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Events Archive


September 17:
Fall Public Program - "Austen Abriged: 6 Novels in 30 Minutes"

July 30:
Summer Program - "Merriment and Murder: Christmas with Jane Austen, Detective"

Spring Gala - "Highbury and Beyond: A Celebration of Emma"

February 7:
Winter Program - “’You Can Get a Parasol at Whitby’s:’ Circulating Libraries in Jane Austen’s Time”

Past Activities2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 |2012 | 2013 | 2014


December 6 Austen Birthday Tea 2014
Mary Crawford’s harp is arguably the most famous musical instrument in Jane Austen’s novels. Even first time readers of Mansfield Park can appreciate how the exotic novelty of the harp disrupts the quiet rural harmony that is set up as an ideal in the novel, just as Mary and her brother Henry bring a disquieting energy to the Bertram family. Scholars and critics from Tony Tanner to Juliette Wells have cogently discussed Mary’s harp as an instrument of vanity and seduction, a symbol of urban sophistication and questionable morality. This interpretation is undeniably correct, but I suspect there might be more to say about Mary’s harp. In this talk, I would hope to demonstrate that the harp had a rich and complex cultural context in Austen’s time, as she herself must have appreciated.


February 3 Winter Meeting
"From the Book to the Boards: Staging Pride and Prejudice". Panel: Kristin Leahey, Resident Dramaturg, Northlight Theatre; Laura McClain, Elizabeth Bennet in the Lifeline Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice; Phil Timberlake, Mr. Collins in the Lifeline Theatre production of Pride and Prejudice; David Woolley, Society of American Fight Directors & Columbia College Chicago. Moderated by Debra Ann Miller, Member at Large, JASNA–GCR. The Parthenon Restaurant, Chicago, IL.
May 4 Spring Gala
"Dear Jane, Darcys and Divas". Speakers: Russell Clark, “Dear Jane On Stage in 1932”; Amy Patterson, “The True Darcy Spirit”; Jeff Nigro and John Nygro, “Divas of Austen’s Day”. Emporium by Jeanne Steen of Figaro Parisian Interiors and Jane Austen Books by Amy Patterson. Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, Chicago, IL.


February 12               Winter Meeting
"Money, Sex, and Power—Austen Style," theme of 2012 JASNA AGM. Panel: Diane Capitani, Garrett Theological Seminary, Northwestern University and GCR Education Outreach Director; William Phillips, De Paul University and GCR Deputy Coordinator; and Liz Cooper, Regional Coordinator of JASNA-Wisconsin. Discussion moderated by Shirley Holbrook, GCR Secretary. Parthenon Restaurant, 314 S. Halsted St., Chicago.
May 5  Spring Gala
"Chawton Comes to Chicago! British actor Elizabeth Garvie, patron of Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, performs "Jane Austen Delights." Speakers include Lindsay Ashford of Chawton House Library, author of The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen and editor of Wooing Mr. Wickham; Sandy Lerner, Chawton House Library Founder and author, under nom de plume Ava Farmer, of a sequel to Pride and Prejudice,Second Impressions; and Steve Lawrence, CEO of Chawton House Library, who reports on Chawton House. Luncheon entertainment by Victoria Hinshaw, Holly Bern, Elisabeth Lenckos and Karen Doornebos. Emporium by Jeanne Steen of Figaro Parisian Interiors and Jane Austen Books by Amy Patterson. Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, 163 E. Walton Place, Chicago.
June 23  Summer Meeting
"The Sartorial Choices of  Jane Austen's Gentlemen: Manly Fashions 1795-1815" Janet C. Messmer. Head of the Costume Technology Program at The Theater School, DePaul University, lectured on what the men in Austen's novels would have worn. Lecture and afternoon tea at the Woman's Athletic Club, 626 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
September 29 Fall Meeting
"Jane Austen-Multi-Media Maven?" Karen Doornebos, author of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy and Christine Shih, nurse practitioner and independent writer, explore the many ways Jane Austen is used in the 21st century on the Internet, in phone apps and even psychotherapy. Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. Chicago
December 8  Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"Social Dance and Social Consciousness in Jane Austen's Times" Longtime Chicago-based dance critic and historian Lucia Mauro, adjunct professor of Dance History at Loyola University, will delve into the multifaceted dimensions of communal dance during England's Regency period and discuss how it mirrored the familial and socioeconomic structure of Austen's times. Afternoon tea at The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 East Bellevue, Chicago. 2-4 p.m.


