National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons

Electronic Newsletter, March, 2007



DATE: MARCH 17, 2007

If this is the first Electronic Newsletter which you have received from our Society, please read the paragraph OUR E-MAIL LIST below. The link to the Newsletter on the Website is: The link to the Website is:

This Electronic Newsletter features information about the DC Dinner on April 14, 2007, the Magna Carta Exhibit in Virginia Beach opening on March 30, 2007, the Magna Carta/USA Weekend on July 26 & 27 & 28, 2007 as well as information about recent activities.

Our membership is now over 17,000 Dames and Barons

I encourage you to call our office at 215-836-5022 with membership questions. Please speak with Mrs. Rose Mary McKeown, an experienced genealogist.

 Topics: New Information ***

Short Term Goals - Long Term Vision
*** DC Reception and Dinner April 14, 2007 – Change of Venue - & Philadelphia April 13, 2007
*** Magna Carta Exhibit 2007 - Virginia Beach - Opening March 30, 2007
*** Magna Carta Exhibit 2007 - Philadelphia - Opening July, 2007
*** Membership Initiatives
*** Reissue of Magna Charta in 2015 - 800th Anniversary
*** Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Visit Philadelphia
*** Future Events
*** Educational Tour Program - 2007
Participation in State Divisions
- Please send new email addresses
Thank you
Potential Members
***Enhancement of our E-Mail list

I enjoyed visiting with the Texas Division this month in Austin and I am delighted with the interest and enthusiasm of our members who attended the meeting.

Continuing Theme: Short Term Goals - Long Term Vision

We introduced a page on our Website which identifies the short term goals and long term vision for our Society, consistent with our purposes and supporting our mission. This page will be periodically updated and we invite suggestions. Please look at the "What's New" Page on our Web Site for information.

Washington DC - April 14, 2007 - Change of Venue - Philadelphia April 13, 2007

Our Washington, DC dinner will be held April 14, 2007 at the College of Clergy, Washington National Cathedral. Our speaker will be Michael West, Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral. Due to the change in venue our invitations are in the process of being mailed. The cost will be $65.00 per person with a wine and beer cash bar. Space is very limited so we encourage your prompt response by sending your check to reserve your place, hopefully adding a contribution.  Please either call or send an email to let us know.

We have also scheduled a luncheon in Philadelphia on Friday, April 13, 2007 for Chancellor West and his wife. The cost will be $40.00 per person. Space is limited so we encourage your prompt response by sending your check to reserve your place.

Magna Carta Exhibit 2007 - Virginia Beach - Opening March 30, 2007

In our last Newsletter we included a page with information about the Exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center in Virginia Beach. There will be a dinner on March 29, 2007 followed by the opening on March 30. The Exhibit will remain until June 18, 2007. Please visit the website of the Contemporary Art Center for information about the dinner and the opening: The Exhibit is titled Magna Carta and the Four Foundations of Freedom, including a Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence, the James Wilson First Draft of the U.S. Constitution, George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, penned in 1776, and the Emancipation Proclamation. I am pleased that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is loaning the draft of the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation for the Exhibit.

Magna Carta Exhibit 2007 - Philadelphia - Opening July, 2007

Plans are in process for the Lincoln Magna Carta to be exhibited in Philadelphia at the Constitution Center in July, 2007 following the Exhibit in Virginia Beach. In December, I welcomed the CEO of Lincoln Cathedral, Roy Bentham, and Mike West, Chancellor, to Philadelphia for a meeting at the Constitution Center to plan for the Exhibit. In addition, they had the opportunity to meet with Elliot Shelkrot President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia to view two miniature 13th Century copies of Magna Carta which are in the Free Library Collection. They also had lunch with David Moltke-Hansen, President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (who loaned the documents referenced in the prior paragraph) and had a brief meeting with a representative of Pew Charitable Trusts to brainstorm about ways to present the Lincoln Magna Carta.

Membership Initiatives

We have noted that some of our members are eligible to appoint Successors and have not done so. If you are a member enrolled as a Primary Member after January 1, 1971 you are eligible to appoint one Successor. Prior to that date memberships were perpetual. On the first page of the website there is a tab for Successor Information which will explain succession in our Society.

If you are a member of our Society you may Propose your children for membership using the Proposal Form for our Society. Your signature on the form will be accepted as primary proof of descent and no additional documentation will be necessary. If you propose another relative then descent would need to be established from your common ancestor on your qualifying line.

Reissue of Magna Charta in 2015 - 800th Anniversary - Reminder

In December I met with an MP in London concerning this initiative. Several weeks ago I spoke with an assistant to one of our local U.S. Congressman who reminded me that this was several years in the future.

At the April 2006 Washington DC Dinner, I discussed the various reissues of Magna Charta which followed 1215. While none of the reissues were as important as the original each contained important provisions including the 1297 reissue, a copy of which is located at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

As an initiative for our Society, I propose that the Magna Charta be reissued again in 2015, the 800th anniversary of the original, with provisions which could apply the intent of the original to the present.

Our long term vision for this project is that the words can be selected for those provisions which will be embraced by all peoples, endorsed by the United States Congress and United Kingdom Parliament, and ratified by leaders and governments.

Our short term goal is to initiate the project, recognizing that the process of  finding those words will develop awareness of the Magna Charta and its provisions. Our Society includes people with different opinions who join together to focus on the Magna Charta and we encourage others who might help with this project to adopt the same approach.

We initially plan for a contest to select the wording (including a narrative explanation of the wording) and invite suggestions or support for this project.

