Past Events

Jane’s Birthday

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Friends’ Meeting House

4836 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Tea, Potluck and Diversions 2-4 PM

We finished our celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Persuasion by reading, then discussing,

the original manuscript of the heavily rewritten last chapters.

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September Meeting

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Panera Bread (3401 Blvd. of the Allies, Oakland)

We gathered and got our food 11am-12 pm
Business Meeting and Discussion 12-2 pm

Protocol and Prospects: Possible Pairings Across Works

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Jane Austen Festival and Regency Ball 2017

March 24-25, 2017

Click to view highlight video



“The Source for the Theatricals of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park: A Discovery”

Dr. Sayre Greenfield

Saturday, January 28, 2017

11:30 Meet and Greet
Luncheon at Noon

The Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center
100 Lytton Avenue, 15213
(about one block from the Pittsburgh Athletic Association)


” . . . the inclination to act was awakened, and in no one more strongly than in him [Tom Bertram] who was now master of the house; and who, having so much leisure as to make almost any novelty a certain good, had likewise such a degree of lively talents and comic taste, as were exactly adapted to the novelty of acting. The thought returned again and again. “Oh for the Ecclesford theatre and scenery to try something with.” Each sister could echo the wish; and Henry Crawford, to whom, in all the riot of his gratifications it was yet an untasted pleasure, was quite alive at the idea. “I really believe,” said he, “I could be fool enough at this moment to undertake any character that ever was written, from Shylock or Richard III down to the singing hero of a farce in his scarlet coat and cocked hat. I feel as if I could be anything or everything; as if I could rant and storm, or sigh or cut capers, in any tragedy or comedy in the English language. Let us be doing something. Be it only half a play, an act, a scene; what should prevent us?”We know that the Austen family enjoyed acting at home–but Sayre will share with us more insight into this brilliant theatrical interlude in Mansfield Park.


Jane Austen Needle Case Craft

1-3 pm Saturday, October 29, 2016

Monroeville Public Library

Creative, practical and resourceful aunt that she was, Jane Austen once gave her niece the gift of a handmade needle case.  Join our own Aunt/Niece duo – Tracy Happe and Amy Mannerino – for a crafting session to create a lovely needle case for yourself or a friend.  No sewing experience necessary!  This simple project can be completed without needle and thread.

Emma at 200!

Saturday, September 24, 3:00-5:00JASNA Pittsburgh’s President’s House

Just how much amorous mischief and misunderstanding can a genteel young woman stir up in a country village? Brush up on all of the riddles and hubbub in Highbury and gather at the Squirrel Hill Library for some lively discussion of Jane Austen’s novel, Emma, moderated by Amy Mannerino.

Amy Mannerino is a former VP of our chapter as well as a past committee member, discussion moderator and presenter at our Jane Austen Festivals.

This event is free.  No RSVP required.

Luncheon and Illustrated Lecture

“English Pleasure Gardens – The Trolley Parks of Olde England”

 Presented by Sandra Inman

Saturday, September 26, 2015

“There is to be a grand gala on Tuesday evening in Sydney Gardens, a concert, with illuminations and fireworks.”

(letter written by Jane Austen – Queen Square:Sunday June 2, 1799)

Over 200 outdoor pleasure gardens and tea gardens proliferated in London from the 17th to the early 19th centuries.  The modest tea gardens of inns and taverns offered bowling greens, play tables, or ponds.  The most luxurious pleasure gardens of Vauxhall and Ranelagh boasted diversions in the form of concerts, supper boxes within vast rotundas, illuminated fountains and groves.

JASNA member Sandra Inman will give us an entertaining, illustrated talk on these venues and the social role they played, especially during the Regency Era.

The luncheon will be held at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Avenue. Valet parking available. We’ll gather from 11:30 on, with luncheon beginning at noon.


Mark your calendars! Our next two events will be on Saturday, November 7 and Saturday, December 5.




