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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Weekend in Vermont

Your Regional Coordinators spent the weekend of June 7-8 in Burlington, Vermont, as guests of the JASNA Vermont Region. Vermont's RC, Deb Barnum, has already put up a post on the "Jane Austen in Vermont" blog--arguably the best regional blog in JASNA--with a most complimentary description of our June 8 presentations to our sister Region. With Deb's permission, here is a link to that post. We thank her both for the link and for her personal hospitality, and we thank the Green Mountain Janeites in general and Lisa's models in particular for persevering with us, despite the heat Deb describes!

Here are two additional photos of the meeting. In the first, Lisa Brown describes the finer points of the 95th Rifles uniform being bravely modeled by Jim. (Photo by Marie.)

And in the second, Marie Sprayberry discusses her 1817 Princess Charlotte of Wales "in memoriam" cup. Note Marie's strategic position directly in front of a fan! (Photo by Lisa.)

The day before the meeting, we spent a highly enjoyable afternoon with Deb at the Shelburne Museum, south of Burlington. The Shelburne, like Upstate NY's Genesee Country Village and Museum, is a collection of relocated/preserved historic buildings and artifacts. Here are Lisa and Deb in front of the Round Barn. (Photo by Marie.)


The Shelburne's collection of carriages and sleighs is particularly fine. This handsome stagecoach plied the Boston-to-Buffalo route, and thus may have traveled the Cherry Valley Turnpike south of Syracuse (present-day U.S. 20). (Photo by Marie.)

As Deb notes in her post, we all had fun trying out the two-cell village gaol. Here are Marie (obviously having too much fun to be a convincing prisoner) and Deb (doing a better acting job). (Photo by Lisa.)

Here's a collection of hats and hatboxes that would have made the Bennet sisters "quite wild." (Photo by Marie.)

This spinning wheel and other accoutrements for spinning recall a letter of Jane Austen's to Cassandra concerning a proposed gift to Jane from the family's benefactress, Mrs. Knight: "I cannot endure the idea of her giving away her own wheel..." (Photo by Marie.)

A printer--one of the Museum's many helpful and informative volunteers--demonstrates one of the extensive collection of printing presses. (Photo by Lisa.)

Both Marie and Lisa wanted to take the entire country store and its contents home with them! A lovely window full of glass. (Photo by Marie.)

We end with Lisa's photo of a gorgeous sunset over Lake Champlain; the Adirondacks can be glimpsed in the background on the New York side. And, again, many thanks to Deb and to JASNA Vermont!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

"Box Hill" in Late July, and Other Matters

As noted in an earlier message, your Regional Coordinators were previously in the early stages of planning with the JASNA Rochester “Janeiacs” for a joint July visit to Seneca Falls--but now a marvelous ready-made opportunity for a joint July “Box Hill” outing has presented itself. We propose to attend the Geneva Historical Society’s “Jane Austen Day” on Saturday, July 26, from 10 am to 4 pm, at the Rose Hill Mansion on Route 96A just south of Geneva (pictured above). Listen to this:


While Jane Austen was writing Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and other novels in England, Geneva was developing as a village on the New York frontier. By the time of the novelist’s death in 1817, the Rose family had been in the area 15 years and had established their farm. Though Austen never visited Rose Hill, or the United States, we think she would have enjoyed Rose Hill and the view of Seneca Lake.

On Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., step into Jane Austen’s world and experience a little taste of early 19th-century life. Throughout the day, enter the school of soldiers with War of 1812 re-enactors, hear gallery talks about the ritual of tea or the Rose Family, try writing with a quill pen, and sample period foods in the kitchen.  Jane Austen Day will also include special programs.  At 11:30 a.m. Master Gardener John Fouracre will explore gardening in Regency England, and at 1 p.m. the Country Dancers of Rochester will give demonstrations of English Country Dancing. There will be period clothing, needlework, and tea services on display in the mansion. The public is encouraged to enter the period picnic contest (for menu suggestions visit the Rose Hill Facebook page) or to come dressed in Regency fashions.

Jane Austen Day is free for historical society members and $5 for non-members.


Your RCs think this all sounds irresistible, and we hope you’ll agree. Further reminders, directions, suggestions about carpooling to Geneva from Syracuse and other locations, and so forth will be forthcoming closer to the date, but mark your calendars for this jaunt now!

