Persuasions #5, 1983 Pages 10-12
WHO ATTENDED THE PHILADELPHIA MEETING?
“Deeply in love with Miss Jane,” “To fans, Jane Austen is like caviar,” and “Jane Austen Becoming an ’80’s Sensation” are three of the headlines seen across the continent following the Philadelphia meeting. None of these words startled the 223 JASNA members who gathered together; 17 others joined the ranks to swell to 240 the number of participants. They came from twenty-three states and four provinces, from Maine 2 to California 10, British Columbia 4 to Florida 2, from New York 72, Pennsylvania 45, Maryland 14, Alberta, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina one each. Others came from the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Ontario, Quebec, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin; from England, two came individually from Jane’s own county, Hampshire, Atherton Harrison and Mollie Thomas.
There were 24 husband-wife pairs, 3 of them with a daughter, 5 sets of each of sisters and of mother-daughters (besides the families), and probably others that we are unaware of.
We invited Mary McGrory of The Washington Post, a long-time admirer of Jane Austen, to lead a discussion, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, to send a reporter. Who can say how the others learned of us: the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Evening Sun, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS Radio (New York), and Town and Country magazine. Their stories sprang up from coast to coast. An informal tally of enquiries produced by this publicity is: The Post and L.A. Times, “dozens” each; JASNA Philadelphia, 35; Wayne Booth, 7; the Warwick Hotel, 5.
This strange business in America continues.