June 2013 Newsletter

To see more photos from the Hidden Treasures Gala, click here.


It Was Magical


On Friday evening, May 17, the Athenaeum's ambiance of elegance and quiet reflection took on another dimension. Add exquisite arrangements of apple blossoms, delicious and visually appealing food provided and served by St. Johnsbury Academy's culinary students, the richness of a violin and piano played by the duo known as Vivace, displays of previously hidden treasures, and an assortment of animated guests. What do you get? Magic!


The occasion was the Athenaeum's Hidden Treasures Gala. Over 120 people mingled among displays of historic artifacts that, in some instances, have never before been shown to the public: We saw Isabel Fairbanks Farwell's photos of her husband's and her travels to exotic Egypt in 1890; rare books from the Athenaeum's original Poole Collection and Janssonius Atlases from 1640; selected Civil War materials from the collection of over 700 items of local Civil War historian Gerald A. Heon; and 12 original photo prints of Lincoln by Mathew Brady, the father of photojournalism.


These photo portraits of Lincoln were enhanced by the presence of Howard Coffin, a Vermont historian who has specialized in Vermont Civil War history. Mr. Coffin, standing next to Lincoln's photo portraits, informally fielded questions and enriched our understanding of Vermont's role in the Civil War.


I want to thank the guests who came to the Gala, and others, who did not come, but who bought tickets. I want to thank our staff and trustees who worked hard to promote, prepare, and host the Gala. It was a magical event, a social, educational, and fundraising success. It was a gala - a festive occasion.


Bill Marshall

Chair of the Board of Trustees   

In This Issue
Events Upcoming Events
Capturing Nature - The Art of Asher Durand with Jeff Gold
Thursday, June 20 at 7pm 

This is the third lecture presented by Athenaeum docent Jeff Gold featuring an artist of the Hudson River School. He previously discussed the lives of Sanford Gifford and T. Worthington Whittredge. This event is part of the Athenaeum's Art and Culture Series. For the complete schedule of the 2013 Arts and Culture Series, click here.


Friends of the Athenaeum Book Sale

Saturday, June 22 from 9:30am to Noon 


The Friends will be having a book sale on Saturday June 22nd  from 9:30 to noon (Pet Parade Day) on the front lawn of the Athenaeum.  Be sure to stop by and browse our great used books at bargain prices!  Remember that all Romances are 50% off during the month of June at Secondhand Prose, too.

First Wed. March 2013
Early Photographs of Native North Americans with UNH Prof. Lisa MacFarlane 
Wednesday, June 26th at 7pm (rescheduled from March)

Richly illustrated with nineteenth- and early twentieth-century photos of Native peoples, this talk by UNH Vice Provost and professor Lisa MacFarlane explores the stories behind the iconic and often stereotypical images, providing a glimpse into the history of clashing cultures. This event is sponsored by the Copeland Furniture Company Store and is part of the First Wednesday Series from the Vermont Humanities Council. For the complete 2013 First Wednesdays schedule, click here.
ChEvents Children's Library Events
Every Friday and every 1st and 3rd Saturday, 10:30am


The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum will be having storytime in the Children's Library every Friday (a change from Tuesday) at 10:30am, and every 1st and 3rd Saturday at 10:30am. There events are part of the Athenaeum's Acorn Club.


Summer Reading Kickoff

Wednesday, June 26, 2pm

Magician Tom Joyce will be here at 2pm for a magic show! Enjoy the show and sign up for the Athenaeum's summer reading program. If you can't come, sign up anytime in June with MacKenzie in the Children's Library. This event will be on the 2nd floor and is part of the Athenaeum's Acorn Club.

Fashionista's Fashion Show

Thursday, June 27, 1:30-3:00pm

Wear your most fashionable outfit and get ready to design a fabric outfit for a paper doll. Be runway-ready! This event will be held in the Children's Library. Recommended for ages 8-11.


