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Presenter: Ann McClellan
The recent spate of Sherlock Holmes movies, television shows, and literary adaptations indicate the Great Detective is alive and well in the 21st century. Holmes is the most portrayed literary character of all time, with over 230 film versions alone in several different languages. Over the past century, Sherlockians created societies like the Baker Street Irregulars, wrote articles sussing out the "sources" of Doyle's works, and, most recently, developed an entire online world of Holmesian fan fiction. Sherlock Holmes is now a multi-million dollar industry. Why is Sherlock Holmes so popular? Ann McClellan's presentation explores the origins of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective and tracks his incarnations in literature, film, advertising, and modern media in order to crack the case of the most popular detective.
This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Robert Goodby
More than 12,000 years ago, small groups of Paleoindians endured frigid winters on the edge of a small river in what would become Keene, New Hampshire. In 2009, an archaeological survey for the new Keene Middle School discovered the remains of their stay and brought to light one of the oldest Native American sites in New England. The remarkably intact site produced evidence of four separate dwellings containing over 200 stone tools and fragments of burned animal bone. These early people, rather than being isolated stone-age nomads, were part of a social network that extended across much of northeastern North America. The discovery and excavation of the site was required by the National Historic Preservation Act, a frequently maligned piece of legislation that in this instance worked to save an irreplaceable piece of the human story in the Monadnock region.
Presenter: John Gfroerer
This program presents a brief history of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, from its origins during the Progressive era of the early twentieth century, through its evolution to the most important step toward being elected President of the United States. Based around segments from the documentary "The Premier Primary, New Hampshire and Presidential Elections" this program focuses on several memorable moments such as Senator Muskie crying in front of the Union Leader office, and who paid for Ronald Reagan's microphone. Clips from the documentary are interspersed with discussion and questions about how New Hampshire came to hold this important political event every four years. Led by John Gfroerer, who has produced several documentaries about New Hampshire's political history, including "The Premier Primary."This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Sharon Wood
Speaking as Betsey Phelps, the mother of a Union soldier from Amherst, New Hampshire who died heroically at the Battle of Gettysburg, Sharon Wood offers an informative and sensitive reflection on that sacrifice from a mother's perspective. Wood blends the Phelps boy's story with those of other men who left their New Hampshire homes to fight for the Union cause and of the families who supported them on the home front.
Presenter: Robert Perreault
Presenter: Steve Wood
Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Steve Wood, begins this program by recounting his early life and ends with a reading of the "Gettysburg Address." Along the way he comments on the debates with Stephen Douglas, his run for the presidency, and the Civil War.
Presenter: Sally Mummey
Presenter: Adair Mulligan
Northern New England is full of reminders of past lives: stone walls, old foundations, a century-old lilac struggling to survive as the forest reclaims a once-sunny dooryard. What forces shaped settlement, and later abandonment, of these places? Adair Mulligan explores the rich story to be discovered in what remains behind. See how one town has set out to create an inventory of its cellar holes, piecing together the clues in the landscape. Such a project can help landowners know what to do if they have archaeological sites on their land and help stimulate interest in a town's future through its past.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Deborah Goss
Deborah Anne Goss appears as Abby Hutchinson Patton, recalling mid-19th-century U.S. and New Hampshire history and performing rousing anthems, heartfelt ballads, and humorous ditties sung during anti-slavery and early women's rights struggles. In the 1840s and 1850s the Hutchinson Family Singers strongly influenced the opinions of the era with their popular songs promoting healthy living and social justice-most prominently the abolition of slavery. Participants are encouraged to join in the singing on several choruses or read a poem or political diatribe of the time.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Dan Billin
American slavery divided not just the North from the South, but also northerners from each other. In the mid-1830s, the emergence of an aggressive abolitionist movement provoked fierce blowback—including widespread mob violence in the North. Canaan, N.H., became one of many New England flashpoints after abolitionists there opened a school for all students, regardless of race or gender. Young Black men and women flocked to Noyes Academy but were soon driven away by a voter-sanctioned mob that dragged their school building a half-mile down the main street and threatened them with death. Students who passed through that fire—Julia Williams, Henry Highland Garnet and Alexander Crummell—went on to extraordinary careers in the fight against slavery and for Black civil rights. Historian Dan Billin presents an illustrated lecture that plumbs the depths of anti-abolitionist sentiment in antebellum New Hampshire and the courage of Black students who were destined for greatness.
