The Team

Jen Mason, Co-Chair History Book Festival

Jen Mason owns biblion:used book and rare finds on Second Street in Lewes.  In addition, she works as a freelance writer and editor, most recently serving as Editor in Chief of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware’s newspaper for over a decade.  Before opening her shop, 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 one too many cats.

Ron Collins, Co-Chair History Book Festival

Ronald Collins is 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 some 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), and Robotica: Speech Rights & Artificial Intelligence (2018).

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. 

Tom Thunstrom, Communications and Marketing

Tom Thunstrom spent plenty of weekends at the Delaware Beaches and can tell you that the locals definitely pronounce Lewes as Loo-is. He moved to Lewes from suburban Philadelphia in 2017 but hails originally from Minneapolis with a degree in History from the University of Minnesota. A recovering banker, Tom now consults and advises businesses at the Small Business Development Center in Sussex County and also consults nonprofits independently as well. Tom's favorite historical subjects are the Roosevelt family, Dwight Eisenhower, and the evolution of journalism.

Ruth Cohen, Fundraising and Communications

Ruth Cohen has always been passionate about books. She moved to Lewes with her husband, Gerry, a year ago, intent on getting involved in the community. She is thrilled to be working on The History Book Festival and is also a volunteer on the YWCA's Sexual Assault Response Line. Ruth's past volunteer service included serving on the board of a women's shelter in central PA and working in Philadelphia as a Make-a-Wish volunteer.

Jim Curtis, Author/Book Selection

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, Adult Program Coordinator and Library Liaison

Rebecca 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.

Matt Ash, Budget and Logistics

A resident since 2011, Matt 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.

Thomas A. Owen, Fundraising

Tom spent his career in insurance underwriting and plan design includes the evaluation of a company’s risk management exposurs 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.