Fall Luncheon

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Pittsburgh Athletic Association
Gather at 11:30 in the Medallion Room; Luncheon served at Noon

We’ll discuss:
“Who is your favorite minor character, and why?”
We can’t all be Lizzie Bennett! And some of us don’t want to be Fanny Price! Excluding the romantic leads of the novels or other works, which minor character do you love (or love to hate)? What is a minor character, anyway?
Expect laughter and some interesting insights from your fellow Janeites at our FallLuncheon. You are welcome to bring a brief selection to read aloud to illustrate your point.

Luncheon Selections

Watercress ped cream).

Valet parking available.




Pears Stewed Purple
Sunday, October 5, 2014 from 1:30 to 3:30


Join us to cook over the hearth-fire in western Pennsylvania at the late 18th century house: Woodville Plantation. Located at 1375 Washington Pike, Bridgeville PA 15017, this historic building is just 10 minutes off the Parkway
(take the Carnegie exit).

Directions can be found here:

Pears Stewed Purple is found in The Art of Cookery made plain and easy by Hannah Glasse. This is the best known English cookery book of the Georgian era. From the time of its first publication in 1747 it enjoyed continuous and extraordinary popularity, and was still being republished well into the next century. After cooking, we move to the meeting house where we’ll enjoy our treat, have tea (potluck contributions encouraged!) and try our hand at playing Speculation, a noisy gambling game that Jane Austen mentions several times.


Cost is $10 and pre-registration is required. Mail your check made out to JASNA Pittsburgh to Susan Cohen at 109 Emerson Avenue, First Floor, Aspinwall, PA 15215.  Space is limited register early!

What shall I do, Sir Thomas? [asked Lady Bertram] Whist and speculation; which will amuse me most? Sir Thomas, after a moments thought, recommended speculation. He was a whist player himself, and perhaps might feel that it would not much amuse him to have her for a partner. Very well, was her ladyships contented answer; then speculation, if you please, Mrs. Grant. I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me. Here Fanny interposed, however, with anxious protestations of her own equal ignorance; she had never played the game nor seen it played in her life; and Lady Bertram felt a moments indecision again; but upon everybody’s assuring her that nothing could be so easy, that it was the easiest game on the cards, and Henry Crawford stepping forward with a most earnest request to be allowed to sit between her ladyship and Miss Price, and teach them both, it was so settled; and Sir Thomas, Mrs. Norris, and Dr. and Mrs. Grant being seated at the table of prime intellectual state and dignity, the remaining six, under Miss Crawford’s direction, were arranged round the other. It was a fine arrangement for Henry Crawford, who was close to Fanny, and with his hands full of business, having two persons cards to manage as well as his own; for though it was impossible for Fanny not to feel herself mistress of the rules of the game in three minutes, he had yet to inspirit her play, sharpen her avarice, and harden her heart, which, especially in any competition with William, was a work of some difficulty; and as for Lady Bertram, he must continue in charge of all her fame and fortune through the whole evening; and if quick enough to keep her from looking at her cards when the deal began, must direct her in whatever was to be done with them to the end of it.  He was in high spirits, doing everything with happy ease, and preeminent in all the lively turns, quick resources, and playful impudence that could do honour to the game; and the round table was altogether a very comfortable contrast to the steady sobriety and orderly silence of the other.

Here’s a link to the instructions:


Two Fabulous Free JASNA Pittsburgh Events!

Potluck Picnic at Box Hill
Saturday, May 31, 2014
12-2 pm
At the Memorial Grove Shelter in Highland Park
We won’t behave as badly as Emma did and we’ll have much more fun! Bring your favorite short passage from any of Austen’s works to read aloud to the group.JASNA will provide beverages and paper products–you provide your favorite picnic specialty. Please consider bringing a label describing what’s in your dish for those who have food allergies. The shelter is close to roadside parking. You can find a map here: to is helpful but not required.
Free Movie Screening!

From Prada to Nada
Saturday, June 21, 2014
2-5 pm

At the Cooper-Siegel Community Library 403 Fox Chapel Road Pittsburgh, PA 15238
From Prada to Nada is an American romantic comedy film directed by Angel Gracia. The plot is based on Jane Austen’s first-published novel and presents a Latino version of the story. In this version, two spoiled sisters are left penniless after their father’s sudden death and are forced to go live with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles. They must sell their expensive cars and Prada purses just to survive. With nada in the bank account, will they find true love?

