Hello TLA Members and Friends!
TLA had a busy Fall, with some wonderful events in New York, including the annual Book Awards ceremony, which was held at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on October 14th. We began the evening with some mingling and refreshments (including snacks generously donated by Grandaisy Bakery). As our guests circulated in the Café, where the event was held, they were able to browse a display case of archival holdings from the NYPL-PA’s collections. Here’s a brief description of that mini-exhibition from my co-chair on the Book Awards Committee, Annemarie van Roessel:
To complement the titles awarded prizes at the 2016 TLA Book Awards event, Annemarie van Roessel and John Calhoun, of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, presented a small display of unique archival and visual materials from their collection. Included in the display were a selection of 19th-century photographs, broadsides, and correspondence related to Ira Aldridge and John Wilkes Booth. Also included were materials relating to early Technicolor films, including souvenir programs, production stills and designs, and a large poster for the 1929 Marilyn Miller musical Sally.
I had the pleasure of emceeing the program, which I’ll share a little bit about with you now. After a warm welcome to TLA from Evan Leslie, Artistic Producer at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the program kicked off on a bittersweet note, with remarks from TLA’s president, Nancy Friedland, who’s ending her second term at the end of this year. Her dedication and support for the Book Awards will be missed. Next up was Francesca Marini, to acknowledge the 2016 McNamara Scholarship winner, Megan Mitchell, and to introduce Rob Melton, the winner of the 2016 Louis Rachow Distinguished Service in Performing Arts Librarianship Award. It was such a pleasure for all of us to be able to hear a little bit from Rob about his active and inspiring career in libraries, theatres, and the realms where they overlap!
My Book Awards Committee co-chair, Annemarie van Roessel (who’s also the Assistant Curator of NYPL’s Billy Rose Theatre Division) presented the Freedley Awards, sharing remarks form the Freedley jurors on the merits of the winning books. First we heard from Bernth Lindfors, whose impressive feat, the four-volume biography, Ira Aldridge, won him this year’s Freedley Special Jury Prize. He told us about his process researching Ira Aldridge across more than one continent!
Annemarie came back to introduce our Freedley Award winner, Terry Alford, author of Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth. He told our audience that one of his motivations for writing the book was to dispel the common misconception that Booth was a bad actor, and to tell his story from the perspective of his career in the theatre.
The program ended with John Calhoun, a member of the Wall Jury acknowledging the Wall Special Jury Prize winner (Shelley Stamp, for Lois Weber in Early Hollywood) and presenting the 2015 Richard Wall Memorial Award to James Layton and David Pierce for The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915-1935. We heard from both David Pierce and James Layton about their process of researching and writing this collaborative book, which presented the special challenges, of accurately documenting film art and film science, and the sheer thrill of finding a Technicolor image of a young Katharine Hepburn.
Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and special thanks to the presenters! Stay tuned for news regarding the 2016 Book Awards, now accepting submissions!
TLA Board of Directors
TLA Book Awards Committee Co-Chair