Presenter: Glenn Knoblock
One of the most interesting aspects of the American Revolution is the role played by African Americans in the fight for independence. Both free African Americans and those that were enslaved were key in manning state militias and Continental Army units, as well as serving on the high seas in the Navy and on privately armed ships. Indeed, their service to the colonies was crucial in a conflict that lasted nearly seven years. Prohibited from serving in military units and largely considered "undesirable elements," how is it that these African-American soldiers came to fight for the cause of liberty, even when their own personal liberty was not guaranteed? Glenn Knoblock examines the history of African-American soldiers' service during the war, including how and why they enlisted, their interaction with white soldiers, service on the battlefields, how they were perceived by the enemy and the officers under whom they served, and their treatment after the war.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jason Sokol
From Brooklyn to Boston, from World War II to the present, Jason Sokol traces the modern history of race and politics in the Northeast. Why did white fans come out to support Jackie Robinson as he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 even as Brooklyn's blacks were shunted into segregated neighborhoods? How was African-American politician Ed Brooke of Massachusetts, who won a Senate seat in 1966, undone by the resistance to desegregation busing in Boston? Is the Northeast's history a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, but inwardly conflicted over race?This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Mohamed Defaa
Sufism is the inner dimension of Sunni Islam. Taking its source in the Quran and the Prophetic tradition, it has often been defined as "the science of spiritual states." Proficiency in this practice should enable the initiated to overcome his ego to achieve the knowledge and contemplation of God. Basically, the Sufi aspires to draw from the spiritual influx (baraka) of the Prophet Muhammad, handed down for centuries from master to disciple, to fight against the passions and delusions that beset him. This talk by Mohamed Defaa will highlight the universality of Sufism, and explain how, over the centuries, the great teachers have adapted the doctrines and practices of initiation to the transformations of the Muslim world. It will also show why Sufism plays an increasing role as an antidote against fundamentalism and radicalism.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jeff Warner
Traditional songs, rich in local history and a sense of place, present the latest news from the distant past. They help us to interpret present-day life with an understanding of the working people who built our country. Tavern songs, banjo tunes, 18th century New England hymns, sailor songs, and humorous stories about traditional singers and their songs highlight this informative program by Jeff Warner.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Shanta Lee Gander
Lucy Terry Prince was born in Africa, where she was kidnapped by slave traders and transported to Rhode Island. While still enslaved in 1746, she wrote “Bars Fight,” the oldest known poem in the United States written by an African American. Prince later regained her freedom and moved to Vermont with her husband, Abijah Prince, and fought for her family’s land rights all the way to the highest court in Vermont. In this presentation, Shanta Lee Gander illustrates Prince’s importance as a poet and orator, and as one unafraid to fight for her rights within the landscape of early Vermont, New England, and America. Gander will also perform Lucy’s only surviving poem, “Bars Fight.”
Grace DeRepentigny Metalious believed that in rejecting her own ethnic and religious heritage, she would come closer to inheriting the "American Dream." Her Quebecois ancestry and her formative years in Manchester reveal aspects of the author that the public rarely knew. Robert Perreault focuses on Metalious's most autobiographical and ethnically-oriented but little-known novel, No Adam in Eden.
Presenter: George Morrison
We all think we know the story of Benedict Arnold, the American Revolutionary War general who fought for the Continental Army but then defected to the British. Recalled mainly as a traitor for his 1780 defection, Arnold had risked his life and fortune for American freedom in courageous exploits between 1775 and 1778, when the dream of independence was at its most fragile. As an officer in the Continental Army, Arnold ably led American forces in desperate circumstances against impossible odds, in a blinding snowstorm, through a howling wilderness, and against the extraordinary might of the Royal Navy. George Morrison will take you on a journey through New England, Canada, and New York tracing the complex story of this infamous American icon.
