In New York and England, Samuel Rowbotham created the Zetetic Society. Following his death, Lady Elizabeth Blount founded the Universal Zetetic Society. These societies were based on interpretations of the Bedford Level Experiment. These societies placed more emphasis on Biblical arguments for flat earth theory than the modern FES, but also provided scientific arguments as well.
In 1956 Samuel Shenton founded the International Flat Earth Society. The FES gained publicity in 1964 following the beginning of manned spaceflight and articles about Shenton in The New York Times.
Samuel Shenton died in 1971, and Charles K. Johnson created the International Flat Earth Society of America after inheriting part of Shenton's library and was able to raise membership to 3,000 people. Johnson dispersed newsletters, flyers, and other media to the public upon request.
However by 1980 the FES fell to 200 members. A house fire and the death of Johnson's wife further afflicted the FES in America. Johnson died on March 19, 2001, and the society no longer took in new members.
It has been revived in 2004 as an online community and the society was officially restarted in October 2009.
This page is currently undergoing construction. For a more detailed overview of FES history see the unofficial Wikipedia page.