Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy 239th Birthday, Jane Austen!

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

First, a very happy birthday to Our Author!! At age 239, Jane Austen just keeps getting better and better. The photo above shows the birthday cake served last Saturday at JASNA Rochester’s birthday luncheon. (And the cookies shared by JASNA Syracuse and the JABC-CNY on Saturday the 6th in Hamilton were excellent as well!)

Second, the annual JA’s birthday gift from JASNA to the world--the new issue of JASNA’s electronic journal, Persuasions On-Line--is now available at this link (http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol35no1/toc.html). 

The “Annual General Meeting 2014” section contains many of the papers on Mansfield Park that were presented in Montreal this past October, including my own “Fanny Price as Fordyce’s Ideal Woman? And Why?” Whether or not you were able to attend the Montreal AGM, you should enjoy the papers in this section.

The “Miscellany” section includes a rich variety of papers on other Austen-related topics. For instance, Natalie Walshe’s “The Importance of Servants in Jane Austen’s Novels” relates directly to our All Hallows discussion in Binghamton in November. And Montreal AGM Coordinator Elaine Bander’s “Fanny Price and Lord Nelson” compares MP’s “creepmouse” heroine to England’s (and Syracuse/Rochester Co-RC Lisa Brown’s) great naval hero!

As always, JASNA and its members owe a huge debt of thanks to Susan Allen Ford and the Persuasions editorial board for all the work they do on JASNA’s journals (and to Carol Moss, JASNA’s webmistress, for her help with Persuasions On-Line). I was very proud to have Susan (at right in the photo below) introduce my breakout in Montreal; indeed, without the work she did on the Chawton House Press republication of Dr. James Fordyce’s Sermons to Young Women, I wouldn’t have had a breakout to present! And Susan’s own Montreal paper on another conduct book, “‘Assisting the Improvement of Her Mind’: Chapone’s Letters as Guide to Mansfield Park,” also appears in this issue of Persuasions On-Line.

Nervous presenter and calm introducer: A. Marie Sprayberry and Susan Allen Ford.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Seasonal Gaieties" in the Syracuse and Rochester Regions

To paraphrase Miss Bingley (but with much more warmth than she extends to poor Jane Bennet), “We sincerely hope your holidays in Upstate New York may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings.” And, indeed, JASNA Syracuse and JASNA Rochester will be generating some of the gaieties--for Jane Austen's 239th birthday, as well as the traditional winter solstice celebrations!

On Saturday, December 6, at 2 pm, in the Community Room of the Hamilton Public Library (13 Broad St., Hamilton), JASNA Syracuse will 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; remember, Martha Stewart won't be attending!) to share. We'll also lift a glass of tea or lemonade in a traditional birthday toast to Our Author (beverages will be provided). And let’s relax with 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? Even, heaven help us, the upcoming movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? The list could go on and on!)

And on Saturday, December 13, beginning at 10:30 am (note the earlier-than-usual start time), JASNA Rochester will hold its annual Jane Austen’s Birthday Luncheon at the Chatterbox Club, 25 North Goodman Street, Rochester. The speaker will be Deborah Knuth Klenck, Professor of English at Colgate University and a Syracuse Region member. Deborah will give her talk, "Jane Austen's School of Rhetoric: Style, Substance, and 'Delicacy of Mind,'" before lunch.  (Deborah is shown below with her son, Ted Scheinman, at the Regency banquet held at JASNA’s Annual General Meeting in Montreal in October.)
The cost of the December 13 luncheon--which will feature squash/ginger soup, turkey salad, the Chatterbox’s famous popovers, and a birthday cake with ice cream--is $27. Registration is required, but will be accepted until a week before the luncheon. To receive a registration form as a Word document, please contact either A. Marie Sprayberry or Lisa Brown (see “Contact Us” in the right-hand column).

So do plan to join your fellow Central and Western New York Janeites at one or both of these holiday gatherings. We look forward to seeing you!

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...

...here, 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!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In Memoriam: Sandra Stevens and Jane Stuart-Andrus

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

I'm sad to have to pass on the news that a JASNA Syracuse member and a kind friend to JASNA Syracuse have both died recently.

First, Sandra Stevens died on March 17. Sandra was the skilled "mantua-maker" featured in this post last year on the JASNA Syracuse blog, and was a dedicated member of both the JA Book Club at the Colgate Bookstore and JASNA Syracuse. I got to know Sandra better through her work on the Regency gown featured in the blog post, and I'm grieved that such a gentle and talented person was taken from us so soon. We send our condolences to Sandra's daughters, grandchildren, and other family members.