Presenter: Thomas Hubka
Through architecture unique to northern New England, this illustrated talk focuses on several case studies that show how farmers converted their typical separate house and barns into connected farmsteads. Thomas Hubka's research in his award-winning book, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, demonstrates that average farmers were, in fact, motivated by competition with farmers in other regions of America, who had better soils and growing seasons and fewer rocks to clear. The connected farmstead organization, housing equal parts mixed-farming and home-industry, was one of the collective responses to the competitive threat.
Glenn Knoblock explores the fascinating history of New Hampshire's beer and ale brewing industry from Colonial days, when it was home- and tavern-based, to today's modern breweries and brew pubs. Unusual and rare photos and advertisements document this changing industry and the state's earliest brewers, including the renowned Frank Jones. A number of lesser-known brewers and breweries that operated in the state are also discussed, including the only brewery owned and operated by a woman before the modern era. Illustrations present evidence of society's changing attitudes towards beer and alcohol consumption over the years. Whether you're a beer connoisseur or a "tea-totaler", this lecture will be enjoyed by adults of all ages.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Sebastian Lockwood
Meet Caesar, who is descended from the Goddess Venus. This program introduces Caesar as a young boy living with his Mother, Aurelia, and his Aunt Julia, two women who will shape the boy who will be the most powerful man on earth. Using a rich variety of texts, Sebastian Lockwood shows Caesar as a man who clearly saw his destiny and fulfilled that destiny with the help of remarkable women - Cleopatra amongst them. A poet, historian, linguist, architect, general, politician, and engineer, was he truly of the Populi party for the People of Roma? Or a despot and tyrant? This performance shows Caesar as a remarkable genius who transformed his world in ways that still resonate today.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: J. Dennis Robinson
Presenter: Pamela Weeks
Quilts made for use by soldiers during the Civil War are very rare-only twenty are known to exist, and Pam Weeks has studied most of them in person. This illustrated lecture outlines the origins of the U. S. Sanitary Commission at the beginning of the Civil War and examines the roles women played on the home front, and as nurses. The stories of fourteen actual Civil War soldiers' quilts will be highlighted in this program.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Marek Bennett
Marek Bennett presents a whirlwind survey of comics from around the world and throughout history, with special attention to what these vibrant narratives tell (and show) us about the people and periods that created them. Bennett engages and involves the audience in an interactive discussion of several sample comics representing cultures such as Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, the Ancient Maya, Feudal and modern Japan, the United States in the early 20th century, and Nazi Germany during World War II. The program explores the various ways of creating and reading comics from around the world, and what these techniques tell us about the cultures in which they occur.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Dudley Laufman
Covered wooden bridges have been a vital part of the NH transportation network, dating back to the early 1800s. Given NH's myriad streams, brooks, and rivers, it's unsurprising that 400 covered bridges have been documented. Often viewed as quaint relics of a simpler past, they were technological marvels of their day. It may be native ingenuity and NH's woodworking tradition that account for the fact that a number of nationally-noted covered bridge truss designers were NH natives. Glenn Knoblock discusses covered bridge design and technology, and their designers, builders, and associated folklore.
Abenaki history has been reduced to near-invisibility as a result of conquest, a conquering culture that placed little value on the Indian experience, and a strategy of self-preservation that required many Abenaki to go "underground," concealing their true identities for generations to avoid discrimination and persecution. Robert Goodby reveals archaeological evidence that shows their deep presence here, inches below the earth's surface.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Kevin Gardner
Presenter: Herman Tavani
Information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology are converging in ways that were not easily anticipated. We now have distinct new fields such as bioinformatics, computational genomics, nanocomputing and ubiquitous computing. These converging and emerging technologies also introduce a cluster of ethical problems that were not easy to predict or anticipate. Herman Tavani examines a range of issues -- from privacy and informed consent to autonomy and freedom to property rights involving the ownership of genetic information that resides in databases.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Cristina Ashjian
In the early 20th century, the New Hampshire Board of Agriculture launched a program to boost the rural economy and promote tourism through the sale of abandoned farms to summer residents. After introducing the country house movement, Cristina Ashjian focuses attention on some of the great country estates featured in the New Hampshire program between 1902 and 1913. Which private estates were recognized as exemplary, and who were their owners? Using historic images and texts, Ashjian discusses well-known estates now open to the public such as The Fells on Lake Sunapee, The Rocks in Bethlehem, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, and she includes local examples when possible.
