This week: Haunted history, American glass, Churchill’s war rooms & more from the world of culture.
“Haunted History Tour of Fraunces Tavern,” at Fraunces Tavern Museum (October 31): As one of the oldest establishments in Manhattan, Fraunces Tavern is sure to have gained a ghost or two in its time. Originally built in 1719 and converted to a tavern in 1762, the building has hosted an illustrious cast of patrons. The tavern was a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty, the founding location of the New York Chamber of Commerce, and the site where, at an elaborate “turtle feast,” General George Washington said goodbye to his troops in late 1783. The hour-long tour, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Tavern on 54 Pearl Street, promises to serve up a historically rich starter to this Halloween’s celebrations. —HN
American Glass: The Collections at Yale, by John Stuart Gordon (Yale University Press): Yale University’s heart of glass came crashing down in the summer of 2016, when a worker in the dining hall of Calhoun College broke a painted window with his broomstick. The destruction of the window, painted in grisaille with a scene from the antebellum South, forms the final entry in American Glass. The meaning of glass, with its durable purpose and fragile materiality, is never absent from this new survey of the glass collections at Yale by John Stuart Gordon, the associate curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery. The book runs chronologically, from a Mesoamerican knife crafted of Obsidian through a 2007 Pyrex sculpture by Alyson Shotz. Conveyed through 155 objects, blown, pressed, and stained, “American Glass” tells the story of culture in translucent miniature. —JP
“American Tapestry: Immigration Experiences,” at Macaulay Honors College (November 5): It’s often surprising to think that, nearly two hundred and fifty years after America’s founding, fellow countrymen frequently have a difficult time agreeing on exactly what it means to be men of a “country.” Central to that debate is the question of who should be allowed to live within the borders. Next Monday at Macaulay Honors College, Nancy Foner, a professor of sociology at Hunter College, Andrew Tisch, the Vice Chairman of the New-York Historical Society and co-chair of the Loews Corporation, and Gene Dattel, a frequent contributor to The New Criterion, financier, and author, will tackle the many complicated facets of the immigration issue. The panel will be moderated by the historian Ted Widmer. —RH
“Churchill and the Cabinet War Rooms,” with Phil Reed, at the General Society Library (October 31) : Churchill is in the air again, though is he ever out? Some credit must be given to Andrew Roberts’s weighty new biography, Churchill: Walking With Destiny, out here next week and already receiving raves (and to be reviewed in a future issue of The New Criterion). And then there’s David Lough’s My Darling Winston, published earlier this month, which follows up on Lough’s No More Champagne—a pecuniary biography of the great man—by printing selected letters between Churchill and his American mother, Jennie Jerome. Wednesday is Halloween and those in New York this week might conjure the ghost of Churchill by attending a lecture with Phil Reed, the retired director of the Churchill War Rooms, the London museum that brings visitors into the bunkers where Churchill and his cabinet carried out the business of winning World War II. And speaking of Andrew Roberts, we are pleased to announce him as the seventh recipient of The New Criterion’s Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society. The fête will be held April 4, 2019, at the Metropolitan Club in New York, and you can reserve a space here. —BR
From the archive: “Dead forms: the ghost story today,” by Brad Leithauser (December 1987). On the apparition of the paranormal in literature.
Broadcast: “Marco Grassi and James Panero discuss E.V. Thaw (1927–2018).” On the life and work of the art collector and dealer Eugene V. Thaw, who died in January.