WIS - Wedgwood International Seminar

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WIS - Wedgwood International Seminar

Barbara Wedgwood


By JOE SIMNACHER This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Staff Writer

Published: 23 July 2015 10:05 PM

Updated: 25 July 2015 02:36 PM
Barbara Lee Boyd Wedgwood was an author and playwright whose works ranged from a true-crime book about minister Walker Railey to a play about poet Robert Browning.

Wedgwood, 85, died Monday of pneumonia at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.

A celebration of her life will be at noon Monday at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home.

Wedgwood was born in Dallas and grew up in Highland Park. She earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree from the University of Texas.

She was a wedding gift buyer for Neiman Marcus when she met her husband-to-be, Hensleigh Wedgwood, president of the North American division of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd. He was a direct descendant of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the china business.

The couple married in 1958 and lived in New York, where she was a freelance writer when she happened into a book-writing assignment. It happened at a dinner party, said Suzanne Frank, director of Southern Methodist University's The Writer's Path program.

"She ended up sitting next to Amy Vanderbilt," Frank said. The etiquette authority complimented the former Dallas debutante's manners.

"Amy Vanderbilt said, 'I'm looking for someone to ghostwrite my book; would you do it?'" Frank said. As a result, Wedgwood wrote Vanderbilt's 1965 book, How to Be a More Interesting Woman.

In 1970, the Wedgwoods moved to London, where she earned a doctorate in Victorian literature from the University of London. While going through a Wedgwood family scrapbook, she discovered her husband's great aunt, novelist-philosopher Julia Wedgwood, had had a relationship with Browning.

"I was stunned and didn't realize how intimate they were with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, George Eliot," Wedgwood said in 1986. "The first letter that fell onto my lap was from Thomas Carlyle telling Julia's mother that he was sorry he couldn't come to tea on such-and-such date."

In 1980, Wedgwood's play Browning's Other Romance was staged in London. She adapted the play for the BBC.

In 1984, the couple moved to Dallas, where she became a leader of SMU's noncredit creative writing program.

Wedgwood changed the lives of thousands of aspiring writers through the program now known as The Writer's Path, said Frank, a former student.

"She believed in me," Frank said.

Wedgwood established a biennial New York book seminar for the young Dallas writers.

"She had an editor's eye for social situations and could see how to fill the gap, how to draw somebody out," Frank said. "She had that kind of graciousness to her."

In 1993, Wedgwood published Demon Inside: The Walker Railey Story, the first book about the 1987 choking of the minister's wife, Peggy Railey, that left her in a vegetative state. The former Methodist minister was acquitted of the crime.

Wedgwood retired from the SMU program in 2003.

"She was funny; she had a wonderful sense of humor," said Colleen Flowers, Wedgwood's friend since childhood. "She was really, really smart. She cared a lot about a lot of people. She had a lot of friends."

WIS 2016

WIS 2016 location has been announced - we are going to England!
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 May 2015 03:25 )

WIS 2015


WIS 2015 - the 60th!! -  Birmingham, AL - April 22 - 25, 2015



Birmingham Museum of Art

April 22-25, 2015

WIS Official Brouchure

Press Release

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:11 )

Hacking Update


Well it has been interesting!

I have a majority of the WIS website up and running again, so I have opened it back up to the public.

There still is work to be done, and some areas (Photos) are not accessible at this time.

Sorry for the inconvenience!



Latest News


Latest News on the fate of the Wedgwood Museum

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 January 2012 05:31 )

WIS Officers



Mickey D. Hightower, TX

First Vice President

Cyndi Andrews, CA

Second Vice President

Dr. Ellis Rubin, PA


Michael T. Smith, CA

Recording Secretary

Dr. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, AL

Board of Governors

Adele I. Barnett, VA

Gaye Blake Roberts, UK

Alan Erickson, MO

Jeffrey Hoffman, MA 

Lorraine C. Horn*, MA

Edward L. Knowles, MD

Paul H. Lauer, CT

Sandra Olubas, OH 

Dr. Nancy Ramage, NY

Robert J. Reichner, IL

Stuart Slavid, MA 

Director of Seminars

Mickey D. Hightower, TX

Proceedings Editor & Archivist

Dr. Anne Forschler-Tarrasch, AL

Public Relations Chairman

Adele I. Barnett, VA


Alan Erickson, MO

Curatorial Consultant

Gaye Blake Roberts, UK

Honorary Board

Daisy Wade Bridges*, NC

Earl L. Buckman*, TX 

Frank Coleman, NC

Dr. Alvin Kanter, IL

Dorothy Lee Jones, MA

Muriel D. Polikoff*, PA

* Past President

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 December 2014 03:19 )

New WIS Index


Many, many thanks to Alton Powell for grant the WIS permission to place his index of WIS papers in the 'Members Only" section of the Discussion Area.

 Also many thanks to Paul Thomas for transcribing Alton's index into Excel and bringing it up to date!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 April 2014 03:39 )

About WIS


    Although  the Wedgwood International Seminar was established in 1956, in fact, there were rumblings about an organization  in 1955 when Harry and Nettie  Buten met with Hensleigh Wedgwood, then head of Wedgwood USA, and began to conjure up the outlines of  what has been called for over fifty years the WIS. 

      The first Seminar was held in Philadelphia April 13-14, 1956. Since that year the Seminars have been held in many cities in the United States as well as in Canada and Britain.  At the Seminars illustrated lectures are featured as well as exhibitions, visits to collections, visits to antique fairs, auctions, and member’s demonstrations of their ‘finds.’ The Proceedings of the Seminars are subsequently published and some of the back-issues are still available.  Most of all the annual Seminars give members the opportunity to hear the latest research, the latest news, and keep abreast of events 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 November 2009 16:29 )



You are welcome to join the WIS by sending a membership fee in US funds. 

(couple $50, single $35, students $20 -- add $10 outside US) to: 

Mr. Michael Smith, TreasurerWIS,  31 Lincoln Place, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270-1970, US

Make money orders or cheques out to WIS 

Click here for a hard copy membership form. 

You can register online by clicking HERE. 

Official PayPal Seal
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 December 2014 03:21 )

Links / Addresses


Listed below are the addresses of Wedgwood Collectors organizations and groups:

Wedgwood International Seminar,
c/o  Mr. Michael Smith, Treasurer – WIS
PO Box 674
Ontario, CA 91762-8674, USA
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Wedgwood Society of Australia, 
 The Secretary,
 Ms Anne Stephenson
 The Wedgwood Society of Australia Inc.
 PO Box 425,

The Wedgwood Society of Boston
Lorraine C. Horn, President
132 Middle St. Braintree, MA   02184-4841 
Webpage: www.Wedgwoodsociety.org 

Wedgwood Society of Washington, D.C.
Adele I. Barnett, President
3505 Stringfellow Court,
Fairfax, VA, 22033
Ph (703) 437 7997
Webpage: www.WedgwoodCapital.org

The Wedgwood Society of New South Wales, Australia                                                                                                     
PO Box 385
EASTWOOD NSW 2122, Australia
Webpage: www.wedgwoodsociety.org.au

The Wedgwood Society of Queensland, Australia   
PO Box 97
Annerley, 4103, Australia
Contact:Beverley Smith, Susan Tobin
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wedgwood Society of Southern California,
P O Box 4334
Palm Springs, Ca. 92263, USA
 Webpage:  http://www.wedgwoodsocalif.org/

There are also organizations in Detroit, Philadelphia, Australia, and England.   

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 March 2013 04:14 )