Book Signing for Bless Her Heart by Knoxville Journalist, Barbara Aston-Wash

On June 9, 2018 Glenmore Mansion will celebrate its 150th Birthday and as part of the events scheduled, Barbara Aston-Wash, noted Knoxville News Sentinel journalist, will be present for a book signing in the Glenmore Dining Room from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Barbara’s book, Bless Her Heart, is a historical novel chronicling the life and times of Ellen McClung Berry.  Autographed copies of her book will be available for purchase.

“Why Glenmore as a site for a book about Ellen McClung Berry?” The short answer is that Ellen McClung Berry was instrumental in securing Glenmore Mansion from the Jarnagin heirs and was actively engaged in its early restoration, interior decorating, and opening of the site as a house museum in 1972.  Some 30% of the furnishings and decorative artifacts at Glenmore can be attributed to Ellen Berry.  Without her leadership in the State A.P.T.A and local Jefferson County Chapter, Glenmore might have been lost to time.  Due to her early efforts, Glenmore Mansion is one of East Tennessee’s few remaining examples of the Second Empire architectural style, illustrative of the mid-Victorian era.

Ellen McClung Berry (1894-1992) was a southern aristocrat who lived a storied life. Growing up in Knoxville as the only child of Judge Hugh Lawson McClung and his wife Ella Gibbons McClung, she enjoyed a lifestyle of the social elite, traveling widely in America and Europe.  Her marriage at age 34 to industrialist Thomas Berry allowed her to continue her travels and later cultivate with her husband a growing interest in the restoration of historical homes in East Tennessee.  She and Tomas lived some 38 years near White Pine after purchasing and restoring the pre-civil war home known as River View (renamed Fairfax), built by Tennessee’s first millionaire, Lawson D. Franklin.

Barbara Aston-Wash skillfully blends historical fact and creative fiction to chronicle Ellen Berry’s aristocratic life, filled with romance, tragedy, and misfortune.   Despite the loss of her wealth, Ellen Berry continued to live in Jefferson City until her death in 1992 at age 98.  Residents fondly remember her as a hospitable and gracious lady.

Barbara Aston-Wash’s recently published novel, Bless Her Heart, is a fascinating read of romance, murder, suicide, and the loss of great wealth; a book of special interest to history buffs, romantics, and those familiar with Jefferson County history.

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