Fueled by a love for reading, history, and our respective MFAH house museums, Jennifer Hammond and I decided to launch a program to share our enthusiasm with all of you! Jennifer is the director of education at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens.
The Rienzi and Bayou Bend Book Club was inaugurated in September 2011 and features books about the culture, history, and experience of the 18th and 19th centuries in America and Europe. We are always eager for new participants like you to join us—whether for one book or all of them! Check out the list below for Rienzi’s upcoming selections, and click here for our blog about what’s in store at Bayou Bend.
Visit mfah.org/historybookclub for the dates and times of the discussions, and drop in to participate!
Casey & Jennifer
For the 2013–2014 season, Rienzi’s book selections look at trade, empire, material culture, and iconic women of the 18th and 19th centuries.
• In November, we discuss The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne. This biography investigates one of England’s most celebrated authors through objects connected to her. Items such as topaz crosses, a royalty check, and an Indian shawl come to life, speaking volumes about the life, world, and works of Jane Austen.
• Our March selection is Matthew Parker’s The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire, and War in the West Indies. This book chronicles the Caribbean sugar trade, which brought prosperity and power to the British Empire and spawned the modernization and industrialization of its society.
• In July, we return to women’s history with Robert K. Massie’s biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, which paints a picture of a determined woman—surrounded by a colorful cast of characters—leading a vast empire during the Enlightenment.