The first-ever meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America took place in New York City on October 5, 1979. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of our organization, twenty four JASNA-NY members gathered on Saturday October 5, 2019 for dinner at the historic Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. It is the city’s oldest restaurant, and a near contemporary of Jane’s, having opened in 1762 as the Queen’s Head Tavern. Co-organizers for the evening’s festivities were Rose Kearns and Michele Kling.
We enjoyed drinks and a multi-course meal at a long table beneath a mural depicting New York Harbor in the 17th century. Michele Kling offered a toast in which she noted that greatest significance of JASNA to us all was not the age of the organization, but the friendships we’ve built with each other because of it. Saying that if JASNA were your spouse, you’d be celebrating your ruby anniversary, she quoted from the Book of Proverbs, “A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far above rubies.” This neatly characterizes our own Jane Austen, and we raised our glasses to JASNA and “the incomparable Jane!”
After dinner, the consensus of those in attendance is that not only was the was the dinner a success, but that it should become an annual or bi-annual event.
-Michele Kling and Sarah Rose Kearns