Dale Stinchcomb, Assistant Curator of the Harvard Theatre Collection and Ticknor Society Board member, took us on a virtual romp through Boston’s storied Theater District, from its bawdy beginnings at the edge of Boston Common to the lavish restoration of the Colonial Theatre in 2018. In its heyday, over 20 theaters crowded along a quarter-mile stretch of lower Washington Street, creating a dazzling bohemia of burlesque halls, movie palaces, dime museums, and grand stages. Today, only a handful survive. Dale has drawn heavily on local archives to illuminate the city's dramatic past in a new visual history for the Images of America series. Boston’s Theater District features over 180 images of the city past and present.
On April 17th, Maida Tilchen, winner of the 2020 Ticknor Collecting Prize, took Ticknor Society members on a virtual tour of her award-winning collection of books, periodicals, and ephemera on the book culture of New Mexico. She shared highlights from her library, including the oldest book in her collection and more unusual pieces, like a unique star-shaped book based on her own novel and a map of the state she herself embroidered. Along the way, Maida told the story of how she became fascinated with New Mexico, where she finds items to acquire, and how applying for the Ticknor Collecting Prize changed her perception of her collection.
Librarian Mark Procknik took Ticknor Society members on a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Reading Room and Archives on March 6, 2021, showing the processing and storage areas of the library, along with highlights from the collection of the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
On Thursday, January 28th, 2021, Ticknor Society members were treated to a virtual presentation by Maryanne Grebenstein, who is a professional calligrapher and owner of The Abbey Studio in Marblehead, MA. Titled "'Marley was dead': A Christmas Manuscript Three Years in the Making," the talk covered the inception, execution, and recreation of Maryanne's hand-lettered manuscript containing the complete text of Charles Dickens' classic story, A Christmas Carol. Using Dickens' exact wording (based on Dickens' original manuscript residing at The Morgan Library in New York City) her manuscript contains nearly 30,000 words: 143 hand-lettered pages of text on 26 bifolia, with 21 decorated pages. Maryanne discussed the process of preparing the pages for the different layers of decoration, materials she used, and a water disaster that led to the destruction of some of her work. Don't worry, the story has a happy ending!
The annual Show & Tell was on Thursday, December 10, 2020, and five Ticknor members shared wildly different bibliophilic interests, but with some surprising overlaps. The presenters were:
- Phoebe Bean, "A Woman's Touch: Ann Franklin Imprints"
- John Hemenway, "Howland Island, Its Birds and Rats, as Observed by a Certain Mr. Stetson in 1854."
- Jean Maguire, "Nature and Design"
- George F. Murphy, "Price of Books: Shabby American Imprints and the Legacy of Richard Price"
- Tim Weiskel, "Some New Questions from Reading Old Books: Imagining & Imaging the Agro-Ecology & Pathology of European Empire"
On November 14, 2020, The Ticknor Society held our annual Collectors' Round Table as part of the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. Ticknor president Mary Warnement began by announcing that Maida Tilchen was the winner of the 2020 George and Anna Eliot Ticknor Book and Book Culture Collecting Prize for her entry, “In Celebration of New Mexico Books and Book People.” Our panelists were: Heather O'Donnell (founder of Honey & Wax Booksellers of Brooklyn); Erika Hapke (Bernett Penka Rare Books of Boston); and Peter X. Accardo (Programs and Public Service Librarian, Houghton Library).
Sid Berger speaks about "Frankenstein in the Popular Imagination," a talk fittingly delivered on October 31, 2020.
Sidney Berger got his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in Medieval English Literature and Bibliography and Textual Scholarship. He has been a professor for 5 decades and a rare book librarian for almost 30 years. His most recent position was as the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum. He is presently Emeritus Director. He is on the faculties of the Library Schools at Simmons University and at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, where he teaches courses in rare books and special collections. He has published more than 15 books. His volume Rare Books and Special Collections (Chicago: Neal-Schuman / American Library Association, 2014) won the ABC Clio award for the Best Book in Library Literature in 2015. His publication The Dictionary of the Book: A Glossary of Terms for Book Collectors, Booksellers, Librarians, and Others (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) is now being revised for a forthcoming second edition. And his bibliomystery The Book of Death is available on Amazon. He has also published scores of articles on a variety of topics. With his wife Michele Cloonan he is the proprietor of the Doe Press.
On September 17, 2020, Angela Segalla, Director of the Collection Center, and Dan Lipcan, Head Librarian of the Phillips Library, led Ticknor Society members on a virtual tour of the Peabody Essex Museum's new 120,000-square-foot Collection Center. The facility provides state-of-the-art preservation, protection, and care of PEM's extensive collection of art and culture, and includes the Phillips Library's reading room, digitization lab, and storage space.
The Ticknor Society held its annual meeting, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 6 pm via Zoom, hosted by board member Dale Stinchcomb, with guest speaker author Jack Gantos.
Jack Gantos is the author of over fifty-five books for children, from the Rotten Ralph picture books, collections of "Jack Henry" short stories, upper elementary and middle school Joey Pigza and Norvelt novels, to middle school and young adult books— Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, Desire Lines, Hole in My Life, and The Trouble in Me. His work can lead readers from the cradle to the grave.
Mr. Gantos was a professor at Emerson College, where he developed the master's degree Program in Children's Literature, Writing and Publishing. He now spends his time writing and is an active speaker at book and literacy conferences, and in schools and libraries around the world. His works have received a Newbery Award, Scott O'Dell Award, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, Sibert Honor, he was a finalist for a National Book Award, and he is the recipient of the NCTE/ALAN AWARD for his contribution to the field of Young Adult and Children's Literature.