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Member’s Choice: Understand the Ampersand: Secret Power at Your Command

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Registration is required
Members only with no fee

Member’s Choice: Understand the Ampersand: Secret Power at Your Command

Nancy Upper

How many ampersands do you see in a day? More than you realize. They are everywhere, if you take the time to notice. In Edinburgh, the law firm Ampersand Advocates offers outstanding legal services. London’s Ampersand building provides prime office and residential suites. France produced a super-yacht named Ampersand. New Zealand established the Ampersand eatery. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Ampersand group of poets writes and performs their original work in English.

What’s up with this funny typographic character, the word ampersand, and their meanings? Why should we take the time to notice—and to care? Why does the world care about ampersands?

Nancy Upper will lead a global tour of ampersands, and show how the ampersand rose from scribal abbreviation to artistic statement, business symbol, and people connector. She will explain why ampersands are important, and as a finale, present an ampersand adventure you can do today.

Nancy Upper is a sales support rep for Adobe, where she came to love ampersands. As a communications writer for MIT, she connected with students and corporate leaders. As author of Ballet Dancers in Career Transition: Sixteen Success Stories, she connected with performing artists. As a Boston Athenæum Membership Ambassador, she connects with members and visitors. As author of the forthcoming book Power of Ampersand, she connects with people around the world. As founder and creative director of the Uppersand™ Project, she strengthens global accord through books, events, contests, films, and products, all centered on the ampersand.


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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or