Pride & Prejudice Screening

Thursday, January 23 at 7 pm

Post-Screening Discussion led by Michelle Senko, JASNA Pittsburgh member Pittsburgh Filmmakers

Melwood Theater, 477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

Tickets are $8 ($7 for students or seniors)

Also, mark your calendars for a screening and discussion of Sense & Sensibility, Thursday, February 20

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

“Investigating Austen’s Condescension”

Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield

editors of Jane Austen in Hollywood

Mr Collins boasted that: “he had never in his life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank — such affability and condescension, as he had himself experienced from Lady Catherine. She had been graciously pleased to approve of both the discourses which he had already had the honour of preaching before her. She had also asked him twice to dine at Rosings, and had sent for him only the Saturday before, to make up her pool of quadrille in the evening. Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by many people he knew, but he had never seen anything but affability in her.”
Please consider patronizing us for an afternoon of lofty conversation and an exciting presentation at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  We’ll meet starting at11:30 and luncheon will be served at noon.

Jane Austen Birthday Tea,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

2 – 4 p.m., Pittsburgh Athletic Association

You may have your share of the conversation! and Games as well!

Tea with scones, pastries and seasonal fresh fruit–no savouries.

$22/person; $20/person for JASNA or JASNA Pittsburgh Members

Well! This is brilliant indeed! This is admirable! — Excellently contrived, upon my word. Nothing wanting. Could not have imagined it. So well lighted up. Jane, Jane, look — did you ever see any thing? Oh! Mr. Weston, you must really have had Aladdin’s lamp. . . .  This is meeting quite in fairy-land! Such a transformation! Upon my word, this is charming to be standing about among such friends! And such a noble fire! I am quite roasted. No coffee, I thank you, for me — never take coffee. A little tea if you please, sir, by and bye, — no hurry — Oh! here it comes. Everything so good!. . . . dear Jane, how shall we ever recollect half the dishes for grandmamma? Soup too! Bless me! I should not be helped so soon, but it smells most excellent, and I cannot help beginning.

No drop-ins, please! We must give poor Mrs Reynolds enough notice to prepare the sweetmeats.

Membership of $10 for 2014 is due! Membership helps support our programming and gives you slight discounts on some activities.

Pompions & Prejudice

An open-hearth cooking activity

Sunday, November 3, 2013, from 12:00 to 2:30, at Woodville Plantation

“…the time between breakfast and dinner was now passed by him either at work in the garden, or in reading and writing, and looking out of window in his own book room, which fronted the road.”

This passage from chapter 30 of Pride and Prejudice, referencing Mr. Collins’ garden, sets the topic for our Sunday, November 3 gathering of the Pittsburgh JASNA group.

We will be conjuring the spirit of the 18th century by meeting at Woodville Plantation for another kitchen event. Because of the season, we will be preparing recipes involving pumpkins—or pompions, as they likely were called, since the French brought this delightfully complex vegetable to England.

Our stuffed pumpkins and other ‘pompion delights’ will be cooked in the 18th century style, over open flame and in the period outdoor oven. (Dress casually and appropriately for the outdoors and wood fire cooking!)

After our food preparation, and perhaps during the cooking of the food, we will discuss Lads, Cads and Dads: Men in Pride and Prejudice. If you happen to own a rare edition of Pompion and Prejudice, perhaps you might share a passage or two….

The meeting will be limited to the first 22 people who register. The cost is $12.00 for members $14 for non-members. Now is a good time to renew your 2014 membership: dues of $10 can also be included!

Movie Viewing: Austenland

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 – 5:30 PM show Regent Square Theater 1035 South Braddock Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15218

Tickets are $9.00/adult After the show, those interested will go out to eat and discuss the film.