Second, Jane Stuart-Andrus--a co-owner of RiverRead Books, JASNA Syracuse's congenial meeting place in Binghamton--died on April 5. Jane's online obituary is a wonderful tribute to a life excellently and energetically lived. We send our sympathies to Jane's family and to her fellow RiverRead co-owners, Connie Barnes and Patricia Hutchinson-Day.

I'll send out a reminder about our JASNA Syracuse May Day meeting at RiverRead (5 Court St., Binghamton, Saturday 5/10, 2 pm) as we get closer to the date.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two Assemblies in May

After the winter we've had here in Central New York, the prospect of not one but two assembly balls--one in Rochester and one in Spencerville, Ontario, just across the border--is a most welcome one. Here are the details:

First, the Eighth Annual Jane Austen Ball in Rochester, co-sponsored by the Country Dancers of Rochester and JASNA Rochester, will be held on Sunday, May 4, at 2 pm. The elegant private venue that has hosted the Ball for the past several years will once again be the setting (details available upon registration). A full prospectus for the weekend and a registration form are available at this page of the CDR website. The page also includes several YouTube videos, either from previous Balls or from CDR demonstration dances (click on the links for individual dance titles under the "Dance Program" heading).


Second, some of our JASNA friends in Spencerville, Ontario, have sent us this prospectus for their ball later in May. Our correspondent, The Belle of the Ball, can be emailed at this address, and a YouTube video of last year's ball can be viewed here. The prospectus follows:

My dears, it is with limitless joy that we announce our forthcoming Regency Ball in Spencerville. We hope to enjoy your presence on May 23-25, 2014 for a series of dance workshops and Mrs. Sarah Spencer’s Regency Ball.

Our slate of entertainments is not yet complete, but may we entice you with the following:
Friday May 23 Ball Dances Workshop, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Saturday May 24 Ball Dances Workshop, 10:00 to noon.
Saturday May 24 Callers Workshop, 2:00 to 4:00, wherein the services of many dancers are required.
Saturday May 24 Regency Ball, 7:30 to midnight, with a light repast at 9:30.
Sunday May 25 Advanced Dance workshop, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Additional fee required.

All dancing takes place at the Spencerville Town Hall.
All dancing workshops are casual dress.
The Regency Ball is mandatory period clothing.

Our caller is our good man David Smukler, with his delightful wife as accompanist, and his band of great renown for the ball.

Cost for this magnificent three-day event is $75 per person, with additional fee of $10 for the advanced Sunday workshop.

We trust we shall be favoured with your presence on this happy occasion.

Your humble servant,
The Belle of the Ball


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reminder Update: Ithaca Meeting, Sat., March 8

Here’s a very quick reminder of our JASNA Syracuse/Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca joint meeting this coming Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, at the Crow’s Nest Cafe on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore, 115 The Commons, Ithaca.

Our topic for this meeting, as noted in earlier announcements, will be “Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park.” We’ll discuss some of the questions that readers have raised through the years about the planned Bertram/Crawford performance of Lovers’ Vows--as well as the extent to which “all the world’s a stage” for at least some of the characters.

(And as you can see in the photo above, Action Jane Austen has no personal objection to home theatricals. In fact, she quite enjoys acting out dramatic tableaux with her friends Action Sigmund Freud, Action Spider-Man, Action Harry Potter, and Action Crazy Cat Lady, plus numerous cats and a few others. Clearly, Action Sigmund Freud lost the "Argument Clinic" from the Feb. 1 meeting at Liverpool!)

Finally, we pass along a few requests from our hosts for this meeting, the friendly “pirates” of the Crow’s Nest Cafe: Please don’t bring “outside” food or drink into the cafe, and we need to keep our voices to a conversational level, since the cafe shares open space with the rest of Autumn Leaves. We heartily encourage you to purchase food and beverages from the “pirates,” and we should be able to abide by the voice-level request if we refrain from “ranting” like Mr. Yates playing Baron Wildenhaim!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse/JABC Ithaca Joint Meeting in Ithaca, Sat., March 8

On Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, at the Crow's Nest Cafe (on the second floor of the Autumn Leaves Bookstore, 115 The Commons, Ithaca), JASNA Syracuse will be joining forces with the Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca to discuss "Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park."

