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Meet Charles Dickens and his SU Press friends Dec. 9 at OHA Museum
Meet Charles Dickens and his SU Press friends Dec. 9 at OHA MuseumNovember 08, 2007Mona Hamlinmhamlin@syr.edu
On Sunday, Dec. 9, from 2-4 p.m., the Onondaga Historical Association is offering a special treat for the holiday season. Those stopping at the OHA Museum will have the opportunity to meet a special visitor from the past, Charles Dickens, whose free presentation will help get patrons in the holiday spirit. At the same time, over half a dozen more contemporary authors, whose books are published by Syracuse University Press, will be present to sign recent books focusing on upstate New York history.
Copies will be available through the OHA Museum Gift Shop that day with a special one-day discount. Also, refreshments will be served by none other than Mrs. Bob Cratchit, and visitors will have a chance to participate in a raffle for a basket of special holiday surprises.
Dickens, portrayed by professional actor Scott Peal, is not unknown in Syracuse, although he last visited almost 140 years ago. In 1868, the famous English author stopped in the Salt City to tender readings from his “The Pickwick Papers” and “A Christmas Carol.” He performed on the stage of Clinton Square’s Wieting Hall, a space that predated the famous opera house. Local reviewers were surprised by his small stature but generally complimented his “power of expression.”
Dickens, however, had the misfortune of arriving in Syracuse in early March. He reported that Syracuse was, “a very grim place in a heavy thaw.” Nevertheless, he was pleased with the attendance and ticket sales, which encouraged him for a possible return engagement. It has taken him quite a long time, but Dickens has finally been able to work Syracuse back into his busy lecturing schedule.
At the OHA Museum, he will offer amusing anecdotes from his life, and participants will enjoy his wit and wisdom as he offers a glimpse of Victorian life and its customs. He will also offer a few lessons and activities in the use of one’s faculties of observation and imagination, important talents for a successful writer. And participants will enjoy listening to Dickens read excerpts from “A Christmas Carol.”
Following his presentations, Dickens will invite everyone to visit with several other authors who will have gathered at the OHA Museum for a historical book signing. Books by those authors present can be purchased that day at the OHA Museum Gift Shop.
Syracuse University Press authors scheduled to be at the OHA Museum that afternoon will be Dennis Connors, “Crossroad in Time: An Illustrated History of Syracuse”; Robert Bogdan, “Real Photo Postcard Guide: The People’s Photography,” “Adirondack Vernacular: The Photography of Henry M. Beach”; Milton Sernett, “Abolition’s Axe: Beriah Green, Oneida Institute and the Black Freedom Struggle” and “North Star Country: Upstate New York & The Crusade for African American Freedom”; Jim Pula, “Ethnic Utica” and “New York Mills: The Evolution of a Village”; Anthony Wonderley, “Oneida Iroquois: Folklore, Myth and History”; Christopher Vecsey, “The Iroquois and Their Neighbors” and “Iroquois Land Claims”; and John Robert Greene, “The Hill: An Illustrated Biography of Syracuse University 1870-Present,” “Syracuse University: The Tolley Years” and “Syracuse University: The Eggers Years.”
The OHA Museum, a Connective Corridor partner, is located at 321 Montgomery St. in downtown Syracuse. Free on-street parking is available on Sundays. This event is open to the public, with free admission to the museum. All exhibit areas will be open, and the museum will be decorated for the holidays.