The History Book Festival is a non-profit community event, formed under the Greater Lewes Foundation and run by a board of volunteers. We believe in the power of history, literature, and civil dialog to change the future for the better.
Jen Mason, Co-Chair
Jen Mason owns biblion: used books and rare finds and The Vintage Underground on Second Street in Lewes. Before opening her shops, Jen was a stay-at-home mother, having retired from directing an international organizational development and instructional design team for the world’s largest printing company. She also worked as the Development Director for nine of Yale University’s professional schools, as well as a regional project manager for AT&T. Throughout her career, Jen has shared her time and talents with multiple civic organizations, serving on boards of directors for numerous non-profits and interfaith organizations as well as many event committees. Currently she is a director for the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and for Coastal Concerts, in addition to advising the Historic Lewes Farmers Market and the Greater Lewes Community Village. She and her daughter, Clare, live in Lewes with their dog, Nellie, and their cat, Spot.
Ron Collins, Co-Chair
Ronald Collins was the Harold S. Shefelan Distinguished Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law. In 1982, he served as a Supreme Court Fellow under Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Collins is the author or co-author of eleven books, including When Money Speaks (2014), On Dissent: Its Meaning in America (2013), Mania: The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives that Launched a Cultural Revolution (2013), The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall & Rise of An American Icon (2002), The Judge: 26 Machiavellian Lessons (2017), Robotica: Speech Rights & Artificial Intelligence (2018), and The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL (2019).
He is the book editor of SCOTUSblog. In 2010, Collins was a fellow in residence at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was one of the founders of the Washington Independent Review of Books and also served on its board of editors. He lives in Lewes and Bethesda with his wife, Susan.
Susan Kehoe, Bookseller & Program
Susan Kehoe is Managing Partner of Browseabout Books, a thriving community bookshop (now in its 43rd year) on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Virginia Tech and has 27 years of publishing and bookselling experience. Susan lives in Rehoboth with her husband, Matt, their son, Aiden, and two dogs.
Matthew Ash, Treasurer and Logistics
A resident since 2011, Matthew Ash spent most of his time in the Washington D.C. area where he was a corporate and securities lawyer and was also involved in numerous businesses and nonprofits. He is an avid reader of history and has focused on helping the History Book Festival establish organizational structure, obtain its trademarks, and has taken on the role of Treasurer. In addition, he will work with the various venues to ensure the smooth operation of the festival. Matthew grew up in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan and Georgetown Law School. His is now retired and is pursuing his interests in cabinet making and bicycling.
Barbara Hames, Author Logistics
Barbara Hames has been a writer since childhood, when she produced a neighborhood “newspaper,” had a poem published in a children’s magazine, and wrote historical plays in which her friends performed. As an adult, she worked as a communications officer and editor, as well as a freelance author of reviews, essays, and feature articles for newspapers and magazines, and a copyeditor for a quarterly magazine and two books. Since she retired to Lewes in 2014, Barbara used her communications skills as a volunteer for St. Peter’s Art Show, the Greater Lewes Community Village, and the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice. She has enjoyed taking classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes and is a member of the Lewes Historical Society, the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, Friends of the Lewes Public Library, and the Rehoboth Beach Film Society.
Jim Curtis, Program & Funding
James C. Curtis is Professor Emeritus of the University of Delaware, where he taught American History from 1970 to 2003. He also served as Director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture for twenty years. He lives in Lewes and is the author of four books: The Fox at Bay: Martin Van Buren and the Presidency (1970), Andrew Jackson and the Search for Vindication (1976), Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth, FSA Photography Reconsidered (1989), Discriminating Views, Documentary Photography and Japanese American Internment (2016)
Rebecca Lowe, Program & Volunteer Coordination
Rebecca Lowe is the Adult Program Coordinator at the Lewes Public Library where she is responsible for a wide range of regular and special library events, working with individuals and groups throughout the community to provide programming addressing a broad range of interests. She also is the Development Director and helped with the capital campaign to build the new Library. Prior to working at the library, Rebecca was in the field of social services assisting survivors of domestic violence. During her time as a stay-at-home mom, she became active in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Odyssey of the Mind. Rebecca attended Bryn Mawr College where she received an undergraduate degree in psychology as well as a master’s degree in social services and a master’s in law and social policy. Rebecca lives in Lewes with her husband, Bill, and their children, Daniel and Hannah.
Thomas A. Owen, Funding
Tom Owen spent his career in insurance underwriting and plan design includes the evaluation of a company’s risk management exposures including analyzing their financial risks from various contingencies. He was president of Owen Incorporated, based in the York, Pennsylvania area, specializing primarily in commercial property and casualty insurance. While in York, Tom was a member of the York Chamber of Commerce, the York Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow and was on the boards of the YMCA, Historic York Inc., York Health Corporation, York Insurance Agents Association as well as various organization committees.
Tom and his wife Libby moved to Lewes permanently in 2006 however they had spent many summer vacations here. Since moving to Lewes, Tom has served the community by through the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, the fund raising committee for the Canalfront Park Phase III project and as a former member of the Board of Adjustments.
In 2013 he became a member of the board of the Board of Public Works.
Tom is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, and spent two years in the Army, leaving as a first Lieutenant.
Peter Zoll, Logistics and Marketing
Peter grew up in Washington, D.C. After graduation from university, he worked in economic development, principally in Latin America and the Caribbean, traveling throughout the continent for 30 years. He then found some use for his economics background in money management, spending nearly 10 years in Europe – London, Frankfurt, and Geneva. Upon retiring in 2005, Peter made his way to the Delaware beaches. In addition to relaxing and enjoying beach life, Peter passes his time working on his old cars, spending endless hours researching his genealogy, occasionally using his photographic experience, and volunteering.