The restoration is still in progress, but when complete there will be a donor wall to the left of the front entrance—a metal and wood “tree” that lists the names of all who donated $1000 or more, cash or in-kind contributions. The John Updike Childhood Home is owned by The John Updike Society, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation organized for educational purposes. All contributions are tax deductible, and a letter will be sent acknowledging the donation near the end of the fiscal year.
To donate by check: Send checks to The John Updike Society, James Plath, 1504 Paddington Dr., Bloomington, IL 61704.
To donate via PayPal: Send your contribution to email@example.com
Interested corporations and foundations: Contact James Plath, President, firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to cash donations, the society is looking to acquire John Updike-related items (postcards, letters, signed books, posters, objects, clothing, golf clubs and tennis racquets, etc.) as well as memorabilia and furniture from 1932-1945, especially:
- Shillington H.S. and elementary school items (handbooks, report cards, photos, etc.)
- A “dome-topped brown Philco [radio] with an orange dial” that Updike recalled being in the parlor.
- Items related to Wesley and Linda Updike (a portion of his chalkboard or chalk tray, photos, graded essays, etc.)
- County poorhouse items (photos, objects, etc.)
- Pagoda and Pomeroy’s Department Store items
- General Reading and Shillington items from that period
- Furniture and items that were sold at the Linda Grace Hoyer Updike Auction that once belonged to Mrs. Updike and were from the Plowville farm and possibly the house at Philadelphia Ave.
- Period furniture owned by people with an Updike connection (beds, dressers, tables and plant stands, etc.)
- Items related to the Five Corners area, Grace Lutheran Church, local businesses from 1932-45 like Stephen’s “luncheonette” and the movie house, Kindt’s Funeral Home (even pencils wanted!), Sunday school perfect attendance medals, etc.
- Late 1930s to early 1940s orange crates (that Updike played with on the side porch)
- A period broom rack with broom (again from the side porch)
- A period wire lawn chair, greenish-blue, with a springy seat (side porch)
- A round oak table with claw foot pedestal base and matching chairs for dining room
- For the front parlor: an “old Oriental rug with its mazy border and the cane-back settee and its companion chairs—their horsehair cushions holding that musty, oyster scent country parlors have”
- An “old upright Chickering” circa 1900-1922 for the piano room/living room
- Late 1930s to early 1940s “rubber Disney dolls—Mickey Mouse and Pluto, Donald Duck and Ferdinand”
- Period dotted swiss curtains
In this museum we aim to tell the story of a great American writer. In addition, because the house is connected to the Shillington founding family, we also look to celebrate the Borough of Shillington and Berks County that meant so much to Updike.