All programs are at the American Antiquarian Society on the corner of Salisbury and Park unless otherwise noted.
Friday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m.
“Emancipating Lincoln: How the Great Emancipator Led –and Misled –America to Freedom,”
By Harold Holzer
Co-sponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College
In its own time, the Emancipation Proclamation was considered a politically risky, even revolutionary act. In more recent years, many Americans have been taught that it was cautious, insincere, and ineffective. What was the true impact and intent of Lincoln’s most famous executive order? And what did he do to prepare the public for its announcement–sometimes to the detriment of his own reputation? This lecture will examine the weeks leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation, and explore the occasional differences between what Lincoln said and what he did on the issue of slavery.
Wednesday, April 24, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester, MA
“Creating Historical Theater: A Dramatic Reading of Sockdology”
With Jeffrey Hatcher
In partnership with the Hanover Theatre
Cost: $10 for the general public, free for Hanover and AAS members
Reserve tickets by calling: 508.471.1781
This program will feature a reading of the play Sockdology by Jeffrey Hatcher and a discussion about creating historical theater. Sockdology is a nineteenth century boxing term that means a “finishing blow” or the “brutal end of everything.” It is part of the dialogue of the play Our American Cousin and was likely the last word Abraham Lincoln heard before he was assassinated while watching this play at Ford’s Theater. Hatcher used this historical footnote to create a play about the acting troupe performing Our American Cousin and the impact Lincoln’s death had on them and the nation.
Thursday, May 2, at 7:00 p.m.
“Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution”
By Nathaniel Philbrick
For most of us the American Revolution is about the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and how George Washington led the colonies through the decade-long struggle that ultimately led to the formation of the United States. Lost in this account toward liberty is the truly cataclysmic nature of how the revolution began: the interplay of ideologies and personalities that provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans, and sailors to take up arms against their own country. In this lecture, based upon his forthcoming book Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, award-winning and bestselling author, Nathaniel Philbrick, describes pre-Revolutionary Boston—a city of 15,000 inhabitants packed onto a land-connected island of just 1.2 square miles—and the gradual up-tick of tension that climaxed in June 1775 with the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major and decisive battle of what became the American Revolution.
Thursday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m.
“Spectacle and Reform in Nineteenth-Century America”
By Amy E. Hughes
In the nineteenth century, long before film and television arrived to electrify audiences with explosions, car chases, and narrow escapes, it was America’s theaters that offered audiences such thrills, with “sensation scenes” of speeding trains, burning buildings, and endangered bodies, often in melodramas extolling the virtues of temperance, abolition, and women’s suffrage. Based upon her latest book, Spectacles of Reform Theater and Activism in Nineteenth-Century America, Hughes program scrutinizes these peculiar intersections of spectacle and reform, revealing that spectacle plays a crucial role in American activism. Engaging evidence from lithographs to children’s books to typography catalogs, she will trace the cultural history of three famous sensation scenes—the drunkard suffering from the delirium tremens, the fugitive slave escaping over a river, and the victim tied to the railroad tracks—and argues that spectacle was central to the dramaturgy of reform. Ultimately, she suggests that today’s producers and advertisers still exploit the affective dynamism of spectacle, reaching an even broader audience through electronic media and the Internet.
Tuesday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m.
“Factual Flights and Fictional Worlds: Historical Truth and Narrative Invention in The Movement of Stars”
By Amy Brill
Amy Brill’s debut novel The Movement of Stars was researched at the American Antiquarian Society and is inspired by the work of Maria Mitchell, the first professional female astronomer in America. The novel tells the story of Hannah Gardner Price a young woman living on Nantucket in 1845 whose passion for astronomy and her relationships with a whaler from the Azores put her in direct conflict with the mores and conventions of the Nantucket Quaker community in which she was raised, where simplicity and restraint are valued above all, and a woman’s path is expected to lead to marriage and motherhood. During this presentation, Brill will read selections from her novel and comment on the journey of research and writing that led to its creation.
Thursday, May 23, at 7:00 p.m.
“Hidden Histories in Nineteenth-Century Scrapbooks”
By Ellen Gruber Garvey
Men and women 150 years ago grappled with information overload by making scrapbooks – the ancestors of Google and blogging. From Mark Twain to Abraham Lincoln to Susan B. Anthony, African American janitors to farmwomen, abolitionists to Confederates, people cut out and pasted down their reading. Their scrapbooks some of them at AAS – left us a rarely examined record of what they read and how they read it. This talk, based on Ellen Gruber Garvey’s new book, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance opens a new window into the feelings and thoughts of ordinary and extraordinary Americans.
Thursday, June 6, at 7:00 p.m.
“Parallel Lives of a Patriotic Heroine and a Spy”
by Nancy Rubin Stuart
Ever wonder why the rights of women are still endangered today? Or how marriage can change the destiny of those who marry powerful men? Award-winning author Nancy Rubin Stuart’s presentation from her double biography, Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women Who Married Political Radicals illustrates how two teenage brides managed long, happy marriages to famous Revolutionary-era men. Their husbands were the handsome traitor Benedict Arnold and the patriotic General Henry Knox.