Make your travel plans, put in for personal days, block off your calendars! The Spring LCSNA meeting will be April 14 through 17, in the Washington DC/Baltimore area. We are being treated to a mini-conference by the member/collector/scholar families who live there: the Imholtzes, the Crandalls, and the Schaefer/Salinses. Highlights include events at the Library of Congress, the landmark Imholtz exhibition at the U of Maryland, hearing from collector Ellie Schaefer-Salins; photography scholar Diane Waggoner; the Washington Post’s book critic, Michael Dirda; and printer George Walker; and an exhibition of Carrollian Disneyana mounted by the Crandalls. We will also be welcomed to these members’ homes for social events each day. Don’t miss this opportunity for more of the kind of learning, inspiration, and camaraderie you enjoyed–or wish you had–in New York last fall!
Recent Meeting Summaries:
Click for the complete list of LCSNA meetings held to date, including speakers and topics.
From October 9-11 in NYC, we presented our “Alice in the Popular Culture” conference as part of Alice150, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There was also an important colloquium about Alice in Translation at the Grolier Club on October 7-8, and many other celebratory events during the month of October in NYC and elsewhere. Please check out the Alice150 page for details.
The fabled Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, home to three legendary Carroll collections (Warren Weaver, Helmut Gernsheim, Byron W. and Susan R. Sewell), hosted our meeting on April 18. We began with a tour of their fabulous sesquicentennial exhibit, led by Dr. Danielle Sigler, its curator. After lunch, Dr. Francine Abeles, Professor Emerita of Kean University, gave a talk entitled “On the Truth of Some New Mathematical Ideas in Alice in Wonderland,” particularly those proposed by David Day in his forthcoming book Decoding Wonderland, and Melanie Bayley in articles in the New Scientist and The New York Times. Next was the inimitable Christopher Morgan, editor of the forthcoming The Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll, Volume 5: Games, Puzzles, and Related Pieces, on “Lewis Carroll’s Game of Syzygies and How It Drove Him Slightly Crazy.” Joel Birenbaum next talked on the extraordinary Alice150 events, soon to become reality! Bridgette Mongeon spoke on “Finding Alice: Lewis Carroll Inspires a Texas Artist to Create a Monumental Bronze Sculpture,” which depicts the Tea-Party and will be unveiled in Houston in 2016. In honor of the anniversary, it will have 150 hidden elements.
Saturday found us Toronto Public Library, home of the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books and the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy, both of which we toured. We heard from Oleg Lipchenko on his philosophy for the illustrations for his forthcoming Looking-glass, artist Louise Bloom on her Alice collages, Catherine Nichols on her forthcoming Alice’s Wonderland: A Visual Journey through Lewis Carroll’s Mad, Mad World, illustrator George Walker on his Canadian Alice books, Scott McKowen on his illustrations for Wonderland, David Day on his forthcoming book Decoding Wonderland, and Cindy Bisaillon on her two-part CBC radio show about Carroll and her proposed documentary, followed by a visit to the home and studio of Oleg Lipchenko.
On Sunday we visited Andy Malcolm’s studio in Uxbridge for a live Foley demonstration and viewed a working cut of his new film on Carroll in the popular culture, There’s Something about Alice. (Andy was the Foley artist on the 2010 Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland film.)
Great times were in store for us at the Spring meeting on Saturday, April 26th, held at the New York Institute of Technology’s Manhattan campus. In honor of our Fortieth Anniversary, founding members Morton Cohen, Edward Guiliano, Michael Patrick Hearn, David Schaefer, and Justin Schiller presented a panel on the founding and early days of our Society, “There’s Glory for You.” Presentations included Craig Yoe on his new book, Alice in Comicland; composer Bruce Lazarus et al. performing his song cycle, Carrolling; Chris Morgan on editing The Games & Puzzles Pamphlets (Volume V in our series); poet Jessica Young on “The Story We Don’t Talk About: A Dark Re-envisioning of Alice in Wonderland”; April Lynn James & Madison Hatta performing “The Twinkle Bat Variations: A Work- and Life-in-Progress”; Mike Schneider on What Is the Use of a Book Without Pictures?: The Wordless Alice Project; and Tim Manley on Alice in tumblr-Land.