February 12 Winter Meeting
GCR Readers Theater presents "No Pleasure in London" An exploration of attitudes toward town and country in Austen and Austen's time. Parthenon Restaurant, 314 S. Halsted Street, Chicago. 
April 30 Spring Gala
"Staging Sensibility: Jane Austen and the Performing Arts." Enjoy three presentations: Dr. Gillian Dow, Fellow at Chawton House Library and Professor, University of Southhampton, UK, "An Excess of Sensibility: Jane Austen, Marianne, and the French Tradition."  Dr. Erin Smith, Western Governors University, "Jane Austen and the Ballet: Dances of Hysteria in Sense and Sensibility and Giselle."  Debra Ann Miller, acress, playwright and historical impersonator, "Jane Austen Speaks."  Regency Emporium with items from the culture of sensibility provided by Figaro Parisian Interiors. Book table: Bring a book/Buy a book. Continental breakfast and luncheon. Maggiano's Banquet Room, 111 W. Grand Ave, Chicago.
June 18 Summer
"Sensibility in Sound: Music of Austen's Time." Featuring Stephen Alltop, distinguished pianist and noted authority on 18th century music, and soprano and Austen lover, Josefien Stoppelenburg.  Alltop will address the importance of music in Austen's daily life and comment on music and important musical events in 1811. The program will include music by Handel, Storace, Arne, Beethoven and Pleyel, and anonymous music copied by Austen in her music books.  Women's Athletic Club of Chicago, 626 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
September 24 Fall
"Which is your favorite — Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice?
A Battle of Wits."  Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen, best–selling author of Jane Austen in Boca and What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper and Distinguished Professor at Drexel University will debate with Dr. Elisabeth Lenckos, Instructor of Comparative Literature at University of Chicago's Basic Program and GCR Program Director. Harold Washington Library Center, Multipurpose Room, 400 S. State St., Chicago. Free and open to the public. Book signing following the program. 2–4 p.m.
December 3 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
Talk by Mona Scheuermann, author of Reading Jane Austen and Professor of English at Oakton Community College.  Afternoon tea at The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 East Bellevue, Chicago. 2-4 p.m.


February 20 Winter Meeting
Panel presentation and group discussion of Northanger Abbey.
William Phillips on Gothic inspirations, Ronnie Jo Sokol on plot development,  Natalie Goldberg on friendship, Jeff Nigro on the role of Bath.  Parthenon Restaurant, 314 S. Halsted St., Chicago. Noon.
April 24 Spring Gala
"Horrors, Hats, and Hapless Young Heroines: Aspects of Northanger." Annual celebration with talks by Professor Elaine Bander of Dawson College, Montreal Canada, Hat Designer Laura Whitlock of De Paul University and Chicago Millinery Association, and Greg Nosan of the Art Institute of Chicago. Book exchange. Quiz on Northanger Abbey.  Prize is a gift basket donated by Jeanne Steen and her store Figaro.  Continental breakfast, lunch and toast to Jane Austen at Maggiano's Banquet Rooms, 111 W. Grand Ave., Chicago. Open to the public.  9 a.m.–3 pm.
June 19 Summer Workshop
Turban Draping Workshop hosted by Laura Whitlock, President of the Chicago Millinery Association. No advanced sewing skills required. Supplies and refreshments are included.  Located at Jeanne Steen's Figaro Parisian Interiors in Vintage Pine, Antiques and Interiors, 904 W. Blackhawk Street, Chicago. Registration deadline: May 28; limited to 25 participants per session.
Session 1: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Session 2: 2–5 p.m.
September 26 Fall Open Meeting
"Jane Austen in the 'hood’: A visual tour around Austen's London characters." Slide/talk by member Sue Forgue, webmaster of the research website, The Regency Encyclopedia. (User ID: JAScholar, Password: Academia, both case sensitive.) Free and open to the public. Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston. This meeting is Sunday afternoon, 2:30–4:30 p.m.
December 4 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"Are You Sure They Are All Horrid? Austen's Degrees of Disagreeability."
Talk by Michael Allocca, Chair of the Basic Program at the Graham School, University of Chicago.   Afternoon tea at The Fortnightly of Chicago,
120 E. Bellevue Place, Chicago. 2–4 p.m.


