California, Southwest Region
At the Seaside with Jane Austen
May 19, 2012

128 members and guests of JASNA Southwest enjoyed a happy day at the seaside at the beautiful Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.  Four fascinating talks were interspersed with fabulous food provided by Back at the Beach Catering, tours of the Marion Davies Guest House, and strolls on the Santa Monica Beach.  It was a perfect southern California day: the overcast was gone by 10 AM and the sun shone brightly, but at a gentle 74 degrees, on beachgoers and attendees alike throughout the day.  We all overcame the temptation to stay outside and enjoy the sun because of the high quality of the speakers and the beautiful views from the conference room.

Iris Lutz
Iris Lutz

JASNA president Iris Lutz presented a fascinating slideshow and lecture explaining the “Houses in Jane Austen’s Life and Fiction.”

Dr. Jan Fahey, a JASNA-SW member and an environmental scientist specializing in water quality, mentioned the unmentionable.  She told us all about waste management (or MIS-management) in Regency times in her talk entitled “Plucking a Rose under the Crescent Moon.”

Morning coffee and scones and, later, lunch were catered by Fred Deni of Back at the Beach and was served al fresco in front of the Marion Davies Guest House.

Diana Birchall, a JASNA-SW member and favorite JASNA author, uncovered a close relationship between Jane and the sea in her talk entitled: “‘A Little Sea-Bathing Would Set Me up Forever’ – Jane Austen and the Seaside.”

Christy McAvoy an Architectural Historian and founding principal of Historic Resources Group – an architectural preservation firm in Los Angeles, shared information about another strong creative woman, Julia Morgan, the architect of the Marion Davies Beach House.  We learned the fascinating history of the relationship between William Randolph Hearst and his architect, Miss Morgan and saw many slides of her creations, located all over California.

—Claire Bellanti

Enjoying the sun at lunch in front of the Marion Davies Guest House