Her life-size paper doll of Mr. Darcy and her “I Love Darcy” tote may be tattered, but even in her 30s, Jane hasn’t out-grown her obsession with all things Jane Austen. She saves enough to fulfill her dream of stepping into Austen’s world and heads to Austenland for an “immersive” vacation to eschew all things modern. And it couldn’t be more perfect: There’s an imposing manor with verdant grounds for afternoon promenades, rosy-faced servants, trusty steeds for hunting expeditions, gilded drawing rooms for evenings spent in polite conversation, and yes, gallant young suitors. Starring Keri Russell, this is a wickedly funny, irreverent romantic comedy, featuring a malapropism-peppered performance by Jennifer Coolidge and an impeccable cast of archetypal characters. (Jerusha Hess; USA; 2013; 97 min)

Spring Luncheon
“From Crumpets to Strumpets”

Our Spring Luncheon will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Avenue, 15213.

We’ll begin with a discussion of how the “Bad Girls” in Austen’s works move outside the boundaries of social conventions in order to earn their reputations. But are these reputations earned by today’s standards, once we brush aside the crumbs of social conventions? Would we reject these women today, or would we embrace them as our friends and celebrate their behaviors and style? We may also consider the role played by men in helping to shape such reputations: is there a bad boy behind every bad girl, or does the bad girl choose her own fate? The discussion will be followed by a game designed to celebrate the day’s theme, encouraging our typical good banter and civilized customs.

Luncheon choices:

  • Sun-dried Tomato-Crusted Salmon
  • Herb Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Roasted Vegetable Ravioli (with cream sauce)

Meals come with seasonal garden vegetable medley, wild rice pilaf, salad, rolls, and coffee/tea/iced tea. Dessert: Mississipi Mud Pie. We will do our best to accomodate any noted dietary restrictions. Please contact Kevin at for information.

Cost: JASNA members $18
Guests: $21

Coming in the Spring of 2013: the Second Jane Austen Festival of Pittsburgh

The Jane Austen Society was mentioned on Eleventh Stack, a blog of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh! A big thanks to Maria for the shout out and great highlights about several Austen-related books.

Check our Maria’s entry. She states: “I am not in the least bit interested in the ‘fan fiction,’ those original works that expand or attempt to rewrite Austen’s works. So there are no zombies, vampires, or bedroom Darcys here.

JASNA Pittsburgh Announces Student Awardees

The Pittsburgh chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) sponsored its first annual undergraduate paper writing contest in 2011. The group recognized two Allegheny College students as awardees at their first annual conference, entitled “More than fifteen minutes of fame!” on March 12, 2011. First place was awarded to Annie Nebo, while second place went to Julie Ropelewski. Both women are English majors at the small liberal arts college located in Meadville, PA. They received small monetary prizes and entry to the March conference, where they were recognized for their achievement. Joslyn Dechant, a student at Clarion University, was awarded Honorable Mention.

Centered on the theme of How Jane Austen Changed My Life, the undergraduate competition was promoted throughout the southwestern Pennsylvania region. “We want to celebrate Austen and encourage her next generation of fans,” explains Mell Steven Cosnek, President of JASNA Pittsburgh. “Austen was an active writer throughout most of her life, and the paper competition is a way to recognize students that share her passion,” Ms. Cosnek adds.

Both awardees are Austen devotees, and their winning papers and academic work are centered on the author’s work and influence upon the literary world. Ms. Nybo completed a semester abroad in England, where she conducted educational tours of Bath as part of her internship at the Jane Austen Centre. Currently in her senior year, she recognizes Austen’s influence in her decision to travel. “I can now honestly say that there are seven countries I would never have visited, one internship I would not have held, ten English homes I would not have seen, and over two hundred and thirty people I would never have met had it not been for Jane Austen,” she states. Ms. Ropelewski’s world also expanded after discovering Austen, and the junior now serves as a consultant in the Allegheny College writing center, tutors fellow students, and participates in the English Honor Society. “Aside from feeling supremely honored, I’m so happy to help spread the message that literature can change lives,” she said, upon learning of her award.

