January 2013

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

Donations are starting to come in for The John Updike Childhood Home in Shillington, Pa.

In 2012, the Society received significant monetary donations from the Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation and the PECO Foundation, the latter of which came as a result of the generosity of Constance and H. Roemer McPhee.

In 2012 we also received a folder of Updike-related newspaper and magazine clippings from Mrs. Grace Hunter, who lived in the house after the Updikes, and a 1969 Playboy featuring an Updike story and a photo of Updike from his senior year in high school from Miss Shirley Kachel, of Mohnton, Pa.

This year, thus far we have received a donation of 34 Updike first editions and five Updike-related books from Richard Nielsen, of Bloomington, Ill., along with a folder of Updike-related clippings.

We are grateful for their help as we continue the process of converting the house into a literary landmark that will have exhibits and items to help tell the story of Updike’s life and works, so that future generations can appreciate him as we do.

When the Updikes moved to the Plowville farm, they sold the Shillington house at 117 Philadelphia Avenue to Dr. John and Mrs. Grace Hunter, who lived there with their family for nearly 45 years. The doctor added a single-story attached annex to use as his office, so his practice and his family life were both connected to the site. In fact, a lighted screen for reading x-rays is still on the wall in one of his former examination rooms. The John Updike Society hopes to preserve that as a reminder of the building’s rich heritage, and also to preserve the doctor’s office, with its built-in bookshelves, to be used as a gift shop.

Today Bruce R. Posten posted a story at the Reading Eagle about Mrs. Hunter:  “Updike’s Home in Shillington was also hers.”

Read the rest of this entry »

UpdikebookJack De Bellis’s John Updike’s Early Years is now available at Amazon.com.

John Updike’s Early Years first examines his family, then places him in the context of the Depression and World War II. Relying upon interviews with former classmates, the next chapters examine Updike’s early life and leisure activities, his athletic ability, social leadership, intellectual prowess, comical pranks, and his experience with girls. Two chapters explore Updike’s cartooning and drawing, and the last chapter explains how he modeled his characters on his schoolmates. Lists of Updike’s works treating Pennsylvania, and a compilation of contributions to his school paper are included, along with profiles of all students, faculty and administrators during his years at Shillington High School.