A Short History of the Clan Campbell Society in North America
On 1 August 1929 "The Clan Campbell Association of America" received its first member and was formally organized on 15 December 1929. The national president was Mrs. Mary Latham Norton of San Francisco, CA. The annual membership subscription in the Association was $1.00 per year, later raised to $2.00. The official publication of the Association was The Highlander. As far as can be determined, only two issues were published -- Issue No. 1, December 1930, and Issue No. 2, February 1937. Mrs. Norton also served as the national chair of the fund-raising effort for the "Campbell Memorial Belfry Tower" that was being built in Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland, by Niall Campbell, 10th Duke of Argyll and Chief of Clan Campbell. She was appointed to that post by the Duke of Argyll in 1927. Following the completion of the Belfry in the late 1930's, the Association became dormant and for the next thirty-five years or so there was no active national Clan Campbell organization in the United States. In it hey-day, the Association had about 200 members.
The Clan Campbell Society as we know it today was conceived in July 1972 at Grandfather Mountain Highland Games by J. Boylston Campbell (Malvern, PA), the late Judge Hugh Brown Campbell (Charlotte, NC) and Dr. B. Blackburn Campbell, Ph.D. (Athens, GA). These men became the founding officers (President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer) of "The Clan Campbell Society (USA)" the following July at the Grandfather Mountain Games.
In January 1974, the "Clan Campbell Society of the United States" was created in New York City at the request of our current Clan Chief, Mac Cailein Mor, Ian Campbell, 12th Duke of Argyll, and headed by the Chief's sister, Lady Jean Campbell, who then resided in New York City. Lady Jean was appointed by her brother to serve as the Society's High Commissioner, i.e., personal representative of the Clan Chief. The two organizations discovered each other and decided to join together as one: "The Clan Campbell Society, United States of America". This merger was completed at the Stone Mountain Highland Games, GA, in October 1974. The Society at that time was an unincorporated organization.
In May 1977, the Society was incorporated in Colorado as "The Clan Campbell Society (United States of America)" with Lady Jean Campbell remaining as the High Commissioner. The initial elected officers were: Judge Hugh Brown Campbell, President; Donald Draper Campbell (Arlington, VA), Secretary; John Edward Vickers-Smith (Fairfax, VA), Treasurer; and Trustees, James Harry Campbell (Virginia Beach, VA), Philip Douglas Thompson (Fairfax, VA) and Hugh Purfield Moore (West Covena, CA). To better serve the Society's membership, the United States was divided into nine (later ten) regions with each region to be headed by a Regional Commissioner. In 1983 Hugh Purfield Moore was appointed Deputy High Commissioner of the Society by Mac Cailein Mor. In 1988 Mac Cailein Mor appointed Hugh Moore as High Commissioner of the Society, a position he held until his death in 1991. In its infancy the Society membership consisted principally of Campbells who resided in the United States of America.
For years, there have existed `local' Clan Campbell societies in Canada (Toronto, Nova Scotia, PEI to name a few); however, these `local' organizations had limited contact with each other. In hopes that a national Canadian organization would come to pass, Mac Cailein Mor appointed General Colin Alexander Campbell, P.Eng, D.S.O., O.B.E., Legion of Merit (USA), as High Commissioner for Canada in 1972, however, General Campbell died in 1978 before a national Canadian society could come to fruition.
As time went on, the Canadian Campbells discovered the Society in the United States and quite a number joined the United States Society. As a recognition of the growing number of Canadian members in the Society, a new region was created to serve Canadian members. In 1991 several Canadian Society members petitioned to have the Society's name changed to "The Clan Campbell Society (North America)" to recognize the fact that the Society was serving the needs of Campbells residing in both the United States of America and Canada. The by-laws and articles of incorporation were amended to effect the name change in September 1992. As of February 1994 the Society had grown to over 2,600 members.
In July 1974 the first issue of The Clan Campbell Society Newsletter under the stewardship of B. Blackburn Thompson, PhD was published. In 1975 Charles Edward Campbell took over as newsletter editor. In 1977, the editorship was passed to the late James Lyle Campbell (Virginia Beach, VA). In 1978, the newsletter was renamed The Journal of The Clan Campbell Society (United States of America). Lyle Campbell remained Journal editor until 1986 when ill health required him to give up the post. Diarmid Alexander Campbell, Esq., served as Journal editor until 1999 and is now recongized as Editor Emeritus. In 1992 Journal was renamed the Journal of the Clan Campbell Society (North America) to reflect the scope of the expanded organization.