Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Norfolk Forum Papers, 1930-2008, undated | Special Collections and University Archives

By Mel Frizzell

Collection Overview

Title: Norfolk Forum Papers, 1930-2008, undated

ID: 00/MG 77

Primary Creator: Norfolk Forum (Norfolk, Va.) (1932-)

Extent: 14.2 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

Series I: Business. This series is broken into twelve sub-series related to the business of the Norfolk Forum. These are: A. Agendas and Minutes; B. Budget and Finances; C. Bylaws and Incorporation; D. Committees; E. Correspondence and Mailing Lists; F. Forms and Stationary; G. Insurance; H. Membership; I. Officers and Directors; J. Policies and Procedures; K. Subscriptions and Ticket Sales; and L. Miscellaneous Business.

Sub-series A: Agendas and Minutes. This sub-series contains the agendas and minutes from Norfolk Forum Board meetings, as well as meeting announcements. Material dates from 1981 to the present time. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Sub-series B: Budget and Finances. This sub-series contains treasurer's reports from as far back as 1945 up until the present time. Also included are tax returns and various receipts and invoices. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series C: Bylaws and Incorporation. This sub-series contains the Bylaws, Certificate of Incorporation, and related materials of the Norfolk Forum. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Sub-series D: Committees. This sub-series contains committee agendas, minutes, committee membership lists, correspondence, and other related materials from 1970 onward. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series E: Correspondence and Mailing Lists. This sub-series contains general and specific correspondence dating as far back as 1943. It should be noted that various correspondence exists throughout the entire Norfolk Forum collection, not just this sub-series. Much of the correspondence in the Norfolk Forum papers is filed more appropriately under specific topics within other series and sub-series. This sub-series also includes mailing lists and labels, change of address notices, "while you were out" messages, and information on a computer database for the Norfolk Forum's membership and mailing lists. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series F: Forms and Stationary. This sub-series contains various forms and stationary including parking passes, speaker contract forms, letterheads, and envelopes. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Sub-series G: Insurance. This sub-series contains insurance policy information for the Norfolk Forum, as well as material related to specific insurance related incidents. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series H: Membership. This sub-series contains membership lists, member resolutions and appreciations, and other related materials. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series I: Officers and Directors. This sub-series contains listings of Norfolk Forum officers, directors, and board members from the 1930s to the present time. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Sub-series J: Policies and Procedures. This sub-series contains various policies and procedures for the Norfolk Forum. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Sub-series K: Subscriptions and Ticket Sales. This sub-series contains correspondence and advertisements to subscribers, season ticket purchases from subscribers, copies of Forum tickets and ticket proofs, subscriber surveys, and correspondence related to ticket refunds. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series L: Miscellaneous Business. This sub-series contains miscellaneous material related to Norfolk Forum business that did not fit easily under other sub-series. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series II: Events. This series is broken into five sub-series related to Norfolk Forum Events. These are: A. Business; B. Calendars; C. Invitations; D. Programs; and E. Receptions.

Sub-series A: Business. This sub-series contains business items and correspondence specifically related to Norfolk Forum events. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Sub-series B: Calendars. This sub-series contains various calendars of interest to the Norfolk Forum. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year. For Norfolk Forum speaker calendars and season programs, see sub-series D: Programs.

Sub-series C: Invitations. This sub-series contains invitations to Norfolk Forum events and the schedules/programs for these events. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Sub-series D: Programs. This sub-series contains season programs, as well as program drafts, for the Norfolk Forum from the 1950s to the present time. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series E: Receptions. This sub-series contains correspondence, invoices, schedules, and other information related to Norfolk Forum receptions, including the reception in honor of the Norfolk Forum's 50th Anniversary. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Series III: History. This series contains material related to the Norfolk Forum's history. Included are biographies of various members, information and correspondence related to early members in the Norfolk Forum's history, a Norfolk Forum history project and oral histories conducted in the late 1990s, and the drafts and final copies of The Best Ticket in Town: A History of the Norfolk Form. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series IV: Publicity. This series is broken into three sub-series relating to advertising and media coverage of the Norfolk Forum and its events. These are: A. Brochures; B. Media Announcements; and C. News Clippings.

Sub-series A: Brochures. This sub-series contains copies of Norfolk Forum brochures, brochure drafts, and information on costs needed to produce these brochures. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series B: Media Announcements. This sub-series contains press releases and announcements, public service announcements, media contact lists, and various correspondence related to advertising and public relations for the Norfolk Forum. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year.

