Jul
26
Tue
Tea & Talk – Forgotten Trailblazing Women of Lenox’s Gilded Age: Jennie Van DerZee Welcome, Painter, Filmmaker, & Entrepreneur
Jul 26 @ 4:00 pm

Local screenwriter and film historian Nannina Gilder will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, July 26 at 4 pm about Jennie Van DerZee, a forgotten trailblazing woman of Lenox’s Gilded Age. A tea will follow her presentation

Did you know one of the first African American women filmmakers was from Lenox? Went to Lenox High and Trinity Church? Jennie Van DerZee Welcome grew up on Hubbard Street with her four siblings, including Harlem Renaissance Photographer James Van DerZee, but while James was rediscovered in the 1960s and has been celebrated since, Jennie has been mostly forgotten.

Gilder will tell Jennie’s story, from a childhood in Lenox full of art and music, to her pursuit of higher education in painting, and her family’s journey down to Harlem in 1910, where she and her husband, Ernest Touissant Welcome, made “Doing Their Bit,” a multi-part documentary about African American soldiers in WWI. Under the name Madame Touissant Welcome, Jennie had vibrant career as a painter, photographer, and headmistress of an art and music conservatory. At the same time she and her husband were pioneers in New York real estate, helping African Americans own homes, and making inroads into neighborhoods that had been predominantly white. Jennie was a true trailblazer in every sense and deserves to take her place in art and film history.

Gilder is a screenwriter and film historian. In 2020 she gave a four part seminar, Invisible: Female Filmmakers before 1960, and Silhouette Animation: The Genius of Lotte Reiniger, a lecture on the pioneering animator, both at Ventfort Hall. The short film she wrote, Sproutland, premiered at the Florida Film Festival in 2021 and has won over a dozen awards. Her play The Curious Abduction of Mona Lisa was performed at Ventfort Hall in 2013.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
2
Tue
Tea & Talk – Architects of an American Landscape: The Interwoven Careers of H.H. Richardson and F.L.Olmsted
Aug 2 @ 4:00 pm

Hugh Howard, a historian who has written more than a dozen books about American architecture, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 2 at 4 pm. A tea will follow his presentation.

Interweaving the late nineteenth century careers of Frederick Law Olmsted and Henry Hobson Richardson, Hugh Howard’s new book has been lauded as a “readable, intelligently paced, dual biography” by the Wall Street Journal.

Howard shows in Architects of an American Landscape how such different personalities as Richardson and Olmsted became close friends and collaborators. In conversation with local historian Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Howard will discuss Olmstedian landscapes and Richardson’s contribution to the built environment. Their talk will be accompanied by images of notable Richardson and Olmsted designs.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
7
Sun
Closing at 2pm for Private Event
Aug 7 @ 2:00 pm
Aug
9
Tue
Tea & Talk – Railroads and Railroading in the Berkshires
Aug 9 @ 4:00 pm

Pieter Lips, a conductor and locomotive engineer, and past vice president for the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 9, at 4 pm. A tea will follow his presentation.

Pieter will present a short history of railroad development in the United Kingdom and the USA and discuss the need for improved transportation for the shipping of Berkshire products. He will talk about why the railroads built their lines where they did along with a chronology of Berkshire railroads from the 1830’s to present, including: Hudson and Berkshire, Stockbridge and Pittsfield, New York and Harlem, Troy and Boston. Some anecdotes about “the Cottagers” use of the railroad and accommodations made for them by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad with information about the Lenox and Stockbridge Stations will also be included.

Pieter has been owner and President of WordWorks Advertising in Pittsfield, MA for more than 20 years and an adjunct professor of graphic design for three years at Berkshire Community College as well as past vice president of the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, in Lenox, Mass. He is currently qualified as conductor and locomotive engineer for the museum.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
16
Tue
Tea & Talk – The Gilded Age in Fact and Fiction
Aug 16 @ 4:00 pm

Carol Wallace, writer of 23 books, will speak at Ventfort Hall on Tuesday, August 16 at 4 pm. A tea will follow her presentation.

Carol’s talk will investigate the enduring fictional appeal of the Gilded Age for contemporary readers and writers. Julian Fellowes claims her book To Marry an English Lord as the inspiration for Downton Abbey.