As part of our continuing observance of Mansfield Park's 200th anniversary this year, let's think about all the ways in which role playing plays a role in this controversial novel. As the Crawfords and the Bertrams prepare to perform Lovers' Vows, what's the problem with putting on a play at home--or at least this particular play, with this particular cast? Is more acting taking place off stage than on? And did Jane Austen herself disapprove of home theatricals? We'll discuss these and other questions--and perhaps read some of our favorite passages from the play and the novel.

Special note: A JABC Ithaca member has just informed me that this weekend's print version of the Ithaca Times has run an event listing incorrectly giving the date for this meeting as Sun., Feb. 23. The date and time will be as given in boldface above. We apologize for the mixup, and hope to see as many of you as possible on March 8.

A Concert in Ithaca and a Jane Austen Day in Philadelphia

And while we’re thinking and talking about Ithaca, here’s a message from an old friend of JASNA Syracuse, Dr. Joanna Manring--the director of the Jane Austen Singing School for Young Ladies (formerly of Skaneateles and now of Lexington, KY). Joanna writes of an upcoming musical event in Ithaca:


Greetings, friends old and new!

I'm delighted to be coming to Ithaca at the end of March as the soprano soloist for Haydn's uplifting Creation with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and Ithaca College Choir under the direction of Lanfranco Marcelletti. A perfect way to herald spring! The concert will be in Ford Hall on the Ithaca College campus on March 29th at 8 pm.  Tickets are available at the CCO's website.

I hope to see you there!


In addition, Paul Savidge, Regional Coordinator for JASNA Eastern Pennsylvania, has sent us word of his Region’s forthcoming “Jane Austen Day” in Philadelphia:


I am writing to invite you and your regional members to Jane Austen Day 2014 in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 26, 2014, sponsored by the Eastern Pennsylvania Region of JASNA. This year's day-long event entitled The Unfinished Jane Austen will be a fascinating exploration of Austen's two unfinished novels, The Watsons and Sanditon, and a provocative discussion of what Austen might have accomplished if she had lived a longer life. We are very excited to have an illustrious panel of Austen scholars joining us for Jane Austen Day. Presentations by Professors Jocelyn Harris, Janine Barchas and Michael Gamer will be the highlights of the event.

Jane Austen Day will be held in the exquisite Grant Room at Philadelphia’s historic Union League and will include complimentary morning tea and coffee, a delicious luncheon, selected merchants including a bookseller, and an abundance of good discussion and fellowship.  Registration must be postmarked by April 5th. Information about Jane Austen Day is available on the Region's website.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reminder: JASNA Syracuse Candlemas Meeting at Liverpool, Sat., Feb. 1

On Saturday, February 1, at 2 pm,  in the Sargent Room of the Liverpool Public Library (310 Tulip St., Liverpool), our Candlemas meeting will be devoted to two midwinter diversions: an “Argument Clinic” on Mansfield Park, and a book swap!

2014 is the 200th anniversary year for Mansfield Park--which has always been Jane Austen’s most controversial novel. So, taking our cue from the old Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch, let’s hold an “Argument Clinic” on MP (though a much more courteous one than the Pythons’ session becomes!). Love Fanny Price or hate her? Want to take Mary Crawford out to dinner or hang her out to dry? Can anything positive be said about Henry Crawford--or, for that matter, about Edmund Bertram? What’s wrong with putting on a play at home, anyway? And so forth!

(In the photo above, Action Jane Austen is having her own "Argument Clinic" with Action Sigmund Freud. Can you imagine the conversation Miss Austen and Dr. Freud might have about Mary Crawford's "Rears and Vices" joke?)

To chase the February blues away even further, we plan a book swap. If you can, please bring at least one book to the meeting with you to donate to the swap; it needn’t be Austen-related, but it should be of potential interest to our members and guests. And plan to take away at least one book! Any books left over at the end of the meeting will be donated to the Liverpool Library for its book sale.

Finally, please make a note of the dates, locations, and topics for our Lady Day and May Day meetings. (The Lady Day meeting is rather early, and the May Day meeting is rather late--but that’s the way things worked out with various folks’ schedules.)

On Saturday, March 8, at 2 pm, in the Crow’s Nest Cafe of Autumn Leaves Bookstore (115 The Commons, Ithaca), we’ll join forces with the Jane Austen Book Club of Ithaca to discuss “Theatre and Performance in Mansfield Park.” (More about those home theatricals...plus the playing of roles in “real life” in the novel.)

And on Saturday, May 10, at 2 pm, at RiverRead Books (5 Court St., Binghamton), we’ll talk about Austen’s treatment of the clergy in her work in general--and in Mansfield Park in particular.