Membership for 2012:

JASNA Pittsburgh memberships for the 2012 calendar year are due for renewal! We also welcome new members. Membership is just $10 per person, and paid members receive a discount to local meetings AND the upcoming Jane Austen Festival in Pittsburgh! Are you looking forward to our next Festival in 2013? Only current members will receive early registration and discount benefits. Please contact Kevin at for directions or making arrangements to join or renew.

Jane Austen Botanical Gifts

Jane Austen’s House Museum has produced a new line of gifts inspired by photographs from the Head Gardener, Celia Simpson. Aptly titled the Garden Range, the gifts feature botanical illustrations from classic English flowers such as Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums and Foxglove. The Garden Range includes a new Christmas card, individual greeting cards, stationary, bookmarks, key rings and note pads. PLUS: wrap your gifts with Jane Austen style this year with four new choices of wrapping paper: the botanical design, a Christmas botanical, Chawton Cottage, or Mr. Darcy (illustration based on Colin Firth surrounded by hearts!)

If you can’t make it to Chawton Cottage, the range is available in the U.S. exclusively from

This company is owned by our own former President, Carol Chernega, who was also the first International Visitor for JASNA. Carol worked with Celia in Chawton’s garden, and is thrilled to be involved in this new Chawton Cottage venture.

All of your purchases benefit the Chawton Cottage gift shop.

JASNA Pittsburgh, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Tribune-Review Theater Critic Alice T. Carter explores the “dark, moody” men of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte’s novels.

Please click this link to the full article. Carter’s article quotes JASNA Pittsburgh’s own Kevin Stemmler (President) and Mell Steven Cosnek (Former President).

Previous Announcements and Meetings:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The JASNA Pittsburgh December tea, at the First Unitarian Church in Shadyside, was in recognition of Jane Austen’s birthday. We enjoyed refreshments and a fun Jane Austen-centered game, led by our own Jim Zunic.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Jane Austen Society of North America Pittsburgh held their 2011 Fall luncheon and meeting on Saturday, October 1 at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association (4215 Fifth Avenue in Oakland.)

Bonnie L. Reese, Curator of Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, shared insights into the 18th century lives of women from Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Manchester Family. Manchester Farms was founded in 1797 by Isaac Manchester, who completed construction on a three story brick colonial home in 1815. It was patterned after the finest homes in Newport, Rhode Island. All the bricks were made of clay, dug and baked on the farm, and the timber was cut and cured on site. The home is complete with kitchen in the basement to a widow’s walk on the roof. Join us for discussion on what life was like for American women around the time of Jane Austen’s life.

As the founder of Preserving Life’s Journey, Bonnie L. Reese is dedicated to preserving our rich history, traditions and cultures, bringing to life each unique family story. As a PhD candidate, author, researcher, guest lecturer and museum curator, her research is driven by a desire to extract meaning from a material culture existing from the 17th to 20th century. It has been personally and professionally rewarding to preserve thousands of artifacts and archival materials at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Ms. Reese’s desire is to share the untold stories found in these hidden treasures, and she has published award winning articles in several historic and professional publications.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The JASNA Pittsburgh Summer Tea included a tour of historic Woodville Plantation. Woodville and Neville House are Southwestern Pennsylvania’s principal links to the late 18th century, interpreting the time period of 1780-1825. We saw what life was like for Jane Austen’s American contemporaries! After the tour, JASNA hosted tea and discussion of the novel Emma in the Plantation’s Still House.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We held a Brown Bag Film Presentation and Discussion of a Bollywood re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma at the Bridgeville Public Library (505 McMillen Street, Bridgeville, PA 15017). It was a fun afternoon of film and discussion.

After successfully arranging the marriage of her spinster aunt, Chitra, to Colonel Singh, self-styled ‘Event Manager’ Aisha Kapoor decides to turn matchmaker. She is convinced that she can find the right match for anyone, including naive and innocent Shefali. Chaos ensues after Aisha decides to makeover Shefali into a modern and fashionable woman. Will Aisha be successful in her efforts, or will her matchmaking prove to be too much?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

JASNA Pittsburgh’s first annual Jane Austen Festival

The Pittsburgh region of The Jane Austen Society of North America held a day-long Jane Austen Festival and Assembly Ball. The day was dedicated to celebrating and examining the work of Jane Austen! Speakers included:

  • Gaelen Foley, NY Times bestselling author of fifteen adventure-filled historical romances set in the Regency period;
  • Linda Troost and Sayre Greenfield, Professors of English and editors of Jane Austen in Hollywood.

