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Pottsville Library Planning John O’Hara 115th Birthday Celebration

John Ohara
(Coal Region Canary photo)

The Pottsville Free Public Library wants your input on how best to celebrate John O’Hara’s 115th birthday in 2020.

They’re holding a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 2 p.m. at the Pottsville library to field some ideas for the planned week-long event.

Right now, they’re planning on a novel reading among the events for O’Hara week, as well as a birthday party on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

Who is John O’Hara?

John Ohara

(Coal Region Canary photo)

As time goes on, it’s more likely less people will know who John O’Hara is. He’ll go down as one of those people who make people say, “You’re kidding? That guy was from Pottsville?”

To be brief: O’Hara is one of the more under-appreciated writers of the 20th Century who spent quite a bit of time in Pottsville, being born here and gaining notoriety locally as a newspaper columnist.

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John O’Hara is an accomplished novelist and short story writer. He’s best known for his works Appointment in Samarra, BUtterfield 8, and Ten North Frederick.

BUtterfield 8 was turned into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, and Eddie Fisher in 1960.

For many of his works, Pottsville served as the setting for O’Hara’s work, a place he called Gibbsville.

John O’Hara Birthday Party Planning

Here are some off-the-top-of-our-head ideas we’ve got for the O’Hara Birthday Week in Pottsville:

BUtterfield 8 Showing

john ohara butterfield 8

The library likely would have to find the legal loopholes to do it but a showing of BUtterfield 8, perhaps at some refurbished vintage theater downtown might be a good idea. Attract an outside audience to the showing by tying it in to a social media hashtag discussion.

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O’Hara Cocktails

Pottsville’s favorite literary son was known to be a bit of a drinker.

Coordinate with some local drinking establishments to feature some O’Hara-era cocktails on their menu for the week.

Cruise-In and Party

A cruise-in event featuring cars of the O’Hara Era culminating with some themed party could be a great way to chase away the winter, post-Christmas blues.

Get Involved in the John O’Hara Party Planning

Contact Pottsville library staff to let them know you’re interested in helping.

They’ve listed Becki White, Reference Librarian, as a point of contact. Reach out via email at or on the phone at 570-622-8880.

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  1. Carol Ritter Wright

    August 27, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Suggestion: Wear a club tie, college fraternity gear, cufflinks, custom-tailored outfit (need not be new or made for you), etc. O’Hara paid very close attention to these details and mentioned them in just about everything he wrote (I’ve read it all, many times). Have a contest for the best O’Hara outfit (male) and best Jazz Age outfit (female). And anything that shouts YALE! gets a bonus. Yale is the key to understanding O’Hara. Just read some of his work and you’ll see why.

    • admin

      August 28, 2019 at 1:29 am

      Fun ideas!

  2. Pingback: Pottsville Library Announces Plans for O'Hara 115th Celebration - Coal Region Canary

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