Since its founding, the Society has made many significant contributions to the field of fifteenth-century English studies.
In the United States, the American Branch has encouraged the use of the case of Richard III at the secondary-school level. Richard III’s guilt or innocence has the capacity to generate and sustain interest and provides a springboard for the discussion of such issues as the validity or bias of evidence, the effects of rumor and propaganda and important lessons on the way truth can be shaped to fit the writer’s agenda — issues that can be explored through the historical record and through literature, drama and film. At the university level, the American Branch offers three academic programs which provide scholarship assistance, publication outlets and a forum for presentations.
The William B. and Maryloo Spooner Schallek
Memorial Graduate Fellowship Awards
The Schallek Awards program memorializes Dr. William B. Schallek, whose vision and generosity established the original scholarship fund, and his wife, Maryloo Spooner Schallek. Today the program is supported by a $1.4 million endowment and is administered by the Medieval Academy of America. Beginning in 2004, the program offers five annual dissertation awards of $2,000 each and a dissertation fellowship of $30,000 annually. For additional details, consult the Medieval Academy website.
The parent society has provided funding for the publication of important fifteenth-century source documents, including BL Harleian MSS 433 the surviving signet register of teh reigns of Edward V and Richard III; York House Books 1461-1490 the city council records for the period roughly paralleling the Wars of the Roses; Crowland Chronicle Continuations and the Howard Household Books.
The Society has also sponsored scholarly conferences and symposia on fifteenth-century topics and funds two scholarships: one at the University of York and one at the University of London’s Institute for Historical Research.
McGee Fund – An Endowed Fund to Provide Honoraria for Our Annual General Meeting Speakers
As Ricardians, we would be hard-pressed to thank long-time member Morris McGee enough for his many activities on behalf of the Society.
He was one of the driving forces, and for many years the chairman and principal fund-raiser, of our graduate scholarship program, the William B. Schallek Memorial Graduate Fellowship Awards.
At a time when the American Branch needed strong and skillful leadership, he accepted the position of Chairman and guided us through a difficult transition to a new period of stability. He continued to chair the Schallek Committee until 1989. When the program faltered in 1991, he stepped out of retirement to rejoin its selection committee, served as a leadership donor and general cheerleader in the endowment campaign of 1992-93, and has continued to support the program with his time, his talent, and his checkbook ever since. Although he has retired from the selection committee, we still value his counsel and his long memory for names and details.
Now we’d like to honor this man who has shown Ricardian loyalty of the best kind for more than two decades. The American Branch Board has voted to name the keynote speech at the AGM in his honor and to earmark $2,500 from the general fund toward the endowment of a fund to pay honoraria to the speakers each year. In this way, we can recognize our good friend (who is a bit of a ham — just ask his students) at the same time we make it possible to attract and award high-quality speakers for our Annual General Meeting.These funds are contingent upon the members matching this sum with our own contributions.
The Judy R. Weinsoft Memorial Research Library Fund
Established in 1993, The Judy R. Weinsoft Memorial Research Library Fund will be used every year to buy books and other materials for the nonfiction library, helping the Branch to keep pace with the explosion in fifteenth- century studies and to give members access to the kinds of materials on Yorkist-era England found only in major library centers. Read a fuller description and history of the fund here.
Established to fund projects such as medieval manuscript conservation. This fund contributed to the conservation of the Edward IV Roll