Beloved Janeite Lorraine Hanaway died on August 26, 2020. She was in at the founding of JASNA, meeting Joan Austen-Leigh and Henry Burke in Chawton in July 1975 and becoming a member from the organization’s beginnings in 1979. Her influence has been felt throughout JASNA since its founding. As Elizabeth Steele recalls, “Lorraine was so instrumental in the Society’s formation, that co-founder Jack Grey called her ‘the fourth member of the holy Trinity’ of JASNA’s three official founders.” Lorraine was elected to JASNA’s first Board of Directors. She established the Philadelphia Region, serving as its first Regional Coordinator, and in 1983 she coordinated JASNA’s fifth annual meeting, focusing on Emma in Philadelphia. Lorraine served as JASNA’s third president from 1984 through 1988. In that office she worked not only to define the goals of JASNA but also to begin strategic planning, to “broaden and increase the participation of members,” to strengthen the regions, and to start a newsletter. The creation of JASNA News (then published twice a year) strengthened the ties among members of the fledgling organization, containing regional news, Quips and Quotes, news of future AGMs, and other items of interest. Her presidential letters in Persuasions document the doubling of JASNA’s membership and the expansion of its activities. And those letters display real generosity to those working with her on JASNA’s behalf.
Lorraine’s invention of JASNA News also had an impact on Persuasions. It allowed the journal to focus on publishing longer and more substantial contributions—a change that the growth of the annual general meetings made desirable. In fact, Lorraine did much more for Persuasions than merely to free up space formerly occupied by organizational news. She also participated on the editorial team as a co-editor, associate editor, or assistant editor for numbers 2 through 8 and 10 through 19—in other words, for seventeen years, from 1980 through 1997. During her presidency she announced that the library journal Choice had defined Persuasions as “of extreme interest to libraries.”
JASNA’s current president, Liz Philosophos Cooper, pays tribute to Lorraine’s importance to our organization:
Lorraine’s contributions to JASNA are long lasting. She helped grow the Society while putting processes and structures in place to give it a firm footing for the future. She believed that in fulfilling our mission of bringing people together who love Jane Austen “volunteers are everything”—especially Regional Coordinators, “the heart and soul” of JASNA.
In 1992, Lorraine was named an Honorary Life Member of the JASNA Board. She faithfully attended the board meetings, offering wise counsel even at her final AGM, in Washington, D.C., in 2016. Elizabeth Steele underscores her significance: “years of devotion on her part have given the rest of us countless joys. Every JASNA member owes Lorraine a debt of gratitude.”
But Lorraine’s impact was also personal. Inger Brodey recollects with gratitude her first connections with Lorraine through her graduate student entries in JASNA’s essay contest. Lorraine and her husband, Bill, “seemed a regal presence at all JASNA events,” but also, Inger remembers, “what a pleasure it was to see them every AGM, and to get a hug from them in person (back when we did those reckless things).” Juliet McMaster recalls their warmth and wit:
I remember Lorraine and Bill Hanaway especially for their cheerful and encouraging presence at AGMs in JASNA’s relatively early days. Jack Grey was the first to encourage delegates to come to the banquet in period dress at his historic AGM at the Waldorf Astoria in 1987. We weren’t used to it yet. And when I first donned my guy’s outfit—cut-away jacket and jabot, etc.—I found I couldn't face my reflection as I walked alone down those mirror-lined corridors of the Waldorf. As Sir Walter, in the face of mirrors, I was a failure. I had to duck into the Hanaways’ room on the way.
“No, no, not Sir Walter!” Lorraine cheerfully braced me up. “But, Mr. Darcy, I’d be delighted if you’d hand me to dinner.”
The kind of relationships Lorraine fostered actually define JASNA. Liz underscores this point: “Over the years, Lorraine provided encouragement and was a friend to many, including me. She was much loved. Memory eternal.” And as Inger writes, “I’m forever grateful to Lorraine for her part in founding such a wonderful organization. I can’t imagine how my life would have been without JASNA these past decades. Thank you, Lorraine, and may you rest in peace.”