The fall 2013 meeting was held in Los Angeles on the weekend of November 1-3, at USC’s Doheny Library and environs. Linda and George Cassady put together a wonderful program around the theme of “Lewis Carroll Outsiders.” Saturday presentations included a discussion with the editors of The Alice Project, an online venture wherein a large number of artists each illustrated one page of Wonderland; media scholar Henry Jenkins in conversation with graphic novelist Bryan Talbot (Alice in Sunderland) via video; Christopher Tyler, author of Parallel Alices: Alice through the Looking-Glass of Eleanor of Aquitaine; a panel of winners of the USC Libraries Wonderland Award; a presentation by game designer American McGee; and a tour of the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection exhibition at the USC Libraries. On Sunday, there were two optional side trips: to the foundry where Karen Mortillaro casts here anamorphic Alice sculptures, and to Daniel Singer’s house in Altadena to view his magnificent Disney/Carroll collection. Our thanks to all who made this meeting so very memorable!
Stephanie Lovett and Charlie and Janice Lovett were our hosts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a very full, multiple-venue three days (April 19-21). The events included a fully-staged performance of Dan Singer‘s new play, A Perfect Likeness, about an imagined meeting between Dodgson and Dickens; a talk by Charlie on the influence of Rev. Charles Dodgson on his son’s religious thinking; a chamber music concert featuring some of Carroll’s favorite tunes; a talk by Dr. Morna O’Neill on Edward Steichen and Lewis Carroll as photographers; Mark Richards on Carroll and surrealism; a presentation by Jett Jackson about her Alice paintings and sculptures; a Victorian Choral Evensong service featuring a sermon by Mark Goodacre based on an outline by Rev. Dodgson (Carroll, not his father), and an exhibition of the Lovett Collection, “Lewis Carroll & The Writer’s World.” Handouts included a catalogue of exhibits, an updated version of Charlie’s article about Carroll’s typewriter (with text actually typed on the machine and laid into every copy!), and there was more than the usual amount of wonderful dining and socializing events, as well. By all accounts, the weekend was nothing less than utterly frabjous.
Autumn in New York (fall 2012)
On Saturday, September 29 at the Fales Library in New York University (home of the fabled Berol collection), Washington Square campus, in New York City we were treated to talks by Adam Gopnik on Sylvie and Bruno Concluded; Robin Wilson, who wrote Lewis Carroll in Numberland; Ella Parry-Davies on Russian illustrators; Andrew Sawyer on his typgraphic Alice; David Schaefer on his discovery of a 1928 Looking-Glass film reel; and Morton Cohen was interviewed by Edward Guiliano thirty years after their ground-breaking interview was published in Soaring with the Dodo.
A Boston Tea Party (spring 2012)
The meeting took place on Saturday, April 28th, at Harvard University in the Houghton Library, home of the famed Amory Collection of Lewis Carroll, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Speakers included Selwyn Goodacre on the 150th anniversary of the boat ride during which Lewis Carroll told the Adventures to Alice Liddell and her sisters, with an update on the editions of Alice’s Adventures under Ground; Matt Demakos discussing the evolution from Under Ground to the Wonderland versions of the text; Mark Richards enlightening us on the finer points of Carroll’s mathematically poetic work A Tangled Tale; Alan Tannenbaum on A. B. Frost, the illustrator of A Tangled Tale and Rhyme? And Reason?; Linda Cassady talking about the exciting Wonderland Award at USC; and Chris Morgan demonstrating some of the magic practiced by Carroll.