Presenter: Marina Forbes
This unique and beautifully illustrated presentation focuses on the life and remarkable work of master jeweler and artist, Peter Carl Fabergé. The program features a spectacular photo-tour of Fabergé collections at world-famous museums and from private collectors around the world. Emphasis is on the important role of egg painting in Slavic culture and on the unique development of this major art form from a traditional craft to the level of exquisite fine art under the patronage of the tsars. The fascinating history of these eggs and their role in the dramatic events of the last decades of Romanov rule in Russia and in the years following the Bolshevik Revolution will also be discussed.
Presenter: Jo Radner
Telling personal and family stories is fun - and much more. Storytelling connects strangers, strengthens links between generations, and gives children the self-knowledge to carry them through hard times. Knowledge of family history has even been linked to better teen behavior and mental health. In this active and interactive program, storyteller Jo Radner shares foolproof ways to mine memories and interview relatives for meaningful stories. Participants practices finding, developing, and telling their own tales.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Maura MacNeil
What family stories do you carry with you? What story do you tell over and over? What landscape do you cherish the most? One of the deepest human instincts is to tell our life stories, to figure out who we are and what it means to be human. This interactive workshop led by Maura MacNeil explores how the landscapes of our lives shape the stories that we tell. Participants explore the themes of family, memory, and place through sample narratives and a series of short writing exercises, gaining a deeper awareness of how their stories can preserve personal, generational, and communal history.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jane Oneail
Women have long been the subject of art, often depicted as nothing more than objects of desire. How do images of women change when women become the creators? This program examines the history of women in art in brief and then explores the lives, careers and works of several major women artists from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Artemisia Gentileschi, Mary Cassatt, and Frida Kahlo are some of the artists discussed in this program.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Marina Dutzmann Kirsch
The true story of the speaker's family from the Axis side of WWII in Latvia, occupied Poland, and Germany—a story that includes two German veterans and provides a perspective seldom heard in the U.S. Though they did not support Hitler or join the Nazi Party, the speaker's father and grandfather, both technically skilled, were forced to serve in the German military after fleeing from Latvia to Germany before the first Soviet takeover of the Baltic States. As of 2022, the presentation includes new maps and parallels between the experiences of the speaker's family in WWII and those of Ukrainians today. By giving a face and name to "the enemy," the presentation offers a seldom-shared perspective on the most devastating world conflict of all time, and sheds light on what it was like to live through war waged on home soil. Flight of Remembrance is a story of love, survival, and a lifelong dream for a career in aeronautical engineering that expanded to a key role in the emerging U.S. space program.
Presenter: Geoffrey R. Kirsch
The long and storied Senate career of New Hampshire’s favorite political son came to an ignominious end with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. After Daniel Webster endorsed the notoriously harsh law as part of a broader compromise meant to forestall civil war, his constituents turned on him as a modern-day Lucifer. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who formerly admired Webster as “the completest man” and “the conscience of the country,” now accused Webster of having “no moral sentiment” and lamented that he had “betrayed the North to please the South.” And after the fugitives Thomas Sims and Anthony Burns were arrested in Boston and forcibly returned to slavery under federal protection, Emerson, like many once-reluctant northerners, embraced radical, militant abolitionism, replacing Webster with John Brown in his pantheon of American heroes. This presentation uses the reactions of Emerson and other contemporaries as a lens through which to view Webster’s downfall, and addresses the following questions: Why did Webster support the Fugitive Slave Act as a means of preserving the Union, and why did it backfire? How does the explosion of antislavery sentiment after 1850 parallel the political polarization and social justice activism of 2020? And how, ultimately, should we assess Webster’s legacy at our own politically fraught moment?
