year on the South Florida television show Spotlight on the Arts to discuss the authorship question. Tom, a lawyer who has taught a course on Shakespeare and the law, has a video on the SOF YouTube channel, The Law of Evidence and the Shakespeare Authorship Question, which has received over 2,000 views.
This year, Tom contributed the chapter on “Equivocation” to Contested Year, a book that challenges the many errors, omissions, and misleading statements in James Shapiro’s The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. One of Tom’s articles on the law in Hamlet was translated into Ukrainian. His talk on “Hamlet and the Law of Homicide: the Life of the Mind in Law and Art, ” which was first presented at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., was selected by the Dade County [Florida] Bar Association to inaugurate its Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series. It is scheduled for further presentations in South Florida in the coming months.
On accepting the Oxfordian of the Year Award, Tom noted many of the distinguished Oxfordians who had won the award before him. The award was first presented in 2005 to Mark Anderson, author of the landmark biography of Edward de Vere, “Shakespeare” By Another Name. Other recipients include Richard Roe, author of The Shakespeare Guide to Italy and Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. The complete list of past winners is as follows:
2015 Alexander Waugh
2014 Alex McNeil
2013 Roger Stritmatter
2012 John Shahan
2011 Kevin Gilvary
2010 Richard Roe
2009 John Paul Stevens
2008 Daniel Wright
2007 Richard Whalen
2006 Lynne Kositsky
2005 Mark Anderson