Joey the Clown

Tuesday, July 2 at 11am


Before you head to Circus Smirkus, visit the Athenaeum! Joey the Clown will be at the Athenaeum at 11am on July 2nd. This event will be on the 2nd floor. This event is part of the Athenaeum's Acorn Club.  

Connect Connect with us
FacebookDid you know that we're on Facebook? We post unique content almost every day, including book reviews, library events, links to our YouTube videos, and much more.
City Book Review: The City & the City by China Miéville

Two cities - Beszel and Ul Qoma - occupy the same physical space, but have their own governments, populations, languages, and international relations. Residents of one city carefully "unsee" the residents, streets, drivers, and signs of the other. If they break the rules and observe what they shouldn't, they get in trouble with Breach, the mysterious agency that governs the relations between Beszel and Ul Qoma. But when a murder affects both cities, Inspector Tyador Borlu must force himself to see what he has trained to unsee. He crosses from one city to the other and, although he doesn't travel far as the crow flies, he finds himself in a very alien place.

Miéville is one of the best science fiction writers working today, earning the genre's highest honors on multiple books, including The City & the City. Miéville doesn't gradually introduce his readers to new places, he drops them off at the curb and forces them to figure things out on their own. When you start one of Miéville's books, you'll feel like a tourist who lost their travel guide. But as you keep reading, you'll be amazed as you absorb the culture.

Alex Lent
Curator From the Curator
While we are justifiably proud of the Athenaeum Art Gallery's long tradition of displaying paintings as they were originally hung in 1873, we are also very interested in exhibiting and discussing additional works from the collections and from the period. On a quarterly basis, I will highlight different objects from the Athenaeum's Art, Archives, and Rare Book collections, as well as objects on loan to the Athenaeum. Please visit the Gallery regularly to see what's new.

Copy of Visitation - Original by Mariotto Albertinelli, 1503

This small copy was found in the Athenaeum Archives. Horace Fairbanks' name is written in pencil on the back. There is also a paper label from the Doll and Richards gallery in Boston, indicating the painting was likely purchased there. The original, in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, is framed as the image indicates. The Athenaeum copy has unpainted areas above the arch that would have been covered by a frame of the same style.

In Uffizi-Art, History, Collections, the painting is described this way: "Transferred to the Uffizi in 1786...this panel was reassembled with its predella in 1794. The great curved altarpiece was completed in 1503, as stated on two pillars. Vasari attributed it to Albertinelli, who may have painted it for the chapel of the Congregation of Priests in the church of San Michelle in Palchetto, then dedicated to St. Elizabeth their patroness."

Many of the Athenaeum's copies are from originals in the Uffizi or the Pitti Palace in Florence. They include: Holy Family, The Madonna della Sedia, Madonna del Granducca, Holy Family, and The Magdalene.

Bob Joly
Games Games at the Athenaeum

Did you know that the Athenaeum has a collection of board games? Bring some friends, get comfortable, and play Monopoly, Chess, Checkers, Cribbage, Trivial Pursuit, or any of our other games.    

Miseducation Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
In this heartfelt coming-of-age story, Cameron Post survives adolescence in 1990s rural Montana. Well, if you call it survival when one is sent to God's Promise, a "residential discipleship program" that will cure her homosexual tendencies. Before this happens, readers are shown how Cameron is forced to make decisions about to whom she can open up and for whom she must create a façade (including her grandmother and very religious aunt). Parallel to this façade, she develops meaningful relationships with other girls that shape her beliefs about herself and perspective on the wider GLBTQ culture. However, a relationship with one friend ends up tragically sending her to God's Promise, where she rebels against the program's goals. In the end, readers are brokenhearted over the injustice of Cameron's situation, as well as heartened by the power of friendship, acceptance, and Cameron's belief in herself.

MacKenzie Ross
Youth Services Librarian
Building Building and Grounds
Our Garden
Shara gardening

Thanks to our amazing Friends of the Athenaeum for beautifying our grounds and to all those who donated plants to the effort. It looks terrific! Here's our librarian Shara helping out.