Alice at NYIT (fall 2011)
Our Fall 2011 meeting was again at the marvelous Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology, on Saturday, November 12. Speakers included Morton Cohen on Carroll’s epiphanies; Adriana Peliano, founder of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, on the metamorphosis of Alice in illustrations and art; Alison Gopnik on her discovery of the Iffley Yew and how Dodgson’s real life affected his works; Emily R. Aguilo-Perez on film adaptations; Jeff Menges, editor of Alice Illustrated (coming from Dover in March), on illustrators; and James Fotopoulos, an artist and film-maker who made an avant-garde film called Alice in Wonderland. The meeting agenda is still available.
Our Spring 2011 meeting
The first day of our Spring 2011 meeting was on Saturday, April 16, at the headquarters of The Internet Archive in San Francisco. It included the playing of Alice Liddell’s accordion (fully restored), and talks by Sandor Burstein, Dr. Selwyn Goodacre from the LCS(UK), Brewster Kahle of The Internet Archive, Mark Burstein, and others. The next day, Sunday, featured an open house to view a fine Carroll collection in Petaluma (45 minutes north of San Francisco), along with special displays, and a talk by Robert Hornback at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. The meeting agenda is available. In addition, the Internet Archive has published videos of the presentations and much thanks to the Archive for their assistance!
New York Institute of Technology (fall 2010) We held our fall 2010 meeting in New York City at the New York Institute of Technology (16 West 61st Street, 11th floor) on Saturday, November 6th from 12-5:15 pm. Scheduled speakers included noted author Adam Gopnik, Carroll biographer Jenny Woolf, host and founding member Edward Guiliano, author (and Alice Liddell relative) C.M. Rubin, artist Oleg Lipchenko, and LCSNA President Andrew Sellon. There was a dinner following the meeting at Josephina’s, 1900 Broadway (between 63rd-64th Streets), at 5:30pm. In addition, member Mahendra Singh was on hand to sell and sign copies of his new edition of “The Hunting of the Snark.”
Alice in the Rosenbach Collection (spring 2010)
The spring 2010 meeting of the LCSNA was held at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, April 24th, 2010. Canadian member Andy Malcolm presented a funny and illuminating talk and hands-on demonstration about his work as foley (sound effects) artist for Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland film, ably aided by ProTools expert Jenna Dalla Riva and sound engineer Jack Heeren. The enormously talented Nancy Wiley shared an entertaining history of her career as a doll artist (with a great Demi Moore story!) and spoke about her beautiful new doll-themed edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She kindly signed copies of her book and displayed some of her Carrollian dolls afterward. Noted Harvard scholar Maria Tatar gave a fascinating talk about the importance of nonsense, and our instinctive need to find some kind of sense in it. To close the meeting, Rosenbach Librarian Elizabeth Fuller treated attendees to an up-close look at a wealth of rare Carrolliana, including an 1865 Alice, correspondence, and photographs, all selected especially for us. In addition, Please Touch Museum held its Storybook Weekend, perfect for a Friday or Sunday visit, and Stacey Swigart kindly arranged for free admission for LCSNA members. From beginning to end, it was a brillig meeting, and those in attendance voted it one of the LCSNA’s best. After the meeting, attendees reconvened at The Black Sheep Pub (taking over the entire first floor!) for a delicious dinner and delightful conversation. Our thanks again to everyone at the Rosenbach for being such gracious hosts.
