By John M. Hunt, Jr.
On a wintry January 17, 2004, in the warm and cozy confines of the St. David's Golf Club in Wayne, our Society honored Alice Teal during its Annual Luncheon. The testimonial, read by Anne G. Hain, representing Governor Mimi Barclay Johnson, went as follows: Alice C. Teal, we thank you for educating and fascinating us in The Mayflower Quarterly these last ten years; for commemorating the Pilgrims in their setting, whether in Scrooby, Leiden, or New Plymouth; for highlighting their genealogies and following the fortunes of their descendants. With magnificent photography you have brought people and places before us. You have supplied us with the information we need to be committed and enlightened members, on the national level and the state. Had it not been for you the sermon of our Pennsylvania Elder, the Rev. Judith A. Meier, "Where Bees Make No Honey," the article of our former Captain, David J. Cade, "The Search for a Royal Descent," and our Website under Joseph Howland Wood would not have reached a readership of 25,000. Now, as the General Society of Mayflower Descendants enters the twenty-first century, the Pilgrims are as strong and vital a force as ever, thanks in large part to you. One year from now, when The Mayflower Quarterly celebrates its seventieth anniversary, it will bear your indelible stamp.
We of the Pennsylvania Society, your friends and neighbors across the Delaware, appreciate the inspiration you provide when you attend our functions. It is with the greatest pleasure that today we present to you, for outstanding achievement in Mayflower education, our Katharine F. Little Award for Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship. Congratulations!
Alice Teal then took the floor to share some "Reflections from the Editor's Corner," her name for the place in which she produces her masterpiece, The Mayflower Quarterly. She spoke first of the history of her cherished craft, passing from manuscripts to the Gutenberg Bible, form wooden blocks to metal type. Her father, a pressman, was her constant inspiration. He would be so proud, she reflected, if he could see that, because of offset printing, she has her own computer and works in her home. He would also marvel at the advances of the Computer Age, which she has welcomed, using digital photography, for example, to process pictures of events in state societies only hours after they occur.
As suits a great educator and communicator, Alice Teal immersed herself in her subject. She traveled the Pilgrim Trail. She walked by the Harwick home of Christopher Jones, master of the Mayflower, enjoyed tea and biscuits at the home of William Mullins, rang the "Howland Bell" in Fenstanton, inspected the baptismal entry of Elizabeth Tilley in Henlow, and visited the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum of Dr. Jeremy D. Bangs.
"Many hours are spent in the Editor's Corner," she concluded. "We try to publish a magazine with a pleasing balance of historical information, reports of the General Society, news of our State Societies and Colonies, as well as pictures of officers, members and historic sites. It is ideal when the cover photos, together with one or more articles, can feature a theme—and it is really amazing how many times a theme will just come together as an issue is prepared."
How many pages has Alice Teal published since becoming Editor? When she put this question to the floor, for fun, offering a prize for the closet guess, Dr. Robert Heinsohn called out 4,000—four pages over! He therefore received a Panoramic Puzzle of Plimoth Plantation.
Governor General Robert E. Davis, a dual Pennsylvania/Delaware member, and Harry F. Folger, former New Jersey Society Governor, now Chairman of the Editorial Board and Assistant Editor of MQ, witnessed the bestowing of the award. The Pennsylvania Society's Award for Distinguished Mayflower Scholarship carries with it a check for $500. Alice Teal is the sixth recipient, following Caroline Lewis Kardell in 1999, Robert Charles Anderson in 2000, Dr. Jeremy D. Bangs in 2001, James H. Baker in 2002, and the Rev. Gary L. Marks in 2003.