There's more than meets the eye in the gallery: look up!


Don't forget to look up when you go into the art gallery! Our skylight, installed in 2011 to replace the original skylight from 1873, allows us to view our collection of paintings in natural light, and is itself a work of art.

Lorraine Impey
Trustee and Chair of the Building Committee
YSL From the Youth Services Librarian

Combating stereotypes in the Children's Library


Stereotype #1: You have to whisper while in a library.

Personally, I don't mind noise in the Children's Library. In fact, I welcome the noise that families and kids bring into the room. I like making loud animal noises during story-time, and I certainly understand when babies and toddlers begin to cry. Basically, I don't want parents, kids, grandparents, and caregivers to feel like they need to whisper. At the same time, I don't want yelling or screaming that might cause alarm, but I want everyone to feel comfortable and at home in the Children's Library. It's a place to read and study, but it's also a place to play games, create plays with the puppets, create art, and have great conversations!


Stereotype #2: You have to like books to enjoy the library.

If there's one thing they tell you in library school, it's that you're not becoming a librarian because you love books. You become a librarian because you love people! I love reading, and I'm always excited to give book recommendations to anyone who asks, but I ultimately decided to become a Youth Services Librarian because I love working with kids and teens. I'm more than happy to provide story-times and book groups for local youth, but I also want youth and families to feel like they can still use the library, even if they don't love reading. Like I said, there are toys to play with, and I'm always up for an arts and crafts activity. In fact, I'm not the most scientifically-savvy person in the world, but I love offering my Science Story-time (1st and 3rd Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.)! If you have any ideas for youth programs, whether they're related to books or not, I'd love to hear what you're interested in.


MacKenzie Ross

Youth Services Librarian  

Support Support the Athenaeum Today!
The Athenaeum needs your support in order to continue to offer great services and events. Please consider becoming a supporting patron. To make a donation online, visit our home page.

Would you like to volunteer at the Athenaeum? We have a variety of tasks we'd appreciate your help with, including checking books in and out, shelving books, helping in the children's room, assisting with surveys, and more. If you're interested, please contact Alex Lent, our volunteer coordinator at alent@stjathenaeum.org.

The Athenaeum is also looking for donations of musical CDs and board games in excellent condition.
Friends Friends of the Athenaeum

Friends image

Friends of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum are involved in community fundraising activities for the benefit of the Athenaeum. Friends may volunteer to work at the Secondhand Prose bookstore, or organize book and pie sales,  or offer holiday programs and provide decorations and refreshments for Athenaeum festivities, or engage in other activities to help the institution. Friends strive to enhance and make the resources and services of the Athenaeum more widely known in the community.


In the past few years, funding from the Friends has made it possible for the Athenaeum to acquire a microfilm reader, a lectern and projector stand for Athenaeum Hall, the new Stephen Huneck library cards, and books for area childcare centers. In addition, Friends supply refreshments and flowers for Athenaeum events and present the annual Victorian holiday program.


In the coming weeks, current Friends will receive their renewal forms in the mail. If you are not a Friend of the Athenaeum or have let your membership lapse, we hope that you will join or renew now. Memberships start at $10.00 annually. Your support is important to us. You can download a membership form here. Get a free book coupon for Secondhand Prose when you renew a membership or join the Friends! Contact the Friends at


Second Hand Prose

Secondhand Prose 


Secondhand Prose, the used book store operated by the Friends of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, is in need of volunteers. Volunteers are needed to price and sort books, and also to work the sales desk. Training will be provided, and the hours are flexible.


If you are interested please email friends@stjathenaeum.org or phone 802-748-9222. You can also stop by the store. The hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:00PM, Wednesdays from 1:00 to 5:00PM, and Friday 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Secondhand Prose is located at 1222 Main Street in St. Johnsbury - across the street from the Athenaeum. 
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The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
A National Historic Landmark Library and Art Gallery
Established 1871 

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