We recognize that this anniversary may be recognized by a number of organizations including those with a political agenda. We recognize that all such efforts increase awareness of Magna Charta. In selecting an appropriate initial project for our Society relating to the anniversary we considered that we have over 17,000 members which probably makes us the largest Magna Charta related organization. While there may be other larger organizations which are interested in individual liberty, the rule of law or other aspects of the Magna Charta, we have a single focus. We feel it is our responsibility to recognize the 800th Anniversary. I might also mention that one of our members, along with her sons, donated to field of Runnymede to the English people.

Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Visit to Philadelphia - January 2007

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Philadelphia the weekend of January 27, 2007. They were greeted at Independence Hall by the Mayor of Philadelphia and the Governor of Pennsylvania with an Honor Guard provided by the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry. After viewing the Liberty Bell they attended a reception at the Constitution Center which I was invited to attend as a representative of our Society. I was introduced to Prince Charles and explained our Society's interest in individual liberty and the rule of law. On Sunday morning they attended a church service at Arch Street Presbyterian Church and we were able to invite our members in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware as well as our Officers and Regents. Even though there was space for over 1,000 people only those who responded immediately were able to receive tickets. One of the readings was given in Welsh and the service was very moving.

Future Events

We are also planning for an educational program in Philadelphia this Fall. We will plan to send an Electronic Newsletter with details and a notification by regular mail to our local members.

Tour Program - 2007

Last June I attended two days of the Magna Carta/USA week at Lincoln Cathedral and video taped the lecture which is on our website. This year Lincoln Cathedral is planning a Magna Charta/USA Weekend on July 26, 27 and 28, 2007 with the Banquet on Thursday and the lecture on Friday. I encourage our members to attend and have been assured that we will be welcome. I used rail transportation from Manchester Airport to the center of Lincoln with a short cab ride to a B & B at the top of the hill. If our members are interested in attending please let us know and we will explore the availability of tickets for the events.

If there is interest in our organizing a tour. including Lincoln, please let us know.

The purpose of our educational tours is to visit locations of cultural and historical significance primarily relating to the Magna Charta. We are undertaking to reduce the cost while maintaining quality.

Participation in State Divisions and New Divisions

I am pleased that we will be furnishing up to date listing of members to most of the State Division Regents or local Regents. If you are a member and wish to participate at the State or local level, please let us know.

Several of our members have expressed interest in forming new Divisions. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to assisting with this effort.


On behalf of the Officers and Council of the Society, I bring greetings with this Newsletter. We continue to develop awareness of Magna Charta and its message. We ask each of you to participate with us in continuing the long tradition of friendship and fellowship which has continued over many years. We need to increase the number of members and friends on our email listing. Please ask your relatives or friends to send us their E-mail address. Please also send us the E-mail addresses of friends who are interested either in lineage societies or in memorializing Magna Charta. For the future, please propose new members for our Society. Please also attend your local meetings and include your children and grandchildren. We have a very special organization and I hope that you will help us to maintain its traditions.

Thank You

We continue to be pleased with the response from our members to update addresses and provide new addresses for those who have been lost. . Many members have appointed successors who were eligible to do so. Updated address lists will be sent to the State Divisions. I am, however, saddened to learn when our members are deceased. I and the Society are grateful for the time, dedicated effort and financial contributions that many of those members have given to our Society. As I update the deceased role with members who I have worked with and known during the past seventeen years, I am reminded that we need to express appreciation on an ongoing basis to all of those who are helping to make our Society a wonderful organization. Thank You!

Potential Members

If you are not a member of our Society and are eligible I hope that you will join. If you are not eligible but share our interest in history and genealogy we encourage you to remain on our Email list. We also welcome your participation in our ongoing genealogical research projects and our Tours. We welcome and encourage new members and remind those submitting lineage information to include copies of referenced material.

As mentioned in prior E-Newsletters, membership continues to be of vital importance to our Society. If you wish to speed up or facilitate the membership process, please include with the Proposal Form a well documented lineage (including copies of the documentation) to either a known ancestor or to one of the qualifying Barons. If you have sent lineage information without the copies you may also speed up the process by sending copies of the documentation. Lineage Forms are provided on the Website.


We rely on member contributions for our Society operations and we plan to build our endowment in connection with the 100th Anniversary of the founding our Society in 1909. We hope you will consider year end contributions, including contributions of appreciated securities. Our Society is a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Enhancement of our E-Mail list

Our email list is a separate list from the roster of the Society. Initially we used Outlook for the list and we did not indicate who was a member or which state they lived in. If you are a member of our Society, please send an email message to and write MEMBER in the Subject field followed by a space and then the abbreviation for your state.


We continue to significantly increase our e-mail list. To those of you who are new to our list we welcome you to receive our Electronic Newsletter and hope that you will find our Society and our mission to be interesting. Since a primary mission of our Society is to develop awareness of Magna Charta we wish to expand the circulation of our Electronic Newsletter by increasing our e-mail address list particularly including those who are members of lineage societies and/or who might share our interest in the principles of Constitutional Liberty. I would like to thank those who have shared their email lists since our last Electronic Newsletter.

We encourage you to check our Website regularly for new developments and information. The link to the Newsletter on the Website is: The link to the Website is:

Our E-mail list is made up of those who have sent us e-mail, of members and friends of the Society who have responded to our Newsletter request for E-mail addresses and others who we believe might be interested in our Society or mission. If you would prefer not to receive future Electronic Newsletters, however, please let us know. If you have friends who you believe might be interested in our Society, please forward this e-mail. If you have received this as a forwarded e-mail, please visit our Website at for more information about our Society. You may also contact our Society Office at 215-836-5022.

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions or suggestions. 

Lewis L. "Ted" Neilson, Jr.
National Society Magna Charta Dames and Barons
Telephone: 215-836-5022
Fax: 215-836-5056
Mailing Address: PO Box 4222, Phila., PA 19144
Office Hours: Monday - Wednesday - Friday 9:30am - 3:00 pm


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