Alice in Fort Lee, New Jersey (fall 2009)
David Schaefer, a founding member and past president of the LCSNA, began the meeting by giving a succinct overview of Alice in films, starting with the 1903 Cecil Hepworth production at Walton on the Thames in England, through the 1910 Edison company film and up to the Alice films of the 1930s, including the first “talkie” version, made in Fort Lee. Our first speaker, film historian Prof. Richard Koszarski of Rutgers University, did a remarkable job of sketching for us the interrelated social, cultural, economic, and artistic history which had made Fort Lee, New Jersey, the first American movie capital. Alan Tannenbaum, another past president of our society, gave an entertaining hands-on talk about Alice film strip toys. Dr. Greg Bowers, Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition in the Music Department of William and Mary College, and composer of the musical “Lewis Carroll and Alice,” spoke about “Timid and Tremulous Sounds: What Film Scores Should Like to Explain about Alice’s Adventures.” This brilliant talk greatly helped this writer to just begin to see what he had been hearing, consciously or not, and hear what he had been seeing. We then screened the extremely rare 1930 Producer “Bud” Pollard Alice, the first talkie, shot at the Metropolitan (formerly Peerless) Studio, in Fort Lee. Young Ruth Gilbert (later a TV regular on Milton Berle’s show) played Alice; members of her family were in the audience for this special screening. Her slight New Jersey accent would have perhaps horrified audiences accustomed to Oxbridge English but Ruth gave a perky performance as Alice. Some liberties were taken with the book. For example, the film added a peculiar love relationship between the Duchess and the White Rabbit! The story concludes with Alice saying, again in her American patois “Come on all of you, who’s afraid of a paltry deck of cards?” Delightful fun.
Alice, Mooney and Spooney in Santa Fe (spring 2009)
Our Santa Fe, New Mexico, meeting began with a brief talk by Theaterwork’s artistic director, David Olson, on their first performance of Lewis Carroll’s juvenile operetta La Guida di Bragia since the young Charles Lutwidge Dodgson staged it for his family. Together with LCSNA’s multi-talented Jonathan Dixon, Olson talked about the marionette play we would see in the evening: how children’s dolls, rescued from the local Goodwill store, were turned into doll puppets representing the characters of Mooney, Spooney, Sophonisba, and her husband Orlando; how they designed a stage that was a miniature theater, about six feet tall with the stage window itself about three feet high and four feet wide, with a recreation, highly carrollized, of a sitting room on the floor in front of it with miniature furniture and even a tiny tool set perhaps much like the one Lewis Carroll had made as a boy. After a hearty southwestern style lunch, we were treated to a live performance of Gerald Fried’s chamber piece “The Chess Game” for narrator, flute/piccolo, oboe (played by the composer himself), violin, cello, and piano. Fried, a composer of four symphonies and three operas, is perhaps best known for his works for film and television, including the score for Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” and many “Star Trek” episodes , including the Alice-themed “Shore Leave.” The Chess Game was a brilliant musical piece with narration of three scenes from Through the Looking-Glass: the running in-place scene, how the flowers protect themselves, and the two bumbling knights. It reminded one of us of the early 1950s Omnibus performance of Peter and the Wolf. Jonathan Dixon read the text passages introducing and separating the music, which itself was simply wonderful – its perky leitmotifs and sequences capturing in another kind of language the quirkiness and beauty of Carrroll’s text. Next, Jonathan Dixon, Andrew Ogus, and Mark Burstein treated us to an account of how the LCSNA produced a hardback book of La Guida di Bragia with illustrations by Dixon. It all started with a conversation Jonathan Dixon had with Prof. Morton N. Cohen in 1992. Cohen suggested that the society publish Carroll’s La Guida di Bragia, which had only been published once before, in the Christmas 1931 number of the British magazine The Queen. The original manuscript had been sold at Sotheby’s from a lot identified as “the property of Major C.H.W. Dodgson” on Feb. 14, 1929 and much later was bought by the American pencil magnate, Alfred Berol, who gave it to the Fales Library of New York University with the rest of his magnificent Carroll collection. Former LCSNA president Peter Heath wrote an introduction to the text which with a transcription of the play and illustrations by Jonathan Dixon was published in the Knight Letter, no. 61, Fall 1999. Some years later, Marvin Taylor at the Fales Library was able to supply us with digital copies of the pages of Carroll’s original text, which we included in our 2007 hardback edition. To conclude the meeting, LCSNA members and local attendees were treated to a private (and hilarious) performance of La Guida di Bragia. A remarkable achievement, capping off a remarkable meeting.