The Eleventh Annual Gathering of the Robert Benchley Society will be Friday through Sunday, November 22 - 24, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts.

"You Can Always Tell a Harvard Man..."

...but you can't tell him much. -- Yale president Arthur Twining Hadley, Yale College Class of 1876, quoted in the Chicago Daily Tribune, May 27, 1906.

This year the Robert Benchley Society Annual Awards Dinner will be held at the Main, Back Bay, Clubhouse of the Harvard Club of Boston, on Saturday, November 23rd, at six o'clock.

Robert C. Benchley, a Harvard man (Class of 1912) would have felt right at home with us in the Harvard Club's Back Bay mansion on Commonwealth Avenue. It all began with a torchlight parade down Massachusetts Avenue, culminating with Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell laying the cornerstone at 10 p.m. on February 26, 1913. A little over eight months later, on November 12, 1913, the Club's new home was formally dedicated. The Harvard Club of Boston has always been a magical place. While not a member of the Harvard Club of Boston, Mr. Benchley was an active member of the Harvard Club of New York.

This year's humor writing contest winners are:

  1. Barbara Samuels of Port St Lucie, Florida for Take a Gesund-hike

  2. Cindy Lane Poch of Stillwater, Minnesota for Iatrophobia

  3. Lowell T. Christensen of White Rock, N.M. for The Excruciating History of Dentistry

  4. Ramona Grigg of Drummond Island, Mich. for Budget-Cutting the Hard Way

The awards will be given out by this year's final judge, Dr. Gina Barreca.

Gina is author of It's Not That I'm Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World (St. Martin’s). Gina has appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, NPR, Oprah, and Dr. Phil to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her earlier books include the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women's Strategic Use of Humor (reissued in a “classic” edition in 2013), Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League, and six other books she's written-- in addition to sixteen she's edited. They've been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and German. Gina, whose columns from The Hartford Courant are distributed worldwide by the McClatchy-Tribune Syndicate, is Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut. Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold's Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a good delicatessen. Gina writes regularly for Psychology Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Huffington Post; she has also written for The New York Times, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review. She grew up in Brooklyn, now lives with her husband in Connecticut, and has two step-sons who are at that adorable age where they’re attorneys. A new member of the Friars' Club, a "Voices and Visions" honoree of Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame, winner of UConn's most distinguished teaching award, and a keynote at events from The Erma Bombeck Conference, the National Association of Independent Schools, Women In Federal Law Enforcement, The Smithsonian, and The Chicago Humanities Festival, Gina can be found in the Library of Congress or in the make-up aisle of Walgreens.


Registration for the black tie awards dinner at the Harvard Club of Boston is $175 per person.

To enter click on the PayPal Buy Now button below. David Trumbull will send you a confirming email (if you don't get a confirmation within a few hours, contact David at david@robertbenchley.org


The "You Can Always Tell a Harvard Man" theme will begin on Friday, November 22nd, when we'll gather to enjoy cocktails, a casual dinner, and the fabulous views from the 38th floor Downtown Clubhouse of the Harvard Club, at One Federal Street in Boston's Financial District. Friday evening's event, which will begin at 5:30 and run until 8:30 is priced at $75 per person, payable at the event in cash or check (no credit cards). Dress for Friday is business or business casual.

Saturday, starting at 10:00 a.m., we'll gather at Caffe Pompei, 280 Hanover Street, in the North End, Boston's Little Italy, for a guided tour Boston's Italian markets. This event is free, but be sure to bring some money for purchases.

On Sunday the local Boston "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society is putting on an afternoon of drinks, light food, conversation, music, and sketching starting at 3:30.

The admission price of $25 (payable at the door in cash or check) includes beer, wine, soft drinks, light food, and artists' supplies. We've hired two artists models (one male and one female) for two hours to pose for you. Artists are welcome, but the event is directed toward non-artists. After giving a few brief pointers on how to sketch the nude figure, David Trumbull creates a fun, relaxed atmosphere in which you will we be surprised just how well you do at drawing our models for the afternoon. Mr. Benchley would be perfectly at home at this combination party/sketching session. In the 1920s the Algonquin Round Table members did much of their partying at the painting studio of Neysa McMein, while she was busy at the easel. Maybe someone will read Mr. Benchley's essay "Artist’s Model Succumbs" to put us in the mood. Those of you who were with the Robert Benchley Society delegation at the 2007 Dorothy Parker Society "Parkerfest" in New York City remember that one of the highlights of the weekend was a party featuring a life drawing class modelled on Molly Crabtree's successful Dr. Skethcy's Anti-Art School classes. Let's see if we can have as much or more fun in Boston with pencil and pad.


If you need an overnight room contact David at david@robertbenchley.org and he'll book you a room at the Harvard Club.