What is the Society's Actual Inception Year?

In the last days of September 2015, I visited La Closerie du Rond-Chêne and its oak collection, in southern Belgium, with past IOS President, Eike Jablonski. It was just a couple of weeks before the 8th International Oak Society Conference at The Morton Arboretum. So we were talking about the Conference when the conversation deviated to when the Society was really founded. Twenty-one years earlier, the IOS had held its first Conference, also at The Morton.

That year, members held their first general member meeting (we still have the attendance roster of that meeting). They confirmed that the name of the society would be "International Oak Society" and agreed that it would be incorporated in the USA under a non-profit status; they elected their first interim board. The minutes of that meeting can be found here. The Society was eventually incorporated in March 1996 (see its certificate of incorporation).

Piers Trehane and Eike Jablonski wearing the 1st Conference T-shirt (Luxemburg, Aug. 2008)

Courtesy: Eike Jablonski

 

1994 or 1996 could then be considered the year the Society was born. But the Society had been active for some years before all that. And on our website, we have always mentioned 1992 as the year of our foundation. For Eike, it was clear: 1992 is to be considered the year of the foundation of the IOS. It was the first year the Society collected member dues (a one-year membership was $12 then and Eike became a member in September of that year). It was also in 1992 that the first issue of our Journal was published. It was then called The Journal of the International Oak Society. 1992 was really the year an informal group of oak enthusiasts organized themselves as a more structured group.

Eike's view is shared by most long-time members I talked to. 1992 is the year of the foundation of the IOS… and 2017 will see its 25th anniversary.

2017 will therefore be a special year for the Society. More to come on this subject in our different publications.