On November 3rd & 4th, Joan Adler and Catherine Smith traveled to Georgia for the Harvest Days in Old Talbot weekend festival accompanied by SHS Digital Archivist, Marissa Pelliccia. Having missed the 2017 festival, Joan and Catherine were excited to return, and to introduce Marissa to the incredible time capsule of history preserved in Junction City. The 2018 "Harvest Days in Old Talbot" was the tenth annual weekend hosted by Michael H. and Debbie G. Buckner of the Patsiliga Museum.
During the weekend, Joan, Catherine, and Marissa set up photographs, books and other informational materials about the Straus family in the dining room of Mike and Debbie's lovely antebellum home. Hundreds of visitors stopped by to learn about the Strauses and their connection to Georgia. As always, the festival was a great success. We are thrilled we could be a part of it. After attending for so many years, we’ve made a great many friends in Georgia. It’s always a treat to see them and to catch up. This year we had the added pleasure of meeting, and staying in the home of, Mary Luna Shepherd, who could not have made us feel more comfortable, or welcome.
While in Georgia, we made sure to visit many of the historic sites in Columbus and Talbotton. It was sad to visit the site of the Straus’ last home in Talbotton. The house was destroyed by fire during Hurricane Irma in 2017. We walked around the property, remembering our previous visits to this site that holds so much history for the Straus family. On Saturday, David and Catherine Johnson took Marissa and Catherine on a tour of the Zion Episcopal Church, located across the street of Straus-LeVert Community Hall. It was wonderful to see the church’s historic architecture and the conservation of the building that has been undertaken in the last several years to preserve this beautiful structure. Later that day, Joan, Catherine and Marissa took a stroll along the Chattahoochee River Walk in Columbus as the sun set, before eating dinner at 11th and Bay Southern Table restaurant.
On Monday, we returned to Atlanta to make the trip back to New York, but stopped at the High Museum of Art to meet with Frances R. Francis, Senior Registrar of the museum. In the August 2018 issue of the newsletter, we wrote that Frances responded to Joan's 10-year-old inquiry about the artwork donated to the High Museum by the Straus family and we saw several pieces of art that were featured in the article. SHS is extremely grateful to Frances for taking the time to open the museum to them and for the interesting tour. We look forward to returning next year when we are promised a visit to the museum’s conservation and restoration facility where there are several other works of art that were donated to the museum by various Strauses.
We crammed an amazing amount of history and good will into our weekend trip. We encourage the readers of this newsletter to consider joining us in Georgia when we return the first weekend in November 2019 for Harvest Days in Old Talbot and a tour of the sites related to the Straus family
On Wednesday, April 18, Joan gave a presentation about her book, For the Sake of the Children, to Hadassah of Suffolk. The talk was at the Greens at Half Hollow, and was attended by more than 60 guests. The audience was very interested and asked thought provoking questions after the presentation. Thank you to Phyllis Foodim and the entire Hadassah chapter for inviting us to their meeting to speak. We hope to partner again in the future!
On Sunday, February 18, Joan Adler spoke to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento. Her presentation was about the book My Family: I Could Write a Book by Edith Maas Mendel. This talk focused on how to document family history through writing and was followed by Q&A. The event was enthusiastically received. During her trip to the Bay Area, Joan visited with several Straus family members.