“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
-Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Not only was Austen a wonderful writer, but an avid reader too. It is no surprise then, that even two centuries after her death in 1817, many organizations, including Omaha Public Library, still celebrate her life today. On the Saturday nearest her birth (December 16), the library has traditionally thrown a tea party in her honor. This year’s tea was attended by over 150 guests, many who came in period apparel they had made themselves!
Pictured above (top) is a group from The Jane Austen Society of North America (JANSA). Our guests dined on cucumber sandwiches and sipped tea from fancy cups with saucer while listening to Jennifer Hamilton speak about the dance revolution during the time of Jane Austen. Following the presentation, patrons were regaled with traditional 1800’s dancing performed by the Old Dominion dance company. The spirited young dancers even taught interested party guests a traditional regency dance!
Fun was had by all who attended, but for many Jane Austen is more than a historical figure to be celebrated. For several of the devoted members of JANSA, Jane Austen, and the principles she stood for, have become a lifestyle. With conferences held all over the United States each year, members travel far and wide to connect with other Austen-ians and listen to experts teach about her life. For her time, Austen was a feminist and quite radical in her views on education and ethics. It is these qualities that inspire many JANSA members to keep digging in to her works time after time.