Arts and Entertainment

'Dickens, Christmas and Family Ties' celebrates author and his work

University Libraries' four days of events honor the 175th anniversary of 'A Christmas Carol'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries and the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence will host “Dickens, Christmas and Family Ties,” four days of events in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens’ beloved novella “A Christmas Carol.” All events will be held in Paterno Library on the University Park campus and are free and open to the public.

Charles Dickens Credit: Penn State University LibrariesAll Rights Reserved.

'A Christmas Carol' pop-up exhibit, Dec. 3-6

The “Dickens, Christmas, and Family Ties” celebration commences Monday, Dec. 3, with a pop-up exhibit featuring Dickens-related books and manuscripts. Located in the Eberly Family Special Collections exhibit space in 104 Paterno Library, the exhibit will trace the evolution of “A Christmas Carol” perhaps the best-known Christmas book ever publishedand what inspired Dickens to write it. The pop-up exhibit is co-curated by Clara Drummond, Special Collections curator and exhibitions coordinator and Mary Ann Tobin, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence assistant research professor. The exhibition will be available for viewing until the completion of the celebration events on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Guest speaker Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, Dec. 5

At noon on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, special guest speaker, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, great-great-great granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, will treat audiences to her top ten favorite selections from Penn State’s Eberly Family Special Collections Library. The Special Collections Library is home to more than 200,000 printed volumes, more than more than 25 million archival records and manuscripts and another million photographs, maps, prints and audio-visual items.

Ted Christopher reads 'A Christmas Carol,' Dec. 5

At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 4 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Ted Christopher will charm audiences with a reading of “A Christmas Carol.” This classic story, which has never gone out of print since its initial publication, revolves around the character of Ebenezer Scrooge who one fateful Christmas eve is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. The story is a proven holiday staple that Dickens himself often read aloud in sold-out public performances. A reception at 5:30 p.m. in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, will follow the reading.

Ted Christopher is Penn State associate professor of music and, since 2008, artistic director of Penn State Opera Theatre. He has engaged in a wide and diverse career as a singer, actor, director and teacher. Over a three-decade long career in the performing arts, he has directed or appeared in over 100 productions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley presents 'Katey: The Artistic Dickens,' Dec. 6

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6,  in Foster Auditorium 102 Paterno Library, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley will present “Katey: The Artistic Dickens” a talk about Katey Dickens, daughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens. Katey was a renowned portrait painter who exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the Society of Watercolor Painters and the Society of Lady Artists. Hawksley’s presentation will trace Katey’s celebrated childhood among London’s literary and artistic elite to her later years as an artist, shedding new light on the lives of Victorian women.

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley presents 'Dickens and Christmas,' Dec. 6

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley presents “Dickens and Christmas," an exploration of the 19th-century phenomenon that has become the Christmas we celebrate today. In this talk, Hawksley will discuss not only “A Christmas Carol,” but Dickens’ four other Christmas books and his number of short Christmas-themed stories. Hawksley also will detail particular Dickens’ family traditions that made the holiday such fertile ground for the author’s imagination. At 5 p.m., a reception in the Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno, will follow Hawksley’s presentation.  

About Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, in addition to being the great-great-great granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, is a respected author, art historian, public speaker and broadcaster who specializes in literature, art, history and social history from the 19th and early 20th centuries. She is the author of more than 20 books, including three titles about Charles Dickens and his world. For the past decade, she has also served as a Patron for the Charles Dickens Museum in London and the Norwegian Pickwick Club. Her biography, “Dickens’s Artistic Daughter Katey: Her Love, Lives & Impact” was published in November of this year.

For more information about the “Dickens, Christmas and Family Ties” being held in the Libraries, or for questions about accommodations, contact Julie Porterfield, instruction and outreach archivist, at 814-865-1793 or

Last Updated December 19, 2018