Presenter: Carrie Brown
Carrie Brown explores the technological triumph that helped save the Union and then transformed the nation. During the Civil War, northern industry produced a million and a half rifles, along with tens of thousands of pistols and carbines. How did the North produce all of those weapons? The answer lies in new machinery and methods for producing guns with interchangeable parts. Once the system of mass production had been tested and perfected, what happened after the war? In the period from 1870 to 1910 new factory technology and new print media fueled the development of mass consumerism. While this program tells a broad, national story, it focuses on the critical and somewhat surprising role of Vermont and New Hampshire in producing industrial technology that won the war and changed American life.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Margo Burns
Presenter: Michael Francis
Marek Bennett will deliver an engaging overview of global politics prior to the American Civil War through the lens of early banjo music. Between 1820 and 1860, the banjo transformed from a slave instrument found only on Southern plantations to an international pop phenomenon: songs and playing techniques carried far and wide in the emerging global economy, from the streets of New York's Five Points slum to the gold fields of California and the elite drawing rooms of London, from the battlegrounds of Nicaragua to official diplomatic receptions in Japan. How did this African-derived, slave-borne folk instrument come to symbolize all the best and worst of a young United States of America?
Presenter: Nicole Ruane
Do the three major monotheistic religions worship the same deity? Nicole Ruane traces the rise of the deity who comes to be known as The Lord, God the Father, and Allah from his earliest form as a young god (known as Yah, Yahu or Yahweh) in the area of Syria-Palestine, later merged with the father deity of the local pantheon known as El, and on across the Middle East and through the centuries. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam spread knowledge of this deity, in his various forms, throughout the world. The program will end by examining the question of whether these three religions worship the same deity or whether their understandings of the divine are sufficiently different that they refer to different gods.
Presenter: Chris Benedetto
As one of the last northeastern states with capital punishment still on the books and with its first person on death row since 1939, New Hampshire continues to struggle with this controversial issue. Chris Benedetto examines the history of the death penalty in New Hampshire and the major legal and social issues which challenged our predecessors, revealing that many of these issues still haunt us today.This program is also available as an online presentation.
New Hampshire has attracted and inspired artists since the colonial era. What is distinctive about the art made here? This program will consider works by itinerant and folk painters, landscape artists drawn to the state's scenic vistas, and modern artists that adopted bold styles to depict everyday life in the Granite State. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Childe Hassam, and Maxfield Parrish are some of the artists discussed in this program.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Bob Cottrell
America's most beloved illustrator created dozens of images related to the second World War. What happens when an artist known for his use of humor tackles the serious subject of war? This program explores how Norman Rockwell's work departs from earlier artistic interpretations of American conflicts and considers how and why he chose specific wartime themes to present to the millions of readers of the Saturday Evening Post.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Using the well known scenes of The Odyssey, Sebastian Lockwood delivers the passion and intensity of the great epic that deserves to be heard told as it was by bards in the days of old. Lockwood says, "The best compliment is when a ten-year-old comes up and says, 'I felt like I was there.'" That is the magic of the performance that takes students and adults alike back into the text.The following Q & A can focus on translations and the storytelling techniques used by Homer.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Kate Gaudet
In the midst of New Hampshire's opioid crisis, we are far from the time when addiction was an unfamiliar and even taboo subject. Narratives of addiction and recovery have become their own genre, with familiar shapes and forms that reflect deep cultural ideas about morality, free will, and social responsibility. The popularity of such narratives has created opportunities for empathy and understanding; they have also fostered particular beliefs about how addiction and recovery work. This talk will explore some of the most common stories about addiction, providing tools for understanding on a narrative and structural level. From this foundation, we will explore whether the familiarity of some stories might create barriers to recognizing different experiences of addiction or approaches to recovery, and think about where we might find more diverse accounts to inform our understanding of and response to addiction.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: R. Scott Smith
Greek myth exerted a powerful influence on the Greeks and Romans, and as cultures and circumstances changed, different methods developed to incorporate mythology. Perhaps most notably, says presenter R. Scott Smith, Christians adopted and adapted Greek myths by allegorizing the stories, seeking to uncover the real-and Christian-truths underneath the facade of pagan gods and heroes. Some Greeks tried to rationalize the stories, imagining that they were simply ordinary events that were blown out of proportion. Others saw myth as pseudo-history, or sometimes pseudo-science. This program will investigate the major ways that the Greeks tried to explain and interpret their own mythical past over the course of a thousand years.
