Please join us this year in commemorating fifty years of the Editorial Freelancers Association. While it hadn’t come into being as an official organization in 1970, its genesis dates back to September of that year, when a group of editors who had gone on strike from Grove Press began to meet regularly in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. And it became a more official and more inclusive group by the mid-1970s, and by 1976, it had one hundred members.
Even in those early days, the EFA was focused on providing benefits and networking opportunities for members, and it offered rudimentary versions of our Member Directory, Job List, regular meetings, and a monthly newsletter.
The organization has grown significantly since those days—going from a small group of editors focused in New York City to a nationwide organization of some 2,700+ members, including some international members. But interestingly, the association is still dedicated to providing benefits and helping members to make connections—with other freelancers, with potential clients, and with a variety of helpful resources.
And while these goals have played a large part in the association’s longevity and growth, and are certainly worth commemorating, none of that would have been possible without the contributions of our dedicated members throughout the years.
The EFA Winter Holiday Party, which we held in our new office location on Eighth Avenue and 37th Street on January 15, might be seen as the kick-off of our year-long celebration of our past. It was planned and prepared by the EFA office staff—Susannah Driver-Barstow, Christina Shideler, and Vina Orden. Attendees included long-term members like Eliot Linzer, Sheila Buff, J.P. Partland, and Laurie Lewis, and more recent board members including Amy Fass, Karen Wallace, Ruth Mullen, Marcina Zaccaria, Christina Frey, and myself. But it also provided us with an opportunity to meet and connect with new EFA members who were able to stop by and participate in the conversations going on both to learn more about the EFA and to learn how they can contribute to the association going forward.
The experience was a positive one, I think, for everyone—and should help to remind us that what we are commemorating is not just EFA’s longevity, but also the commitment and dedication of its members, past and present. It is the members—in particular those who offer up their time and effort to write and edit the newsletters, prepare the Directory, provide educational opportunities, oversee the Job List, manage our website, and manage things like events, publications, regional chapters, membership, diversity, social media, and others.
Current members are also looking into other ways in which we can commemorate those fifty years and the contributions of our members throughout the year. In fact, Sheila Buff spent some time before the Holiday Party interviewing a few long-term members about their memories and experiences connected to the EFA that she will compile for an article in The Freelancer and elsewhere. We are also looking into doing a commemorative party around September of this year and an online video celebration that would include the recorded comments of some of our longer-term members as well. So please let us know if you have any memories to offer—or if you would be willing to help in creating some of these commemorative events. You can send in your memories or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all of our members—past and present—for EFA’s continued success.
William Keenan Jr.
EFA Board of Governors
Photo by William Keenan Jr.