Sub-series C: News clippings. This sub-series contains news clippings, editorials, and announcements in the newspaper related to the Norfolk Forum and its events and speakers from the 1930s to the present time. Also included in this sub-series is an index of articles related to the Norfolk Forum from 1947 to 1997. Materials are arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically by year. Newspaper clippings related specifically to Norfolk Forum Speakers are located with the appropriate speaker in Series V. Speakers, Sub-series A. Forum Speakers.

Series V: Speakers. This series is broken into three sub-series related to actual and prospective Norfolk Forum Speakers. These are: A. Forum Speakers; B. Prospective Speakers; and C. Speaker Agencies.

Sub-series A: Forum Speakers. This sub-series contains information on Norfolk Forum Speakers including biographical and background material; business, speaker contracts, and correspondence; newspaper clippings, and speeches introducing the speakers. The majority of the speakers represented are from the 1980s to the present time, with a few speakers from the 1970s. Materials are arranged alphabetically by speaker's last name. For information on earlier speakers, see Series IV. Publicity, Sub-series C. News Clippings.

Sub-series B: Prospective Speakers. This sub-series contains information and correspondence related to prospective speakers that did not actually speak before the Norfolk Forum, speaker recommendations, and rejection letters from prospective speakers. Materials are arranged alphabetically by speaker's last name and subject heading.

Sub-series C: Speaker Agencies. This sub-series contains information related to various speaker agencies including promotional material for the agencies and their speakers, and correspondence between the Norfolk Forum and these agencies. Materials are arranged alphabetically by agency name.

Series VI: Other Organizations. This series contains three sub-series including information on other organizations and corporations. These are: A. Affiliated Organizations; B. Other Forums, and C. Services and Leasing Agencies.

Sub-series A: Affiliated Organizations. This sub-series contains information about organizations associated with the Norfolk Forum, such as the Bruce Shafer World Peace Trust and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. Materials are arranged alphabetically by organization name.

Sub-series B: Other Forums. This sub-series contains information about other forums and lecture series similar to the Norfolk Forum. Materials are arranged alphabetically by organization name.

Sub-series C: Services and Leasing Agencies. This sub-series contains information related to various businesses and agencies that the Norfolk Forum has done business with, specifically the leasing of space for events and receptions, and making arrangements for speaker transportation and accommodations. Materials are arranged alphabetically by organization name.

Series VII: Multimedia. This series contains audiotapes and videotapes of Norfolk Forum Oral Histories and selected speaker appearances. This series is divided into two sub-series: A. Audiocassettes and B. Videocassettes. Items are then arranged chronologically by the date of the interview or event.

Sub-series A: Audiocassettes. This sub-series contains mini-audiocassettes of the Norfolk Forum Oral History Project. This was conducted in 1997 by the Norfolk Forum with the assistance of Mr. Paul Chandler Moulton, a local historian and teaching assistant at ODU, as part of the Norfolk Forum's History Project.

Sub-series B: Videocassettes. This sub-series contains VHS tapes of various speakers.

Series VIII: Photographs. This series contains photographs of various Norfolk Forum speakers and events. Photos are arranged chronologically by the date of the event.

Date Acquired: 10/09/2000. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Lectures and lecturing--Virginia--Norfolk--History--20th century, Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century, Norfolk (Va.) Intellectual life--20th century, Norfolk Forum (Norfolk, Va.), United States--Intellectual life--20th century, United States--Politics and government--20th century

Languages: English

Abstract

Established in 1932, the Norfolk Forum is believed to be the oldest nonprofit, public lecture series in the U.S. The collection includes Forum business, history, events and event programs, speaker bios, promotional materials, photographs, oral histories, and video tapes of some of the speakers.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Papers of the Norfolk Forum date from the early 1930's to the present time. Accessions to the collection are received on a regular basis from the Norfolk Forum Historian. The collection contains information about the business of the group, its history, and the numerous speakers sponsored by the Forum. Included are information on the Forum's membership, board of directors, correspondence, committees, policies, calendars and season programs, tickets, brochures, news clippings, and speaker biographies. Also included are audiotapes and videotapes of Forum oral history interviews and select speakers, and numerous photos of various speakers and receptions.