Presenter: James Rousmaniere
Granite Staters' impact on fresh water - and, conversely, inland waters' impact on Granite Staters - has evolved over time. Our pollution has changed, as has our hydro-power, our experiences with floods, our watershed protections, our exposure to invasive vegetation, and our use of water in the home. This illustrated presentation by Jim Rousmaniere explores the roles of industry, innovation, and citizen action in assuring clean and plentiful water supplies in a state that in many ways has been defined by water.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Richard Adams Carey
On August 19, 1997, in little Colebrook, New Hampshire, a 62-year-old carpenter named Carl Drega, a man with long-simmering property rights grievances, murdered state troopers Scott Phillips and Les Lord at a traffic stop in a supermarket parking lot. Then Drega stole Phillips's cruiser and drove downtown to settle some old scores. By the end of the day three more were dead, Drega among them, and four wounded. Occurring on the eve of America's current plague of gun violence, this tragic event made headlines all over the world and shocked New Hampshire out of a previous innocence. Touching on facets of North Country history, local governance, law enforcement, gun violence, and the human spirit, Richard Adams Carey describes a community that was never a passive victim but rather a brave and resilient survivor.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Mary C. Kelly
Drawing on material from her book Ireland's Great Famine in Irish-American History, Dr. Kelly will discuss the role of the Famine in shaping Irish-American ethnic identity. Focusing on the long-term impact of the episode between the 1840s and 1990s, she explores the shadowed landscape of Famine legacy and its status in Irish-American culture today. Referencing contemporary press accounts and the writings of Famine survivors and their descendants, Dr. Kelly shows how interrogating Famine memory enables the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to deal with the material and emotional inheritance of this tragic experience.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Italian American culture is part of our everyday lives and has contributed to American culture for almost a century and a half. But who are those Italian Americans? What’s their history? We have seen them in movies, mostly as mafia men, what about the women? This talk looks at Italian American culture, the movies it has inspired, and the politics of Italian American-ness. Presented by Dr. Graziella Parati, Professor of Italian Studies at Dartmouth.
Presenter: Jennifer Carroll
Jennie Powers took a stand against social vices in New Hampshire and Vermont in the early twentieth century. She was a humane society agent in Keene from 1903-1936 and one of the first humane society agents to become a deputy sheriff in New Hampshire. Jennie was known across the country as "The Woman Who Dares" cited by the Boston Post newspaper in 1906 as having arrested more men than any other woman in America. As a photographic activist, she used her camera to document animal cruelty, family violence, and wide-spread poverty in New Hampshire's Monadnock region and beyond. This one-hour illustrated presentation from Jenna Carroll introduces us to Jennie's life story, the work of humane societies at the turn of the twentieth century, and the politics of the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s) from a local perspective.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Richard Hesse
John G. Winant, three-time governor of New Hampshire went on to serve the nation in several capacities on the national and international scene. In the process he became a hero to the British in World War Two and to the common man throughout the developed world. His life, marked by highs and lows, ended tragically in his mansion in Concord. The program examines his life and measures his impact at home and abroad.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Alan Hoffman
Lafayette's first foray into human rights work was during the American Revolution which he saw as a cause important to all people. He continued to promote universal natural rights throughout his life. During the French Revolution he drafted "the Rights of Man and the Citizen" and later supported other revolutions in Europe and South America as well as causes designed to deliver human rights to the oppressed. In particular, the abolition of slavery engaged Lafayette continuously, from the American Revolution and his return tour of the United States until his death in 1834. Lafayette said: "I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America, if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery."This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Steve Blunt
While servant narratives have been popular for centuries, there seems to be a resurging interest in these stories in recent decades. Many contemporary British and North American writers, filmmakers, and television executives have turned to master/servant relationships as their subject matter. Films like The Remains of the Day and Gosford Park garnered numerous Oscar nominations and substantial box office profits. PBS created such classics as Upstairs, Downstairs and Manor House, as well as the phenomenally successful Downton Abbey! Even mainstream American television has piloted its own versions of the British servant in shows as wide-ranging as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to reality TV's Supernanny. Join Ann McClellan as she explores the history behind the rise and fall of British servants and why Americans are so fascinated by their stories on page and screen.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Dr. Nicole Ruane (UNH) will discuss Mary Baker Eddy, New Hampshire's most important and innovative religious thinker. Mark Twain called Eddy "the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary." The church Eddy founded (The Church of Christ, Scientist), profoundly affected both American ideologies of religion as well as public opinion of the role of women in society. This program discusses the ways in which Eddy's experience as a woman in Victorian-era America influenced her gendered understanding of God as well as the nature of humanity, the body, health, and the place of women in powerful organizations.
