How to Join: To join the Eastern Pennsylvania Region, a regional affiliate of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), simply join JASNA. Anyone who enjoys Jane Austen's brilliant work is welcomeand there's no quiz to take. If you live in the Region's geographic areaeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and southern New Jersey, then you're entitled to all regional benefits and activities when you become a JASNA member. Contact the Membership Chairperson if you have additional questions. Please visit the JASNA Website to download the JASNA Membership Form or use the PayPal option. Note: JASNA's membership year begins September 1st of a given year and ends August 31st of the following year. Save for Life Members, all JASNA members are required to rejoin the society by September 1st, regardless of when they initially became a member.
Benefits of Membership: JASNA members receive Persuasions, the yearly journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and three issues of JASNA News per year. Members have the opportunity to attend the Annual General Meeting as well as Regional events, where we learn more about Jane Austen and share our appreciation for her work with those of like mind. Region members also receive "Bits & Scraps," the regional newsletter, published in February, April, August, and November.
Dues: We do not charge regional dues, but are pleased to accept donations that will help us provide member benefits. Checks or money orders can be made out to 'JASNA-Eastern Pennsylvania.' Because JASNA is a registered nonprofit organization, donations are tax-deductible. Donations can be mailed to the Regional Coordinator. Note: JASNA is a section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Region Members: Please notify either the Regional Coordinator or the Membership Chairperson of any change to your mailing address or e-mail address so that you'll continue to receive Regional and JASNA mailings.
Bylaws: Regional bylaws are available for your review.
History of the Region
"JASNA Philadelphia" was among the handful of charter regions organized October 5, 1979, at the Society's inaugural meeting in New York City. Ten Pennsylvanians were present: Ruth Adams, Hugh Albright, Nina Auerbach, Paul Brown, Zelphia Brown, Katrin Burlin, Edward Davis, Ahmet Evin, Jan Fergus, and Lorraine Hanaway.
Lorraine Hanaway was declared founder and organizer of the region and the first gatherings were held at her home. She continued as Regional Coordinator until her election as President of JASNA in 1984. Judith Fowler served next and led the region in a series of discussions, luncheons, and film-viewing sessions. A highlight was the all-day meeting at the University of Pennsylvania Faculty Club on April 27, 1985, that featured a talk by Nina Auerbach, lecture-discussions with Dwight McCawley and Katrin Burlin, a showing of the British Library's film of Jane Austen's life, and luncheon. Other meetings have included speakers, garden tours, house tours, film viewings, debates, and discussions.
Winifred Blacklow succeeded Judy as RC and in turn Eileen Doudna, Edward Davis, Nancy Charkes and Laraine Ryan, Patricia Wright, Laura Parrish, Elizabeth Steele, Kelly Fineman, and Marietta Rizzone have served. Paul Savidge is the present leader and works with the local board of directors to organize regional events.
In 1983, JASNA's Fifth AGM was held in Philadelphia. The AGM Coordinator, Lorraine Hanaway, led an enthusiastic team that planned events related to the conference theme of "Emma." Elizabeth Steele acted as organizer of JASNA's 2009 Annual General Meeting in Philadelphia and led a Steering Committee whose industriousness was exceeded only by their amiability. The conference theme was "Jane Austen's Brothers and Sisters in the City of Brotherly Love," which celebrated Jane Austen's fictional brothers and sisters.
Members eagerly look forward to the annual Jane Austen birthday celebration during which they test their Austen knowledge by playing Jane Austen-oriented games and solving fiendishly difficult quizzes prepared by region members. These entertaining events are enhanced by an elaborate presentation of homemade goodies, tea, the annual toast to Jane Austen, and socializing with "the best company."
To reflect its embrace of Janeites outside the Philadelphia area, the name soon evolved into Eastern Pennsylvania. The region draws members from Delaware and New Jersey, as well as Pennsylvania.
Photo Credits: All photographs courtesy of Jeff G. Bohn.