Registration, Costume Rental and Regency Emporium opened at 9 am, while the conference, with multiple concurrent workshop sessions, took place between 10 am and 5 pm. Workshop topics included costume, gardens, dancing rules and etiquette of the period, Austen in films, and more.

The evening’s Assembly Ball and live music was a fun way to end the day, and encouraged participants to practice what they learned in dance workshops that were offered during the conference.

For complete information about the event please click here for the Festival Brochure.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jane Austen: Great Writer

JASNA Pittsburgh held its annual December tea, in recognition of Jane Austen’s 235th birthday, in the parlor of the Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213.

In addition to sharing birthday cake, we watched and discussed the short documentary: Great Women Writers: Jane Austen. This episode is one of a series presenting an informative and entertaining look at some of the greatest women writers of all time. The documentary provides an in-depth look into Jane’s life, and includes numerous references to her work and style and features many rare archival photographs and period imagery.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Jane Austen Society of North America Pittsburgh held our 2010 Fall luncheon and meeting at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Since JASNA’s 2010 Annual General Meeting (in Portland, Oregon) has selected Northanger Abbey as the focus for the weekend, and most of us can’t make it to the west coast this year, JASNA Pittsburgh had our own discussion of the novel. Did Jane Austen predict modern day’s “metrosexual man?” How do the characters in this novel compare to others? We engaged in lively and spirited conversation.

Saturday, July 17, 2010:

Summer Tea with Spin-Your-Head Austen Fanfic, Mashups and more!

We enjoyed a Presentation on Austen Prequels, Sequels, Continuations, Monster Mash-ups and more, followed by a discussion of several books listed below. After being asked to recommend some of our favorites (of which we have many) we wanted to cover several categories: a “diary” of a hero, a sweet sequel by an relatively unknown but talented Canadian author, a modern supernatural story that made us laugh, and a Gothick “horrid” tale.

Darcy and Anne, by Judith Brocklehurst

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, by Amanda Grange.

Jane Bites Back, by Michael Thomas Ford

An Assembly Such as This, vol. 1 in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy by Pamela Aidan.

And our current favorite mashup is Maggie Sullivan’s The League of Austen’s Extraordinary Gentlemen, parts 1-7. The first episode is viewable here: but read ‘em all and laff!

Saturday, March 6, 2010:

Tea and Film Screening – Lost in Austen

Many Janeites love modern spins on classic novels. JASNA Pittsburgh assembled on Saturday, March 6, 2010, for a free screening of the four-part 2008 British television series Lost in Austen. The afternoon included tea, film highlights, and discussion at the Upper St. Clair Community Recreation Center, located at 1551 Mayview Road, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241.

Lost in Austen, produced by the British ITV Network, has had limited television broadcast in the United States. This witty comedy examines the life of Amanda Price, a 21st century heroine and Austen fan who longs for the courtly manners of gentlemen like Mr. Darcy. But Amanda threatens to derail the plot of literature’s greatest love story when she pops into the pages of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet is nowhere to be found, and Amanda triggers new romantic attachments and dilemmas within the Regency novel as she clumsily tries to help the sisters secure the rightful husbands. Will she succeed, or will she forever alter the beloved conclusion of Pride and Prejudice?

Sunday, April 10, 2010:

The Jane Austen Society of North America, Pittsburgh gathered for our 2010 Spring luncheon and meeting on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Assembled guests participated in an All Things Austen Quiz and Competition, vying for team champion bragging rights and lovely Chawton-inspired prizes. Questions addressed Jane’s writing, life, and books and films based on her work. Who among us knew the most Jane Austen Trivia? The Pemberettes brought their best game, edging out The Collins Congregation and the Netherfield Know-Nothings. Three lucky individuals from the second and third place teams also took home Jane-related books as door prizes.

