Shades of Brown Newsletter

The Shades Of Brown newsletter is a bimonthly newsletter and is available in physical and digital formats. You can find the most recent issues here.

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Friends Book Reviews

Book Review events will resume in October. Please check back for more information.

Recent Reviews

Marilouise Mazzante reviewed The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

November Book Review

book cover of good wives

On November 3, Mr. Gary Parks, Executive Director of the Lycoming County Historical Society, will review Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 and A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812.

In Good Wives Ulrich elevates the status of the “ordinary” woman to celebrated status, especially during the Revolutionary War when the men in the family were fighting for independence and the women were “on their own.” This left the women on the home front to do all of their traditional work, as well as the work the men normally did — manage crops, and care for finances and legal matters. Additionally, these women became midwives for other women in their community. From Ballard’s diary in A Midwife’s Tale, Ulrich noted the delivery of 814 children between 1785-1812 when Ballard traveled by boat to support women through childbirth and for some, sadly, stillbirths.

book cover of a midwife's taleParks has been the Executive Director of the Lycoming County Historical Society since 2011. He has degrees from Towson University (Biology/English), University of North Carolina (Master’s in Museum Studies/Public History), and special studies at Winterthur, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and Colonial Williamsburg. Parks credits his grandmother with instilling in him the appreciation of a 1777 family needlework picture inspiring his collection of 101 needlework samplers.

The review begins at 12:15PM in the Lowry Room of the Welch Family Wing of the James V. Brown Library with a Q&A from 12:45-1:00PM. Complimentary snacks and bottled water will be available. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own lunch. Reservations are required due to space considerations.  Please call the library at 570-326-0536 or use the library’s online reservation calendar ( before 3:00PM on Wednesday, November 1.  Parking is available in the public lot off Market Street, adjacent to the Welch Wing.

December Book Review

The Friends of James V. Brown Library celebrate the creative arts at the Dec. 1 holiday program by featuring the Williamsport Area School District’s GQ, a men’s a capella group formed in 1993. GQ is one of the eight vocal performing groups at the high school under the direction of Sam Robinson. Williamsport Area School District offers a variety of programs for vocal and instrumental talent in a wide range of music selections from classical to contemporary, including 19 performing ensembles at the high school.

Williamsport Area School District has been awarded The Best Communities for Music Education Award for over 20 years. The Best Communities for Music Education Award is a signature program of The NAMM Foundation that recognizes and celebrates school districts and schools for their support and commitment to music education and efforts to assure access to music for all students, as part of a well-rounded education. Williamsport Area High School is proud to provide curricular music education for students in vocal and instrumental coursework, as well as non-curricular music opportunities. Specialized groups like GQ, Strolling Strings, Marching Millionaires, Les Chanteuses, orchestras, and vocal ensembles are often invited to perform at various community events, and have repeatedly performed at the White House.

The Brown Library Rotunda will open at noon on Dec.1. The program is open to all ages. Snacks and water will be available. The program begins at 12:15 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. Reserve a seat by calling the library at 570-326-0536 or by using the library’s online reservation calendar at Reservations are required due to space considerations and must be made before 3 p.m. Nov. 29.  Parking is available in the public lot off of Market Street, adjacent to the Welch Wing.

WAHS GQ, Men’s A Capella Group