Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our All Hallows and Christmas/JA's Birthday Meetings

On Saturday, November 1, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books (5 Court St., Binghamton), we’ll be discussing Jo Baker’s recent novel Longbourn at our All Hallows meeting. Longbourn is a fascinating retelling of events in Pride and Prejudice from the Bennets’ servants’ point of view. Most of us, in reading P&P, never gave a second thought to the question of who had to serve Mr. Bennet his after-dinner port, wait on Mrs. Bennet when she took to her bed with her "poor nerves," or wash Elizabeth’s muddy petticoat--but someone had to! We'll use the novel as a basis for discussing Regency-era servants, their duties, and their pay.

And on Saturday, December 6, at 2 pm, in the Community Room of the Hamilton Public Library (13 Broad St., Hamilton--note the change in venue from the Colgate Bookstore), we'll join the JABC-CNY of Hamilton for a joint Christmas/Jane Austen's Birthday meeting. Last year's cookie potluck in Hamilton was such a success that we'll be repeating it this year: Each guest is asked to bring a dozen or so cookies (which needn't necessarily be homemade; Martha Stewart won't be attending!) to share. We'll also lift a glass of something pleasant and nonalcoholic (beverages will be provided) in a traditional birthday toast to Our Author, who will be turning 239 on December 16. And, instead of a formal presentation, let's have an informal discussion of "Jane Austen in the News": Come and "have your share of the conversation" on any of the many news stories in which JA has figured in the last couple of years. (The 10-pound bank note? The turquoise ring? The various possible portraits of Our Author? The list could go on and on!)

JASNA Membership Business

Here are a few reminders--and one piece of new news--about JASNA membership at the North American level. (Remember that our only requirement for regional membership is North American membership.)

  • First, if you haven't already joined JASNA, please consider doing so! Find out how on the membership page of the North American website.
  • If you're already a member of JASNA at the individual or student level, and you've already renewed your membership for 2014-15, we thank you. (Remember that the JASNA membership year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, except that if you joined between June 1 and Aug. 31 of this year, you are enrolled until Sept. 1, 2015.) 
  • If you have not yet renewed your membership, please do so very soon--as memberships are now considered "lapsed" if they are not renewed by October 31. There will be a short grace period after this, but only a short one: Reminder letters will go out from the North American organization in November.
  • Finally, if you have ever considered becoming a Life Member of JASNA, now is the time to act: It's just been announced that the Life Membership fee will be making a sharp jump from $350 to $600 in 2015-16. (Note that if you have already renewed at an individual or student level for 2014-15, you can apply that fee toward the Life Membership. For example, if you renewed at the individual level for $30, you can mention this and pay $320 for the Life Membership.)
Remember that the benefits of JASNA membership include three issues of the organization's newsletter, JASNA News; the annual issue of JASNA's hard-copy journal, Persuasions (which is also now available as an e-book); the opportunity to go on JASNA's annual tour of JA-related sites in England and to attend JASNA's Annual General Meeting; and the society of your fellow Janeites across North America!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

JASNA Syracuse Meetings for This Autumn

Here are JASNA Syracuse’s first two meetings for 2014-15:

On Saturday, September 27, at 2 pm, in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool), we’re delighted to have calligrapher Mike Warner of Rochester speaking at our Michaelmas meeting. Mike, who is a former president of the Genesee Valley Calligraphy Guild in Rochester and a student of historical calligraphy styles, will give a presentation about pens, inks, papers, and handwriting in Jane Austen’s era. Mike’s presentation to JASNA Rochester in March was much enjoyed there, and we look forward to welcoming him in Liverpool.

Below, a quill and inkwell of the type JA would have used, displayed on her small writing table in Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Meg Levin, JASNA-New York Metro's co-Regional Coordinator, who took it during the 2009 JASNA tour of England; these  special tours are one of the many benefits of JASNA membership.  (And in case you're wondering about the red thing at lower left, that's your own Regional Coordinator's rain jacket!)

On Saturday, November 1, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books (5 Court St., Binghamton), we’ll be discussing Jo Baker’s recent novel Longbourn at our All Hallows meeting. Longbourn is a fascinating retelling of events in Pride and Prejudice from the Bennets’ servants’ point of view. Most of us, in reading P&P, never gave a second thought to the question of who had to wash Elizabeth Bennet’s muddy petticoat--but someone had to! We'll use the novel as a basis for discussing Regency-era servants, their duties, and their pay.

Plans for the Christmas/JA’s birthday meeting are still in the works. We hope to have more details by the time of the Michaelmas meeting.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Congratulations to Our Two-Time JASNA Essay Contest Winner!

JASNA Syracuse is delighted to congratulate Mary E. Pinkes of Fayetteville on becoming a second-time winner in the JASNA Essay Contest! Mary, a graduate of Jamesville-DeWitt High School and now a student at Mount Holyoke College, has won the 2014 first-place award in the college/university division for her essay "The Solution of Silence: The Character of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park," which can be read here.  Both Mary and her mentor for the essay, Constance Myers-Kelly of JDHS, have again received one-year memberships in JASNA as part of their awards, and both have been invited to this year's JASNA Annual General Meeting in Montreal in October for the award ceremony. In addition, Mary will receive a scholarship check for $1000 and one of JA's novels.