December 12, 2009:

JASNA Pittsburgh celebrated Jane Austen’s Birthday on Saturday, December 12 at the Society of Friends Meeting House, located at 4836 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside (15213). We also took a nostalgic trip back to 1940 and the making of MGM’s Pride and Prejudice. With our own Jim Zunic, we looked at MGM (“more stars than there are in heaven”) and the people who had a connection with the film, including some who may surprise you! We journied to the time when powerful movie studios stood tall and the country of the two leading players, in a war with the Nazis for its very existence, stood alone. Film excerpts highlighted some of the major controversies surrounding this production.

Later that evening, we had a festive holiday night of English Country Dance with live music, focusing on dances from the Austen movies and Jane Austen’s own time. It was also at the Society of Friends Meeting House. Click here to view the flyer.

The Country Dance & Song Society of Pittsburgh was founded by Englishman Cecil Sharp in one of his song-collecting visits to America in 1915. CDSSP offers monthly English country dances to the public with live music–all dances taught. CDSSP’s performance team has danced at many local historical sites and events and features late 18th century dance in costume of the period.

September, 2009:

The Jane Austen Society of North America Pittsburgh held our 2009 Fall luncheon and meeting on Saturday, September 26 at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Having made Northanger Abbey the focus of reading groups and discussion during 2009, the group viewed selections from the only two film adaptations of the novel: the spooky and gothic 1986 BBC/A&E production featuring Katharine Schlesinger and Peter Firth and the 2007 ITV/Granada production (with an Andrew Davies screenplay) featuring Felicity Jones and JJ Field. Does Northanger Abbey make for bad film? Both versions have been heavily criticized. Discussion followed the film excerpts.

Guests also took part in a challenging NA quiz based on events within the novel. A set of the recently published Jane Austen comic series was awarded to the highest score.

June, 2009:

JASNA Pittsburgh’s summer tea was held on a sunny summer afternoon at a member’s home in Natrona Heights, PA. Members and guests contributed goodies and gathered on a shady porch to discuss Northanger Abbey. We dusted off our horrid novels as we examined the (mis)adventures of Catherine Moreland, Jane Austen’s youngest heroine.

April 30 to May 3, 2009:

Westminster College Theatre staged Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (adapted by Christina Calvit) April 30 through May 3, 2009 at Beeghly Theater. JASNA Pittsburgh’s own Allison Thompson acted as choreographer and historic consultant for the production. If you’d like to view a short “behind-the-scenes” segment with interviews, check out:

March 21, 2009:

JASNA members from across Western PA gathered for our annual Spring Meeting and Luncheon at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland. Guest speaker and historical re-enactor John G. Ogden, of the First Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, presented America’s War of 1812 in the context of the Napoleonic Wars. Private Ogden provided personal and detailed accounts of War of 1812 campaigns, both glorious and disastrous, and how conflicts between Bonaparte’s France and Great Britain combined with long-standing grievances between the United States and Great Britain. Since Charles Austen (JA’s youngest brother) served on the North American front during this war, this was of special interest to Janeites.

February 15, 2009:

JASNA Pittsburgh gathered for our annual Winter Tea in the South Hills. Members and guests took turns reading aloud, between bouts of hilarity, from Jane Austen’s Juvenilia. If you have not (recently) read Volumes the First, Second and Third, don’t overlook these short gems, written during Austen’s adolesence.

November 30, 2008:

We gathered at a member’s home to celebrate Jane’s 233rd birthday with tea and much merriment. Master Gardener Carol Chernega, JASNA’s first international visitor to Chawton House and Library, shared her research on 18th century plants and lead group discussion about flowers and herbs as related to Jane’s novels and characters.

October 11, 2008:

JASNA Pittsburgh gathered for our Autumn luncheon and meeting on Saturday, October 11th at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association.

Linda Troost, Professor and Chair of English at Washington & Jefferson College, and Sayre Greenfield, Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, presented “The City and the Country in Persuasion on Film.” Sayre and Linda, both members of JASNA Pittsburgh, presented at the Jane Austen Society of Australia’s 2008 conference in New South Wales.

