The proposal for the inauguration of the Society came from Norwich Unitarians with support from Manchester College, Oxford. The following is an extract from the initial circular sent to prospective supporters (Sept. 1993):
Far from being wholly or primarily Unitarian or theological in composition or outlook, the Society should embrace other subjects in which the Martineau family were skilled: linguistics, medicine, art, engineering and industry; and Harriet’s and James’ connections in academic, political and economic circles; as well as their more prominent personal friends (and adversaries).The decision was taken in 1994 to formalise the terms of reference and constitute The Martineau Society. Membership of the Society has since spread to Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Taiwan and Japan. Annual Meetings include paper presentations and the AGM. The Society also organises Martineau Trails to sites and memorabilia associated with the Martineaus. There is a twice yearly Newsletter which includes résumés of the papers and other relevant material. A variety of books and articles relating to the Martineau heritage have been published by members, a list of which is available by clicking member publications. Information may be obtained from the Secretary, Dr Sharon Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org or from the Martineau Society Leaflet.