Mary Baker Eddy was New Hampshire's most important and most innovative religious thinker. Mark Twain called Eddy "the most interesting woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary." The church she founded, The Church of Christ, Scientist, profoundly affected both American ideologies of religion as well as public opinion of the role of women in society. This program discusses the ways in which Eddy's experience as a woman in Victorian-era America influenced her gendered understanding of God as well as the nature of humanity, the body, health, and the place of women in powerful organizations. In Eddy's theology, the divine was not punishing but welcoming and caring; not a domineering father but a loving father-mother -- a perspective that uplifted the feminine in both the divine realm and the human world. Although Eddy's perspectives on healing have always been controversial, her rejection of medicine stemmed from encounters with nineteenth-century physicians that she felt were demeaning and violating. Eddy instead advocated a patient-centered method of self-empowered healing, a perspective that has much in common with later views of positive psychology and the power of the mind over the body.
Presenter: Judith Black
In this first-person interpretive program, Judith Black introduces American Lucy Stone, the first woman hired by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society as a public speaker and the "Shining Star" of the Abolition and Women's Rights Movements. The presenter dispels well-worn platitudes about the antebellum North by interjecting historic and personal truths about these social reform movements. Her presentation also paints a dynamic and detailed picture of what it takes to change the world you are born into. Follow Lucy as she makes her case for tax resistance, her challenges to marriage laws and motherhood, and her pro-Emancipation response to the Civil War. Go with her to The American Equal Rights Association Convention in May 1869, where she eloquently supports the 15th Amendment, which gave African-American men the vote.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Rebecca Rule
Drawing on research from her book, Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire, the Present, the Past, and the Future, Rebecca Rule regales audiences with stories of the rituals, traditions, and history of town meeting, including the perennial characters, the literature, the humor, and the wisdom of this uniquely New England institution.
Presenter: Patrick Anderson
Patrick Anderson focuses on contemporary film directors and screenwriters in the United States whose originality, independence and unconventional approaches to the medium have contributed to the evolution of the industry. The program enables a greater understanding of and appreciation for both the content and form of movies made outside the mainstream Hollywood system, and considers some of the key differences in theme, style and narrative format between these works and the more conventional fare of so-called "classic cinema." Among the filmmakers to be examined are Steven Soderbergh, David Lynch, John Sayles, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, P.T. Anderson, Jim Jarmusch and Charlie Kaufman. Patrick Anderson urges participants to view and analyze a variety of film clips carefully so that, by the end of the session, they will be more visually articulate and critically aware of how one "reads" a film.
Singing games, accessible "pocket instruments" like spoons and dancing puppets, tall tales, funny songs, old songs and songs kids teach each other in the playground-all "traditional" in that they have been passed down the generations by word of mouth-will be seen, heard and learned. We will revisit 1850 or 1910 in a New England town, with families gathered around the kitchen hearth, participating in timeless, hearty entertainment: a glimpse into how America amused itself before electricity. This program is recommended for adults and children ages 6 and above.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jeremy D'Entremont
Everyone knows that there's "something about lighthouses" that gives them broad appeal, but their vital role in our history and culture is little appreciated. Our early nation was built on maritime economy, and lighthouses were part of the system that made that possible. Due to automation, traditional lighthouse keeping is a way of life that has faded into the past. Jeremy D'Entremont tells the history of New England's historic and picturesque lighthouses primarily focusing on the colorful and dramatic stories of lighthouse keepers and their families.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Quilts tell stories, and quilt history is full of myths and misinformation as well as heart-warming tales of service and tradition. Nearly every world culture that has cold weather uses quilted textiles-quilting is NOT just an American art. Pam Weeks weaves world history, women's history, industrial history and just plain wonderful stories into her presentation. Participants are invited to bring one quilt for identification and/or story sharing. Prompted in part by the material culture at hand, the presenter may speak about fashion fads, the Colonial Revival, quilt-making for Civil War soldiers, and anything else quilt-related she can squeeze in.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Paul Wainwright
New England's colonial meetinghouses embody an important yet little-known chapter in American history. Built mostly with tax money, they served as both places of worship and places for town meetings, and were the centers of life in colonial New England communities. Using photographs of the few surviving "mint condition" meetinghouses as illustrations, Paul Wainwright tells the story of the society that built and used them, and the lasting impact they have had on American culture.