Here, from our 2012 AGM photo essay, is the picture we ran of Mary accepting her first-place college award in Brooklyn for her essay "Abilities, Affections, and the Art of Pleasing: The Ascent of Lucy Steele and Penelope Clay."  We hope to include a better photo of her Montreal acceptance in this autumn's AGM photo essay!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Photos from Jane Austen Day at Rose Hill

We were very lucky indeed in our weather for Jane Austen Day at the Geneva Historical Society's Rose Hill Mansion on Saturday, July 26--and, as the following photos show, all Janeites in attendance had a delightful time! (All photos are by your Regional Coordinator, A. Marie Sprayberry, unless otherwise noted. Remember that you can click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Above, Lt. Eric Borresen of the U.S. 23rd Infantry and his troops discuss War of 1812-era musketry with Meg Levin of Manhattan (in bonnet) and Shanti Shoemaker of Syracuse. Meg is Co-Regional Coordinator for JASNA New York Metro, and it was a special treat to have her here for the day.

Master Gardener John Fouracre, a Geneva Historical Society volunteer, talks about gardening in Jane Austen's time to an attentive audience on the cool and airy Patio behind the mansion. At left, the indefatigable Lisa Brown--JASNA Syracuse and Rochester Co-RC, as well as caller for the Country Dancers of Rochester demonstration team--takes photographs.

The prize-winning entry in the picnic contest was submitted by JASNA Syracuse/JABC Ithaca member Violet Hayes and her husband, Petter Nordal. Looks tempting, doesn't it?

Happy Ithacans celebrate the win: From left, Marlo Del Toro, Violet Hayes, Petter Nordal, and Saba Alemayehu.

 Petter displays the prizes!

Rose Hill Mansion itself, high above the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. The house was constructed in 1839, but the property was settled before 1800.

Period gowns on display in one of the ground-floor rooms.

This tea service served as the "props" for a talk on tea.

The Patio was also the setting for the Country Dancers of Rochester demonstration, enjoyed by the dancers and the spectators alike. In fact, spectators were invited to join the demo team in the last few dances, as they are doing here.

And there was certainly no shortage of handsome officers!

Finally, it was simply a lovely day for relaxing in a lovely place with friends. Here, Saba Alemayehu and Tara Finlay of Ithaca..., a group from Rochester, cheerfully mingling "Upstairs" with "Downstairs"...

...and here, JASNA friends from near and far! In front, Steve and Linda Robinson of Fayetteville; in back, Lisa Brown of Rochester and Syracuse, Shanti Shoemaker of Syracuse, Marie Sprayberry of Syracuse, and Meg Levin of Manhattan. (Thanks to a JASNA Rochester friend, Chris Cassidy of Fairport, for taking this photo.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

JASNA Syracuse/Rochester Box Hill Picnic: Jane Austen Day in Geneva, Sat., July 26

We now have a plan in place for enjoying a joint Box Hill picnic with JASNA Rochester at the Geneva Historical Society's Jane Austen Day, to be held at the Society's Rose Hill Mansion on Saturday, July 26! Here goes:

First, for the GHS website's description of Jane Austen Day, go to this link.

For directions to Rose Hill, located on NY Route 96A on Seneca Lake south of Geneva, go to this link.

The mansion will be open from 10 am to 4 pm, with a wide variety of activities. Regency dress is encouraged, though certainly not required. And note especially that there will be a Regency picnic contest! See the "Picnic Guidelines" link within the GHS website's description of the day for details. (Below, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the late lamented Official Spokescat of JASNA Syracuse, suggests an appropriate resource to consult.)

But whether your picnic lunch is Regency-correct or not (and certainly it needn't be!), do plan to join your JASNA Syracuse and Rochester colleagues at the picnic tables at 11 am. Since table space will be limited, Lisa Brown, in addition to her duties with the Country Dancers of Rochester demonstration team at 1 pm, has undertaken to reserve space for us all at that time. If you will RSVP Marie by Friday, July 18, at noon, with your intent to attend, she will relay a head count for our group to Lisa. See Marie's contact info at right. (No need to RSVP with regrets.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Austen-Related Events for the Weekend of June 19-22

Two very different but fascinating Austen-related events will be happening in Upstate this coming weekend (June 19-22):

First, the British Women Writers Conference is holding its 22nd Annual Meeting, sponsored by Binghamton University, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Binghamton from June 19 to 21. We were holding off on doing a blog post about this until we learned whether members of the general public, as well as members of the BWWC, would be able to attend portions of the meeting--but our BWWC contact in Binghamton, Kerstin Petersen, has now assured us: "I have now more information about visiting our British Women Writers Conference: The price for a one-day attendance is $25, which includes everything that is listed on that day's program (like refreshments)." More information about the meeting--which will include panels on women writers from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries, panels on topics ranging from fashion to education, and several plenary presentations (including one by Rebecca Mead, author of the recent book My Life in Middlemarch)--can be obtained at the BWWC website or Facebook page.

Second, this year's War of 1812 Bicentennial and Jane Austen Weekend will be taking place at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford (southwest of Rochester) on June 21 and 22. No "Netherfield Ball" there this year, alas--but handsome men in uniform like the two shown above are guaranteed; the Country Dancers of Rochester demonstration team (pictured below at last year's Weekend) will be performing; and much else of interest to Janeites will be happening! Go to the GCVM webpage on the Weekend for more details.

More information about the Jane Austen Day at the Rose Hill Mansion in Geneva on Saturday, July 26, first announced in our June 1 post, will be provided in a future post.