BYU’s elusive Quill and the Sword Club has n extensive history filled with myths, legends and rumors. The traditions of the club are a mystery even to members, adding to the allure that can only come with Renaissance costumes and sword fighting.
BYU graduate and former Quill and the Sword club president Tabitha Mounteer has written an online book covering the first 10 years of the club’s history. The Quill and the Sword is a Medieval reenactment club that strives to educate people about life between 600 and 1600 A.D. The book, “The Quill and the Sword: A Ten Year History from 1997-2007,” includes information about the club as well as memories of former members and pictures chronicled throughout the years.
Mounteer presented a copy of this book to the current Quill and the Sword Club at the annual Corpus Christi feast this past weekend on campus. The festival is a long-running tradition of the club and is an event that has roots dating back to the 14th century. Corpus Christi is an Easter celebration with music, sword fighting, food and a religious medieval play done by the group.
The book has been a long time coming, taking Mounteer four years to write and another year to edit and compile. Mounteer, who was in the club from 2001-2005, believes the book will be a good asset to the Harold B. Lee Library for those who want to learn more about the organization.
“It was one of the best parts of my college experience,” Mounteer said. “I wanted to do it for me and my family to remember but also so other people could have the fond memories to last on to inspire the new club members.”
Zina Petersen has been the Quill and the Sword club adviser since 1997, and has worked closely with Mounteer through her time at BYU. As an associate professor of early British literature and language, Petersen has an interest in King Arthur and other Middle Ages studies, but the club is not restricted to solely European studies. The club has also done research on near and far Eastern traditions, including Jewish and Arab cultures as well as Chinese and Japanese medieval research.
“There are people that have the Hollywood idea of what the Middle Ages are all about, but their ideas about history will be shaped by the club,” Petersen said. “They straighten out misconceptions.”
This year’s group of The Quill and the Sword has 12 members. The group meets once a week to share and discuss medeival topics, plan upcoming events and make new costumes.
Leigh Averett, from Chandler, Ariz., studying psychology, is the current club president. Averett first came across the club her freshman year after being involved with Renaissance Fairs in her hometown. As president, she makes it her duty to look out for club members, along with setting up events and doing the club paperwork.
“It’s like a big family,” Averett said. “If something happens to one of us, then all of us are going to take care of each other. As president I try to do my best to find out who’s in trouble and try to do something to help them.”
“The Quill and the Sword: A Ten Year History from 1997-2007,” can be found at bookemon.com.