Frances Glessner Lee’s Birthday Gala Celebration
Saturday, March 23, 2019

We invite you to join us in sponsoring Frances Glessner Lee’s Birthday Gala Celebration, the kick-off to a week of events celebrating our most famous Glessner family member and the unveiling of the first phase of the restoration of her childhood bedroom. A National Historic Landmark, Glessner House remains an internationally-known architectural treasure in Chicago and served as an inspiration to architects such as Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, and the young Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Event Overview
This exclusive, black-tie dinner party, seated between the Glessner’s formal dining room and their beautifully decorated coach house, is projected to begin with cocktails and end with dessert and a program in a heated tent in the courtyard of the House. During the evening there will be an exclusive opportunity to be the first guests to view the first phase of restoration of Frances Glessner Lee’s childhood bedroom, generously funded by an anonymous donor.   

6:30 pm    Cocktail reception and behind-the-scenes tours of the restoration
7:30 pm    Dinner followed by dessert and program 

Event Guests
110 guests are expected to attend this exclusive event, with more than 700 anticipated to see the partially restored room and attend the events throughout the week.   

Gala Sponsors:
Anonymous (2)
Ithaka Foundation
Kelly Jones
Tanya Silvio
Tori Simms

Special thanks to:
Art of Imagination, Binny’s, D’Absolute Events & Catering, Emily Deschanel “Bones,” Lagunitas Brewing Co., David McCallum “NCIS,” Sara Paretsky, and the Gary Sinise Foundation.


Learn more about Glessner House and Frances Glessner Lee Week by tuning into a
Preserve Cast podcast posted March 4, 2019.

Frances Glessner Lee Week
Additional Events
March 25-30, 2019 

Glessner House is delighted to announce Frances Glessner Lee’s birthday and our next major restoration project. Inspired by the recent return of Fanny Glessner’s childhood bed, a generous anonymous donor has provided funding for the first phase of restoration of her bedroom. This exciting project will include rebuilding the missing wall between her bedroom and that of her brother George; recreating missing moldings; repairing and refinishing the floor; and reconstructing the ‘secret passage’ that connected the two children’s bedrooms.

The week of activities includes important fundraising events as well as engaging public programs designed to connect with long-time supporters and to introduce Glessner House to new audiences in and around Chicagoland. The week includes:

Frances Glessner Lee Birthday Party
Monday, March 25, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00pm

This celebration is the public opening of the first phase of restoration of Fanny Glessner’s bedroom. The event will include beverages, hors d’oeuvres, music on the stunning parlor piano, tours of the restoration, recognition of our generous donor, and, of course, birthday cake!
Birthday Party sponsors: Thomas Gotlund, Nina Botting Herbst, Tanya Silvio, and Karen Wilson.

Click here to become a birthday party sponsor.

Anatomy of a Restoration
Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 7:00 – 8:30pm

Restoration of historic buildings requires an extensive tool kit. Part art, part science, and entirely creative, accurate restoration involves planning, research, engineering, recreation, preservation and much more. This panel presentation will examine restoration from top to bottom with a deep look at our Fanny Glessner bedroom restoration project as well as other notable intriguing projects at the house.

Screening of Mystery Street
Friday, March 29, 2019, 7:00 – 9:00pm

Frances Glessner Lee was instrumental in launching the field of forensic science through her endowment of the Harvard Department of Legal Medicine in 1931 (the first in the country). In 1950, Director John Sturges’ film noir classic Mystery Street featured Harvard forensics department in the solution of a diabolical murder and blackmail detective story.

Murder in a Nutshell: A Frances Glessner Lee Whodunit Event
Saturday, March 30, 2019, 7:00 – 8:30pm

You are invited to become the detective as we venture deep inside Frances Glessner Lee’s Nutshell Studies. Using Lee’s written crime scene descriptions and detailed photographs, members of the audience will work together to unravel the clues Lee placed in the models and try to determine - was it suicide, accidental death, or murder?