Fall 2008:

Realism in Jane Austen’s Fiction LI4248

Class examines print and film versions of Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion as narratives of a social and historical era marked by specific story-telling conventions. As the idea of the novel as entertainment was beginning to unfold in the 18th Century, Jane Austen challenged the notion of the hysterical heroine in search of a rescuer. The personal and environmental forces guiding Austen’s pen will be considered. Text to be used is 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Jane Austen: The Truth about the World’s Most Ingriguing Romantic Literary Heroine. Class participants are asked to read the first 10 chapters of Northanger Abbey for the first class.

Teacher is Erika Pertoll, an adjunct faculty member in English at Community College of Allegheny County, and an instructor in literature and writing courses in the Osher Program.

August 16, 2008:

During the summer of 2008 JASNA Western PA/Pittsburgh personally experienced the historic authenticity of Woodville Plantation’s Neville House. Following a docent led tour, participants had the opportunity to take afternoon tea and sample fruits and vegetables from the plantation’s heirloom garden.

It’s easy to imagine yourself in one of Jane’s novels as you walk through the beautiful eighteenth century American home known as Neville House. Woodville Plantation , located just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is one of only 2,500 National Historic Landmarks in the United States. The window panes of Neville House still bear the signatures of its historic guests and relatives, engraved with the point of a diamond. Photos of the house are available at

July 20, 2008:

JASNA Pittsburgh held our Summer Tea on Sunday, July 20. Over tea and goodies, friends gathered to chat about all things Jane and read to the group a beloved passage or quote. Selections included one of Jane’s essays as well as excerpts from several of her novels. The guests agreed that is was a pleasant way to pass a rainy summer afternoon.

June 7, 2008:

JASNA members, friends and guests met at Northland Public Library in the North Hills to view snippets from two versions of Persuasion: the 1995 theatrical film (starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds) and the 2007 Masterpiece television release (starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones.) Janeites deliberated the pros and cons of adapting Austen’s work for media: can any writer/producer/director completely satisfy our very high standards? With dramatically different characterizations and endings, opinions were divided on these two productions. The 1995 film has developed quite a loyal following, but many people questioned the recent release’s decision to have Anne make a mad dash through the streets of Bath. Both films are available on DVD if other fans would like to view these productions and draw their own conclusions.

April 5, 2008:

JASNA Spring Luncheon: We had lively conversation and lunch at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. Dr. Laura Engel, Assistant Professor for the English Department of Duquesne University and a member of JASNA Pittsburgh, presented Much Ado About Muffs: Actresses, Accessories, and Austen. When Jane Austen was a teenager in the late 1780s several portraits of well-known actresses holding muffs were painted by a variety of famous artists including Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Laura presented these paintings, along with satiric prints of grotesque muffs that appeared simultaneously in the press, and explore how the muff functions in these images as a sign of fashion and style and as a sign of crass accumulation and overt sexuality. She also examined how this vexed cultural dynamic of female celebrity is reflected in Austen’s depiction of muffs as accessories that dramatize the conflicts inherent in female performance, display, and desire. A big thanks to Dr. Engel for a fantastic presentation!

February 17, 2008:

JASNA Winter Tea: Members and friends gathered to share sweets, savories and tea. Vigorous discussion about the PBS Complete Jane Austen and other films ensued. What would Jane think of the new Films? We elected officers for 2008. Congratulations to the new officers, and thank you to those who are continuing to perform their duties for another year.

December 16, 2007:

Group trip to the Matinee (2:00) performance of Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre‘s Pride and Prejudice. Group discount to Pittsburgh Chapter members.

December 12, 2007:

President Carol Chernega presented a pre-performance lecture at PICT‘s production of Pride and Prejudice. 7:00 pm at the Charity Randall Theatre at the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland.

December 2, 2007:

We celebrated Jane Austen’s Birthday at our traditional Birthday Tea. JASNA Pittsburgh provided a birthday cake. We played a rousing trivia game related to contemporaries of Jane Austen.