Thursday, April 20, 2017


A Joint JASNA Meeting: 
Middle Tennessee Region and Mississippi Region

Join us for a special multi-region event on
Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Oxford, MS

Program from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm

Admission to this MS-MidTn gathering is free and 
guests are welcome, but please
reserve space by June 1

Additional activities are planned for June 9-10, so check back for more details! 

(Schedule continues below)

Friday, April 14, 2017

May Day

"Do you want me to answer truthfully, or like a lady's maid?"

Dede Clements will host our Sunday, May 7 meeting, from 2 to 4 pm. The afternoon will reveal secrets and wisdom found in The Duties of a Lady's Maid; with Directions for Conduct and Numerous Receipts for the Toilette, recently published in a facsimile edition by Chawton House Press after the 1825 original. 

This how-to is divided into two sections: the duties of Behavior (good temper, economy, diligence, correct speaking), and the duties of Knowledge and Art (dressing for success, hair-styling, cosmetics, figure-enhancing, use and abuse of soap).

Please bring a treat to share. For directions, contact

Meeting Notes

The chapter celebrated "A Regency Christmas" at the festive home of Judy Isaac. Andrea Hearn led an audience-participation afternoon of holiday customs concerning decorations, food, and amusements, followed by a spirited game of Christmas-themed "Who Am I?". The meeting culminated with a moving birthday toast by Pat McGraw, referencing an 1808 Austen poem: "Which one of us here today will ever forget Jane Austen, 'a friend and ornament of human kind'?" 

Ready for the sherry toast!

"Don't Try This at Home: Household Remedies from the Regency Era" was the eye-opening subject of Jo Ann Staples' presentation in February, given at Montgomery Bell Academy. Jo Ann, who debuted her work at the 2015 AGM, explained the herbs, spirits, comestibles, minerals, animals, and charms employed in medical treatments of the day, and cited diseases and disorders in Austen's novels, minor works and letters (potentially hazardous coughs and colds were the most cited ailment, far outpacing fever and bilious attacks).

Fran Hardie

We are deeply saddened at the passing of longtime JASNA member and chapter founder Dr. Frances Isley Hardie. Fran, who received her Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Vanderbilt, worked at Vanderbilt University Libraries from 1968-1991, retiring as head of collections and acquisitions. An intrepid traveller who visited many Austen sites, Fran will be remembered by us fondly not only for her chapter leadership but for her dazzling smile, which warmly greeted new guests and old friends at our gatherings. Chapter members Paula Covington and Susie Russenberger spoke eloquently at a memorial service of a dear friend, bibliophile, and adventurer.

“Happiness is not a's a by-product of a life well lived” (Eleanor Roosevelt).

Read more about this "woman of mystery" in Vanderbilt magazine.

Monday, November 28, 2016

'Tis the Season

We'll be celebrating our dear writer's birth (December 16 -- she's a Sagittarius!) during our holiday gathering on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 4 pm at the home of Judy Isaac. The program includes a presentation about Christmas customs, games and music of the Regency area, and of course treats and a toast.

Members are encouraged to bring savories or sweets to share. We're also accepting donations of winter clothing for Room in the Inn.

For more details and directions, email

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Fall Meeting: October 9 at MBA

At the next JASNA Middle Tennessee meeting, set for Sunday, October 9, our own Bridget McAdam will offer a presentation on disability in the Regency, addressing the "excluded and forgotten" members of the community (including the Austen family's second child, George). Bridget first shared her work on this overlooked subject during a session at the 2015 AGM, and you'll be impressed with her scholarship and passion.

We'll gather on the campus of Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA), in the Gibbs Room, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Gibbs Room is located in the Davis Art Building (a long, colonnaded building on the south side of the main Sloane Quadrangle quad). It's close to the gym, which is on the Vine Street side of MBA. (The football stadium is on the Wilson Avenue side of campus). There is free parking alongside the gym and beside the Massey Junior School (again, on the side of Vine Street Christian Church).

Please reply at your earliest convenience to Guests are welcome; members should bring a tea-time treat to share.

And a friendly reminder: If you have not recently done so, please take a moment to renew--or begin!--your membership with the national JASNA organization. Check out JASNA's new online Member Portal to take care of business in a flash.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May Meeting: Special Guest Paige Johnson

Our May 15 meeting will be hosted by Judy Isaacs and feature a presentation by Paige Johnson on "Jane Austen in the Garden." Paige, who holds a degree in Garden History from the University of Bristol, is highly regarded for research which ranges from the Atomic Gardens of the 1950s to the Art Deco gardens of 1920s and 30s to the hydraulically engineered seventeenth-century gardens of Wilton House in Wiltshire, England. In addition to her monograph Gatsby’s Garden, she has published articles in Apollo and Garden History, among others, and maintains the Garden History Girl blog. She is currently at work on a book of literary garden history, which is expected to appear next year.  Paige is also a doyenne of playground design and the internationally cited author of the enormously popular blog and website Playscapes ( She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she is employed as a nanotechnology researcher. 

The Middle Tennessee Region is grateful to the JASNA grants committee for their support of Paige's visit.

The Sunday, May 15 meeting is from 2 to 4 p.m., and Region members are asked to confirm their attendance and bring a treat to share. If you need directions, please contact us at