Collection Historical Note

The Norfolk Forum is believed to be the oldest nonprofit, public lecture series in the U.S. Established in 1932 during the Great Depression by Dr. Vincent H. Ober and a handful of other Norfolk citizens, the Norfolk Forum held its first series of lectures during the 1933-34 season. Originally, the Forum was named the "Norfolk Portsmouth Forum of Public Affairs," but it changed its name to the "Norfolk Forum" during its first season. This name and a stellar reputation have stuck with the Norfolk Forum for over 70 years. The Forum incorporated on June 2, 1941.

The Norfolk Forum's first membership drive began the summer before the 1933-34 season, consisting of a booth in the lobby of the Smith and Welton department store as well as requests taken by J.E. Capps, the Forum's president at the time. Approximately, 1,150 persons joined the Norfolk Forum during its first year, exceeding an initial goal of 1,100 people. The cost of a ticket for the first season was only $1. To this day, seasons typically begin in the fall and end in the spring, and usually consist of three to four speakers. The Norfolk Forum only sells season memberships, not tickets to individual speakers.

The Norfolk Forum originally hosted speakers at the 1000 seat auditorium at Blair Junior High School. During the 1936-37 season, two out of the scheduled five speakers were hosted at the City Auditorium, which could seat double this number. The Norfolk Forum used the City Auditorium all of the 1937-38 season, and then returned to Blair Auditorium for the 1938-39 season. They continued using this space until the 1943-44 season. At that time they moved to the new 1,300 seat USO Auditorium, but the Norfolk Forum and the USO could not come to a mutual agreement of terms so the Forum moved back to Blair at the end of that season. Lectures continued at Blair Auditorium until the Fall of 1947. After that time, the Forum moved to the larger Center Theater. In 1972 the Norfolk Forum moved to the 2,481 seat Chrysler Hall and has sponsored speakers in this venue ever since.

The Forum's speakers have included presidents, prime ministers, princes and queens, diplomats, politicians, comedians, writers, journalists, playwrights, poets, correspondents, Pulitzer Prize winners, spies, scientists, adventurers, comedians, musicians, actors and actresses, judges, and many professions too varied to list. Traditionally, male speakers are expected to appear in black tie, as their lecture, often accompanied by a reception, is considered a formal affair.

A board of directors made up of local citizens governs the Norfolk Forum. The Forum is supported entirely by income from ticket sales and a grant from the Bruce Shafer World Peace Fund, which supports one speaker yearly on the topic of world peace.

Subject/Index Terms

Lectures and lecturing--Virginia--Norfolk--History--20th century
Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century
Norfolk (Va.) Intellectual life--20th century
Norfolk Forum (Norfolk, Va.)
United States--Intellectual life--20th century
United States--Politics and government--20th century

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Accruals: Additional accessions made in September 2004 and June 2010.

Alternate Extent Statement: 17 Hollinger document cases, 11 photograph boxes, 1 VHS tape box, and 1 mini-audiocassette box

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Norfolk Forum

Acquisition Method: Loan. Accession #A2000-9

Related Materials: For more information please see http://www.thenorfolkforum.org/.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Norfolk Forum Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Business],
[Series II: Events],
[Series III: History],
[Series IV: Publicity],
[Series V: Speakers],
[Series VI: Other Organizations],
[Series VII: Multimedia],
[Series VIII: Photographs],
[All]

Series VII: Multimedia
Sub-Series A: Audiocassettes
Box 18
Folder 1: Index Cards containing questions (45 quanity)
Folder 2: Dr. Wilcox Ruffin, June 6, 1997
Folder 3: Carter Scott, July 26, 1997
Folder 4: E.L. Ryan, Sr., July 30, 1997
Folder 5: John Ryan (2 quanity), August 1, 1997
Folder 6: Allen Donn, August 12, 1997
Folder 7: Glenn Scott, undated
Folder 8: Not labeled (5 quanity)
Sub-Series B: Videocassettes
Box 19
Folder 1: Beta Videotape: James Lovell (1 of 3), December 12, 2000
Folder 2: Beta Videotape: James Lovell (2 of 3), December 12, 2000
Folder 3: Beta Videotape: James Lovell (3 of 3), December 12, 2000
Folder 4: DVCam Videotape: Captain Jim Lovell, December 12, 2000
Folder 5: Betacam SP Videotape: Ken Starr, January 9, 2001
Folder 6: VHS Videotape: Ken Starr, January 9, 2001
Folder 7: DVCam Videotape: Ken Starr, January 9, 2001

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Business],
[Series II: Events],
[Series III: History],
[Series IV: Publicity],
[Series V: Speakers],
[Series VI: Other Organizations],
[Series VII: Multimedia],
[Series VIII: Photographs],
[All]

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