February 7 Winter Meeting
"There were never such devoted sisters." Marissa Love (University of Chicago's Graham School) leads a discussion of sibling relationships in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park and Persuasion."  Parthenon Restaurant, 314 S. Halsted Street, Chicago. Free valet parking. Noon.
May 2 Spring Gala
"Jane Austen and Beauty." Art Historian Debra Mancoff will speak about a celebrated Regency beauty and actress in Austen's Day, "Mrs. Brinsley Sheridan, The Fair Syren of Bath." Our Academic Liaison, Director of Adult programs at the Art Institute of Chicago, Jeff Nigro, will ring in the 2009 bicentennary of Austen's move to Chawton with "Austen and Beauty of Place." Our celebration of beauty will conclude with former Elle editor Jeanne Steen's "Fashionable Jane," a journal kept by a lady of Austen's era, who will be the "belle of the ball," an event which will determine her fate in Regency England's difficult marriage market. The public is invited to attend our Gala celebration. Continental breakfast and lunch at the Allerton Hotel, 701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
June 27 Summer Event
Jane Austen Garden Party at Chicago Botanic Gardens, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL. Guided Tour of the English Gardens followed by High Tea in the Garden View Room. Readings on Austen's Characters in the Out of Doors, arranged by William Phillips. 1 –3:30 p.m.
September 12 Fall Meeting
Slide/talk by Kim Wilson, author of In the Garden with Jane Austen, a guide to the cultivated gardens of Austen's era illuminated with details from Austen's novels and letters.  Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston. Reception.  Free and open to the public. 1–3:30 p.m.
December 12 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"First, Find a Good Place to Plant Potatoes: Tales of Chawton Cottage, 1809-2009." GCR Readers Theater celebrates the bicentennial of Austen's move to Chawton Cottage in dialogue and images. Afternoon tea at The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 E. Bellevue Place, Chicago. 2 –4 p.m.
February 9 Winter Meeting
"How do you make a film of a life about which you know little?"

Discussion of Austen biographies vs. the recent film Becoming Jane.  Lunch at the Parthenon Restaurant, 314 South Halsted Street in Chicago.  Noon.
May 3 Spring Gala
Among the Heirs of Austen:  A Legacy of Four Centuries

Three lectures, brunch and ice cream buffets, and book and Regency period costume sales.  Allerton-Crowne Plaza, 701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.  9:30 a.m.– 3 p.m. 
June 20 Jane Austen Country Dance Practice (Prelude to the JASNA Ball)
Learn the dances for our JASNA Ball in October with our wonderful musicians! From 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the ballroom at Oak Park Arms Retirement Community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL (located between Madison and Washington Streets). Enter the parking lot from the east side of Oak Park Ave. All parking is free except for reserved spaces.
September 17 Free screening of The Duchess, a new film based on the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, at 7:00 p.m., Kerasotes Webster Place Theatre, 1471 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-327-3100. Jonathan Gross, Professor of English and Director of the DePaul Humanities Center, will lead a discussion of the film afterward.
September 20 Fall Meeting
Jane Davis will preview her talk for the Chicago 2008 AGM, Emma Woodhouse and Harry Potter: The Influence of Austen on J.K. Rowling. Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625. Free and open to the public. A short business meeting will precede the talk. Cake, tea and coffee served. 1 p.m.–3:30 p.m. More > >
October 2–5 "Austen's Legacy:  Life, Love & Laughter"
Chicago hosts the 2008 Annual General Meeting.

Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel, Chicago.
December 6 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"Viewing Austen Through Vermeer's Camera Obscura," Slide/talk by Marsha Huff, JASNA President.   Afternoon Tea. The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 East Bellevue Place, Chicago. 2:00–4:00 p.m. .
February 10 Winter Meeting
Book Discussion of Emma following lunch at the Parthenon Restaurant, 314 South Halsted Street in Chicago. Noon.
April 28 Gala
"Heroes, Heartbreakers & Heels." 9:30 a.m.‑3 p.m. Lectures, Music and Readers Theater, Brunch buffet and dessert buffet. Allerton-Crowne Plaza, 701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
July 21 Summer Meeting
In honor of Jane Austen's seaworthy brothers, we boarded the Wendella Boat for a 90 minute tour, followed by lunch at Bella Bacina, 75 East Wacker Drive, Chicago. 11:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
September 8 Fall Meeting
"Jane Austen's Spiritual Legacy: Kinder, Gentler Pathways, " talk by Diane Capitani, author and lecturer at Garrett Theological Seminary and Northwestern University.  Refreshments. Conrad Sulzer Regional Library,
4455 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625. Free and open to the public. 1‑3:30 p.m.
December 8 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"Finding Jane Austen Today." Lecture by Emily Auerbach, Professor, University of Wisconsin and author of Searching for Jane Austen.   Afternoon tea.
The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 E. Bellview Place, Chicago.  2‑4 p.m.
February 18 Winter Meeting
Following lunch at a Chicago restaurant, member Caryn Chaden led a discussion of Mansfield Park, the theme for the 2006 AGM in Tucson.
May 13 Gala
Speakers included Marcia McClintock Folsom, Joan Ray, and the GCR Readers’ Theater. Allerton Crowne Plaza Hotel, 701 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
August 12 Summer Outing
Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Indiana, exhibit by Leon Bishop. Lunch at Lucrezia's Restaurant, noon.
September 9 Fall Meeting
Evanston Public Library community room, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, 1:30‑4 p.m. Member Steven Martin connected Jane Austen's novels to mystery fiction in his talk, "The Mysterious Affair at Chawton." Free and open to the public. Reception followed the talk.
December 8 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"A Chain of Laughter:  Comic Characters in the Wake of Austen."  Jan Fergus, speaker.  Afternoon tea at The Fortnightly of Chicago, 120 E. Bellview Place, Chicago.  2‑4 p.m.  Members $40, their guests $50.
February 18 Lunch & Lecture with Speaker:  Dr. Elisabeth Lenckos
Topic:  “Edith Wharton:  America's Jane Austen?”
May 13 GCR - 25th Annual Gala:  CELEBRATION
August 12 Lunch & Dicusssion
12:30‑4:30 p.m.

Jane Austen as Great Box Office:
Adaptations, Transformations, and Imitations of Austen at the Movies
Reza’s Restaurant, 5255 N. Clark (Andersonville)
September 9 Lecture
1:30–4:30 p.m.
Speaker:  Elsie Holzwarth, “Austen and the Admiral"

The connection between Jane Austen and Horatio Nelson, in her life and in her novels, was explored by GCR member Elsie Holzwarth as a preview of her 2005 AGM presentation.
Evanston Public LibraryFREE to members & guests.
December 6 Jane Austen Birthday Tea
"The Cure of Unconquerable Passions and the Transfer of Unchanging Attachments":  Life’s Second Chances in the Novels of Jane Austen
Speaker: Dr. Elisabeth Lenckos
Afternoon tea at the historic Fortnightly of Chicago, birthday toast to JA, lecture and gift basket raffle.
December 11 Jane Austen Birthday Tea