Wallace grew up in a Victorian house in Connecticut and spent many hours of her childhood in the public library next door (built in 1887). Her father was a sports writer for the New York Times and her mother ran a book store. After graduating from Princeton she spent several years working for a publishing company and was one of the co-authors of The Official Preppy Handbook. Among her other books are two novels of romantic suspense, several baby name books, and To Marry an English Lord. Her 23rd title is Our Kind of People.

The New York Times Book Review from its “Summer Reading” roundup on Our Kind of People said: “The fixtures of New York social life in the late 19th century are under siege in Carol Wallace’s charming historical romance…Perfect for appetites that have been whetted by HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” it follows the fortunes of Helen and Joshua Wilcox, whose love match (she’s from an old family; his barely qualifies as “trade”) still attaches a whiff of scandal to their teenage daughters, Jemima and Alice, when debutante season arrives.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox. The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
20
Sat
Closing at 3 pm for a Private Event
Aug 20 @ 3:00 pm
Aug
23
Tue
Tea & Talk – Hair and Makeup of the Gilded Age
Aug 23 @ 4:00 pm

Berkshire based hair and makeup artist, Kate Baisley, will speak here at the mansion on Tuesday, August 23 at 4 pm. A tea will follow her presentation

During her talk she will break down the most popular makeup looks and hairstyle trends of the Gilded Age. This talk will cover the beauty routines and cosmetics of the era and Kate will describe how women created an image to impress society and maintained their appearance in context of the beauty influences and icons at the turn of the century.

Kate has trained with top New York stylists and has been a member of the Aveda New York Fashion Week team and is currently working in film.  She is also a member of the Ventfort Hall board of directors.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Aug
27
Sat
Closed All Day for a Private Event
Aug 27 all-day
Aug
30
Tue
Tea & Talk – ‘A part I never rehearsed’: The Unscripted Role of the First Lady
Aug 30 @ 4:00 pm

Amy Russo, author and reporter at the Providence Journal, will speak about First Ladies of the White House here at the mansion on Tuesday, August 30 at 4 pm. She will discuss material in her book, Women of the White House, the illustrated story of the First Ladies of the United States of America A tea will follow her presentation.

‘A part I never rehearsed’: The unscripted role of the First Lady is a quote taken from Lady Bird Johnson, who said it when describing her reaction to becoming First Lady. Some First Ladies are known for their image and style, others are known for their political ambitions and some aren’t well known at all. One thing they all have in common: they took on a role for which they never applied. Each First Lady, in their own way, helped to define a position for which there is no job description.

Amy Russo joined The Providence Journal as a city reporter in 2021. A New York City transplant, she previously wrote for outlets including The New York Post, HuffPost and NBC News, where she scripted a daily morning news show. Her coverage has spanned politics, national news and the media industry itself. Amy has also reported internationally, investigating Sweden’s treatment of child refugees in 2017 as a fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Amy is a graduate of Hunter College in Manhattan.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.

The summer series of Tea & Talks is sponsored in part by board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.

Sep
10
Sat
Tea & Talk – The History of Tiffany’s Jewelry Store: Louis Comfort Tiffany
Sep 10 @ 3:30 pm

Historian, retired Professor of Art and former Board Member, Julie Agar will highlight Tiffany’s career and her family’s association with Tiffany during her presentation at Ventfort Hall on Saturday, September 10 at 3:30 pm. A tea will follow her presentation.

She will trace the history and development of Tiffany’s jewelry store from its founding in 1837 as a stationary and notions store. Emphasis will be placed on the expansion of selling Bohemian glass, porcelain, stained glass and jewelry of a quality and beauty far above any of its competition. It established its reputation as the nations undisputed first class jewelry merchant by 1848.

Agar is the great, great grandniece of Charles T. Cook who became assistant secretary in 1868 and president in 1902. He started with the company at age 14. Her family was a major stock holder until the 1930s. She will share some of the family stories about Tiffany.

As the golden boy of America’s Gilded Age, Tiffany orchestrated glass, color and light into memorable visual symphonies. Many people know his stained glass work but are unaware that he created mosaics, vases, jewelry, metal work and desk sets. In addition he was a highly creative interior designer and known for designing the interior of Marl Twain’s home in Hartford, CT.

Agar is a retired professor of art and museum education at Carlow University, Pittsburgh, PA and a former board member of Ventfort Hall.

Tickets are $30 for members and with advance reservation; $35 day of; $22 for students 22 and under. Reservations are required as seats are limited. Walk-ins accommodated as space allows. For reservations call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable. Proof of vaccination and ID are required. The historical mansion is located at 104 Walker Street in Lenox.