Author Richard René Silvin returns to the mansion to present a Tea & Talk on the subject of his latest book, Normandie, the Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner. He will make his visual presentation on Tuesday, June 25 at 4:00 pm. Following will be a Victorian tea during which the speaker will autograph copies of his book.
His father was French and his mother was American. With lasting memories of crossing the Atlantic as a child accompanying his parents on such splendid ocean liners as Ile de France, the Queen Elizabeth and even the last completed crossing of the Andrea Doria, Silvin focuses on the French Line’s most glorious and glamorous flagship that first set sail from Le Havre on May 29, 1935. Normandie died an inglorious death by fire at a New York dock on the Hudson River on February 10, 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor and with war ravaging in Europe.
Silvin introduces us to his book by stating, “The story of Normandie’s demise affected me deeply as a young child. I read as much as I could about her life and death. I studied her deck plans and craved hearing anyone’s stories about their crossing aboard her…I used to boast that, even though I had never set foot on Normandie, I could give tours of all her astonishing public rooms and many of her private suites.”
Silvin, who resides in Palm Beach, Florida, maintains a particularly active interest in historic preservation as vice-chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. He is the author of Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I Knew Her, the subject of his lecture at Ventfort Hall last year. He is also the author of I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools: An Arc to Triumph and Villa Mizner: The House That Changed Palm Beach.
The summer 2019 series of fourteen Tea & Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.
Cost to attend the Silvin talk are $28 for advance reservations and $32 day of the event. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For reservations call us at 413-637-3206.
The Comical Mystery Tour ensemble returns to the mansion with a new program, “Murder Maiden China,” and invites the public to join the fun on Saturday, June 29th. Doors open at 5:00 pm. Program starts and first course served at 5:30 pm.
Gertrude Ingrid Josephine Mattel, a.k.a. GI Jo, is running the Maiden China toy company since her father’s passing. He was well loved, but she is more of a dictator and has made some enemies. Actually, she doesn’t have many, if any friends, including her hen pecked husband, Lou Zerr. Her assistant, C. Alice Knightly, is more like a slave. Goldie Digger, Lou’s “secretary,” has no good feelings towards her, she thinks, well maybe she doesn’t, what were we talking about? Charlie Brown III is the delivery guy for “This Side UP” package service. She calls him names every time he makes a delivery. Someone gets sick of it and GI Joe ends up in permanent retirement. Come along for the ride and help figure who offed Joe.
In production since 1995, The Comical Mystery Tour has had over 50,000 audience members
viewing and/or participating in their programs. The ensemble appears regularly at Ventfort Hall.
Cost to attend is $40 per person including a full course dinner. A cash bar is available for beer and wine. Reservations are required by Wednesday, June 26th. Seating is limited. For information or reservations call us at 413-637-3206.
Prof. Catherine Jean Golden will reveal the story of a little-known revolution with her presentation. It started in early 19th century Britain when the recipient, not the sender, paid to receive a delivered letter. By 1840, the Penny Post was established – a penny stamp for a ½ ounce letter paid for by the sender. In London by 1860, there were 12 postal deliveries from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Stamps and prepayment quickly became the norm worldwide. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Downton Abbey Style: The Influences on Fashion, 1912 – 1925 is the subject behind what historic textile and costume expert Susan J. Jerome calls “the notable evolution of women’s and men’s clothing” – the dramatically social, technological and political developments of the period’s broader world. She will take a look at the work of some of the influential designers and what was fashionable, or not, as a clue to why people wore what they did. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Join David Raby for a paranormal investigation of the historic and haunted Ventfort Hall. A non-fiction author and paranormal investigator, Raby has always been intrigued by history. He undauntedly enters haunted locations that would terrify others with hopes of contacting lingering spirits to discover why they remain.
Raby is the author of four published books and countless online articles. With his passion for the paranormal field, he has accumulated over a decade of experience, founded a paranormal group and has helped many people (and spirits) that ranged between the curious and those seeking urgent advice.
His interest in the paranormal was shaped by the fact that spirits seem to be attracted to his compassion and openness. He has a knack for storytelling that fuels his intensive historical research and fact finding.
He believes that by bringing people’s stories out of the shadows and into the light of our awareness, they may find eternal rest and peace.
Before the investigation, he will give a brief history of the lives that once graced the hallways – and possibly still reside within. He will also share some of his favorite evidence from previous investigations and will be happy to answer any questions about paranormal investigations. This event is perfect for everyone; from someone who has never been on a paranormal investigation to the seasoned investigator.
The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. and concludes at midnight. Tickets for this exciting event are $35 per person. All of the proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the preservation and restoration of Ventfort Hall. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Historians Cornelia Brooke Gilder and Ronald Epp will join together to present the story of the impact the Berkshires had on the development of the Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island led by George Bucknam Dorr, the legendary conservationist, landscape designer and founder of the Mount Desert Nurseries. He was also an advisor to gardening friends Beatrix Farrand in Maine and Edith Wharton at her Lenox estate. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Mabel Loomis Todd was the woman who brought to light the work of a reclusive but highly talented poet. Prof. Julie Dobrow will discuss After Emily: The Women Who Introduced Emily Dickinson, the subject of the presenter’s new book. The shadowy and scandal-laced Amherst, Massachusetts surroundings include Mabel’s lover, Emily’s brother, Austin, who was 30 years older, and Mabel’s daughter Millicent Todd Bingham – a complex tale indeed. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Considered on a par with John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase, the once acclaimed portrait painter John White Alexander is especially recognized for his figure paintings of women striking evocative poses and elaborately arranged in flowing gowns. Art historian and Alexander author Mary Anne Goley will introduce us to the artist’s career and his exceptional talent for movement and gesture. She fortunately had early access to the untouched Alexander estate for her book. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Wadsworth Atheneum chief curator Robin Jaffee Frank will take us on a ride with Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 – 2008. The lead author and editor of the groundbreaking book, Frank will cover “America’s playground,” the world-famous entertainment mecca for the masses and national cultural symbol that has inspired music, literature, paintings, photography and films. Her focus will be the site’s enduring status as inspiration for artists. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.
Historian Francis Morrone will uncover the life of an intensely private personality, Archer Milton Huntington, founder of the Hispanic Society of America Museum. Due to reopen this fall, its collection rivals that of the Morgan Library. Morrone: Huntington is “truly one of the most remarkable Americans” of the Gilded Age, “and his story is almost unbelievable.” His former home at 1083 Fifth Avenue, for which Morrone is detailing, is one the great New York extant mansions. Cost to attend is $28 with advance reservation; $32 day of. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call us at (413) 637-3206 for reservations.