FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2012
Contact: Kanya Lyons | (512) 974-7379
On September 11, 2012, O. Henry, aka William Sydney Porter, will celebrate the sesquicentennial of his birth. To mark this occasion, the Austin History Center, in partnership with the Capitol Visitors Center and the O. Henry Museum, will host a citywide Birthday Party on Saturday, September 15, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., with festivities and activities at all three locations.
At the Austin History Center, visitors can explore the current exhibit in the Holt Photo Gallery, “O. Henry: A Short Story” (more on the exhibit below), and design their own Austin-themed O. Henry postage stamp (the USPS is issuing a New York themed stamp for O. Henry in September). At 4 p.m., the AHC will offer its featured program of the day, a Mock Appeals Trial of Porter’s embezzlement conviction. The mock trial will star Justice Jan Patterson of the Texas Court of Appeals, O. Henry Pun-Off punster Gary Hallock, and St. Edward’s University Theater Arts Professor Ev Lunning, with YOU starring as the Jury. Listen to the facts and arguments of the case and decide O. Henry’s criminal fate.
At the Capitol Visitors Center, visitors can explore their permanent exhibit on O. Henry in the historic building where he worked as a draftsman for the General Land Office. Their featured program, offered at 11:00am and again at 12 noon, will be a dramatic presentation of O. Henry’s story “Bexar Script No. 2692: Murder at the Land Office.” This is one of his most famous Texas stories and it takes place in the Land Office Building that is now the Visitors Center. Other activities include a “Pin the mustache on O. Henry” game and postal stamp coloring pages.
At the O. Henry Museum, visitors can explore O. Henry’s Austin home and see the new exhibit, “O. Henry: Original Slacker.” Their featured program, beginning at 2 p.m., will be a group reading of O. Henry’s “Buried Treasure,” where 12 writers take on one Texas Story. Other activities at the Museum include the unveiling of the new O. Henry postage stamp and a performance by the New Hill City Quartet, reviving the music group that Porter sang with while living in Austin.
Come celebrate the birth of one of Austin’s best-loved writers. The featured programs staggered so you don’t have to miss anything! Free shuttle service will be available to move people from site to site, and free parking is available in the parking garage behind the Capitol Visitors Center.
All APL programs and events are free and open to the public. For more information please call 512-974-7480 or visit library.austintexas.gov/ahc.
About the Exhibit
“O. Henry: A Short Story” tells more about the man than the writer that America discovered in the early 1900s. Or it tries to. O. Henry remains an enigmatic figure because nobody really knew him. That is to say that no one living after his success knew him. Like the contemporary enigma Bob Dylan, there are also six different lives of William Sydney Porter. The life of O. Henry (1862-1910,) aka William Sydney Porter, unravels chronologically in a selection of photographs, letters and other items that offer a glimpse into his life as the dandy, the family man, the embezzler, the fugitive, the widower, the prisoner, and the writer. The exhibit features will be on display in the Holt Photo Gallery through October 21, 2012.
O. Henry “the Dandy,” ca. late 1880s. PICB 12866, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library
Athol, Margaret, and William Sydney Porter, 1890. PICB 07185, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library