On Thursday, October 5, our pre-conference activities will include a special trip to the magnificent Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. The day’s options include:
- Huntington President Laura Skandera Trombley, an expert on Mark Twain, will address the American humorist’s putative disdain for Jane Austen.
- The Huntington’s Director of Education and UC Riverside History Professor Catherine Allgor, a leading authority on first ladies, will speak about the political and social status of women in 18th Century England and America.
- California Institute of Technology Dean of Students Kevin Gilmartin, who specializes in social and political developments in British literature and print culture, will guide visitors through the Huntington’s collection of Austen-related books and letters, assembled by archivist Stephen Tabor.
- Huntington docent Jane Uffleman will lead visitors on a tour of portraits that Jane Austen saw at a retrospective of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London in 1813, including the majestic “Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse.”
And as a singular honor to Jane Austen, the Huntington Library has graciously underwritten the costs of a new garden bench, to be inscribed with an observation she made about gardens. We will be present at the dedication ceremony, which will take place in the late afternoon.
From the priceless collection of rare books — including a first edition of Emma, a Shakespeare First Folio and a Gutenberg Bible — and famous artwork such as Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Joshua Reynolds’ portrait of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse to the glorious and wide-ranging gardens, the Huntington has enough to keep you engaged no matter what your interests. Check out our Huntington Pinterest board and get excited about the tour!