The Lycoming County Genealogical Society May program will feature H. Jane Luther and Mary L. Sieminski speaking on “The Julia Quest: Searching for Julia C. Collins in Lycoming County and Beyond.” The program will be held in the Community Room of the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society, 858 West Fourth Street, Williamsport. The program is Saturday, May 20 at 1:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available at 12:30 p.m.

Julia C. Collins is the author of The Curse of Caste; or, the Slave Bride, the first novel published by an African American woman, written while she was a schoolteacher for the African American children of Williamsport in 1865. A Pennsylvania state historical marker was dedicated in her name on the River Walk in Williamsport in 2010. Sadly, little is known about Collins’s life, not even her name at birth, or when or where she was born.

Jane Luther and Mary Sieminski are determined to change that and have been searching for traces of Julia for eight years. They have discovered many links to Julia in Lycoming and Union Counties. They will discuss how they have traced these links and others in Williamsport, Lewisburg, Lock Haven, New York, and Connecticut

Jane Luther is a resident of Jersey Shore and has family roots in Union and Lycoming Counties dating from at least 1830. She has concrete information that suggests that she is related to Julia Collins through her great-grandparents.

Mary Sieminski is a retired librarian from Williamsport. She is the manager of the Lycoming County Women's History Collection and is fascinated by local and women’s history. Mary writes a monthly column in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette on Lycoming County women.