Two other updates/reminders:

  • If you’ve been checking the Montreal AGM webpage on the main JASNA website, you know that there’s been a slight delay in getting the registration process under way--but things are now looking good for a start time about the middle of this week. Keep checking that webpage for updates!
  • And the special JASNA membership offer begins today: If you are not yet a member of JASNA at the North American level (our only requirement for Syracuse Region membership), you’ll be enrolled through September 1, 2015, if you join any time between now and September 1 of this year--and will get an extra copy of JASNA News into the bargain. (Remember, too, that you must be a JASNA member to attend the Montreal AGM.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

JASNA 2014 AGM Registration Is Coming Soon!

The following is a condensation of two messages from Elaine Bander, Coordinator of the 2014 JASNA Annual General Meeting in Montreal, and Liz Cooper, JASNA’s Vice-President for Regions:


The 2014 JASNA AGM brochure has finally gone to the printer (whew! what a production!) which means, we hope, that we will meet our target date of May 21 to go "live" with online registration.

As always, we will wait at least two days after the brochure is mailed before we open online registration.  That means that most US members who receive a mailed brochure will get it by the time registration opens.  However, we can't guarantee that delivery will be that quick for everyone, so we strongly urge members to check the JASNA website for the latest AGM information and to download the PDF version of the brochure, which will be available soon at this link.

Also, members who have signed up to receive JASNA AGM Email Updates will receive a notice when the brochure has been mailed and when registration is open online. If members have not joined the JASNA Email Distribution List or signed up to receive "JASNA Email and AGM Email" specifically, they can do so now by visiting this link. 

Those who register later and possibly miss the cut-off should be urged to put themselves on the wait list. Up to 10% of AGM registrants end up cancelling each year for one reason or another. In past years when AGMs sold out quickly, we've accommodated everyone on the wait list. 


But why wait? Your JASNA Syracuse Regional Coordinators--who would be attending this AGM even if they weren't giving presentations--hope to be among the first in line to register on May 21, and we hope you will be too!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

JASNA Syracuse Meeting in Binghamton May 10, and Other News

Lots of news as we head into May!

First, the JASNA Syracuse Region will be holding its May Day meeting (a trifle late) on Saturday, May 10, at 2 pm at RiverRead Books, 5 Court St., Binghamton. Our topic will be the clergy in Jane Austen’s times and in her novels. Because Mansfield Park is probably the novel in which being a clergyman is discussed most extensively--and because 2014 is this novel’s bicentennial year--we’ll probably emphasize MP. But don’t worry: We won’t neglect Mr. Collins and Fordyce’s Sermons, Mr. Elton’s social aspirations, or Henry Tilney’s expertise in muslins! (In the photo above, Action Jane Austen seems well prepared to discuss the Sermons with a Mr. Collins stand-in.)

Second, all 80 of the dancers’ spots for the Jane Austen Ball in suburban Rochester on Sunday, May 4, are now taken--but there’s still time to purchase an observer’s ticket if you hurry! More information can be obtained here.

Third, registration for the 2014 JASNA Annual General Meeting, to be held in Montréal Oct. 10-12, is scheduled to open in mid-May. (A post announcing the opening will go up as soon as it happens. In the meantime, go here for further information.) This year's theme is "Mansfield Park in Montréal: Contexts, Conventions and Controversies." And, as in Brooklyn two years ago, both of your Regional Coordinators will be giving presentations: Lisa Brown will be giving a workshop titled "Fit to Be Tied: The Honourable John Yates's Guide to Tying a Cravat," and A. Marie Sprayberry will be presenting a breakout session titled "Fanny Price as Fordyce's Ideal Woman? And Why?" (Look for a few ideas from the breakout at the May 10 Binghamton meeting!)

Fourth, the second annual Jane Austen Summer Program will be held at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus on June 12-15. This year, Sense and Sensibility will be the focus--and a Syracuse Region member will be one of the speakers: Professor Deborah Knuth Klenck of Colgate University will present a talk titled “Jane Austen’s School of Rhetoric: Style, Substance and ‘Delicacy of Mind.’” (Note: Marie enjoyed last year’s JASP very much, and regrets that conflicting commitments will prevent her from attending this year.) For more information, go here.

Finally, in lieu of a more typical “Box Hill” event in June to conclude the 2013-14 JASNA Syracuse season, your RCs are in the early stages of planning with the JASNA Rochester “Janeiacs” for a joint July visit to Seneca Falls--just at the boundary between the Syracuse and Rochester Regions. We could visit the National Women’s Hall of Fame and/or the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, and take some light refreshment at the Gould Hotel (formerly the Hotel Clarence). Carpooling from Syracuse with Marie would be available, and carpooling among other members would be encouraged. No date for the event has been set thus far, but watch this space for further news!