Opening Reception: Noon to 4 p.m., Nov 12, 2017
The World of H.C. Bunner: Changing the Tastes of America, from New York to Nutley
NUTLEY MUSEUM EXHIBIT: Nov. 12, 2017 to Dec. 3, 2017
The World of H.C. Bunner: Changing the Tastes of America From New York to Nutley
Please join us at the opening of a terrific and important exhibit at the Nutley Museum, 65 Church St., Nutley, on Sunday, November 12.
This fall, Henry Cuyler Bunner will be inducted into the Nutley Hall of Fame. To celebrate that event, the Nutley Historical Society is presenting “The World of H.C. Bunner: Changing the Tastes of America from New York to Nutley.” Henry Bunner (1855–1896) was an internationally known editor, author, and poet who lived on Whitford Avenue for the last ten years of his short life.
Items from the Nutley Museum’s collection and on loan from other institutions anchor an exhibit that celebrates (1) the New York literary giant and (2) our Nutley homeboy.
As editor of the incredibly successful and influential Puck magazine, the New York Bunner shone a light on political corruption and promoted the rights of women and the many immigrants, whom he called “the new Americans,” flowing into the country, At the same time, Bunner was one of a prominent author and poet at the powerful Scribner’s Sons publishing house. But his most important influence came from challenging authors to begin basing their literary characters on American models rather than continuing to look to Europe.
Autographed first-edition Bunner books, original copies of Puck, never-before-seen artwork by Puck artists and Bunner family members, hand-written Bunner correspondence and poetry, and many other items explain and celebrate the New York Bunner.
Bunner’s Nutley was also an exciting place at an exciting time. Bunner lived on Whitford Avenue in a home he loved (he called it “the Bunnery”), and commuted by train to his office in Lower Manhattan. His neighbors were some of Nutley’s most influential citizens, including Annie Oakley and Jack Bouvier, and he lived a short walk from Guthries, the original Grace Church, the Highfield Lane train station, and the Nutley Field Club, of which he was a founding member—and Master of Games!
Beautiful period photographs, enlarged postcards, and handwritten documents show off Mr. Bunner’s neighborhood.
Since Annie Oakley was a close friend of Bunner’s (collaborating with him on the 1894 Nutley Amateur Circus, among other things), the museum’s Annie Oakley collection will be presented in that light. New discoveries in the museum’s archives have made our collection one of the most significant in the country.
Even our Guthries store items become relevant, not only because that was where Bunner hung out with the likes of Samuel Clemens discussing politics and eating ice cram, but because each and every phone call the New York editor took or made during his Nutley days was from the oak phone booth that now sits in our museum—it was the only one in town during his time here.
And Bunner was also a part of Nutley’s larger art colony. Over the last few years I have substantially improved and expanded our art collection from that period, and about a dozen works from artists who were friends with Bunner will be featured.
My co-curator is Linda Selman, a New York actress and director who is also a Bunner expert. The entire second floor of the museum will be transformed into this free exhibit. Victorian clothing from the museum’s extensive collection will help set the tone.
At noon on Sunday, November 12, a formal opening will take place on the first floor of the museum. Linda Selman will present some exciting research on H.C. Bunner, after which the upstairs exhibit will open. We are excited that Bunner’s great-grandson is traveling from Florida to be at the event. The building will be nicely decorated, and Victorian-inspired refreshments will be served.
I hope to see you at the opening of this important exhibit at the Nutley Museum honoring the great American editor, author, and poet and now Nutley Hall of Famer, H.C. Bunner.
Nutley Historical Society & Museum, 65 Church Street, Nutley, N.J. 07110