Presenter: Rebecca Noel
Successful attorney--and father of eight--Nathaniel Peabody Rogers walked away from his Plymouth, NH, law practice in the 1830s for a dangerous and nearly unpaid gig editing a Concord-based anti-slavery newspaper, the Herald of Freedom. Plymouth State University historian Rebecca R. Noel tells the story of this feisty Granite State native, one of the so-called New Hampshire radicals. Rogers' dedication to abolition and racial inclusion took several forms in his relatively short life. He sheltered fugitives in Plymouth and Concord, co-founded the integrated Noyes Academy in Canaan, networked with major abolitionists including Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, and above all wrote passionate, searing essays against slavery and racism. Henry David Thoreau admired Rogers' political zeal and his beautiful nature writing about the White Mountains, published under the pseudonym "The Old Man of the Mountain," and abolitionist poet John Pierpont called Rogers the best newspaper writer in the United States. Rogers' story shines a light on this lively reform era, and his contributions to the crusade for social justice still resonate today.
Rubbings, photographs, and slides illustrate the rich variety of gravestones to be found in our own neighborhoods, but they also tell long-forgotten stories of such historical events as the Great Awakening, the Throat Distemper epidemic, and the American Revolution. Find out more about these deeply personal works of art and the craftsmen who carved them with Glenn Knoblock, and learn how to read the stone "pages" that give insight into the vast genealogical book of New Hampshire.This program is also available as an online presentation.
This program offers a fun and engaging look at the historic and unusual weathervanes found on New Hampshire's churches, town halls, and other public buildings from earliest times down to the present. Highlighted by the visual presentation of a sampling of the vanes found throughout the state, Glenn Knoblock's program will trace the history of weathervanes, their practical use and interesting symbolism, as well as their varied types and methods of manufacture and evolution from practical weather instrument to architectural embellishment.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: E. John Allen
Take Scandinavian and Austrian immigrants, the Dartmouth Outing Club, the Cannon Mountain Tramway, the muscular Christian, amateur tinkerers, and Professor E. John B. Allen. Cover it with snow and shake, and you have all the makings of a unique New Hampshire history.
Presenter: Stephen Taylor
Following World War II, New Hampshire embarked on an extensive program of constructing new highways and improving existing roads to accommodate explosive growth in passenger vehicles and the need for better infrastructure to accommodate commercial traffic. Hundreds of millions in federal, state, and local tax dollars would be expended on this initiative over the second half of the 20th century and road construction would become an enduring part of the state's economy. Decisions about when and where highway projects would be undertaken were often driven by political considerations as well as by policy dictated from Washington. Frequently, choices not to build or improve certain roads would generate as much conflict and controversy as would the proposals that would eventually be implemented. Either way, decisions about highways would come to have profound and lasting impacts upon communities and entire regions of the state. In this program, Steve Taylor reviews some of New Hampshire's most significant highway choices in the 20th century, followed by discussion of the economic, social, and cultural changes that followed decisions to build or not to build.This program is also available as an online presentation.
The first agricultural fair in North America was held in what is now Londonderry in 1722, and it would become a wildly popular event lasting for generations until it came to be so dominated by gambling, flim-flam, and other "scandalous dimensions" that the legislature revoked its charter in 1850. But fairs have always had strong supporters and eventually the state came around to appropriating modest sums to help them succeed. Temperance groups and others would continue to attack the fairs on moral grounds and their close connection to horse racing was a chronic flashpoint. Steve Taylor will discuss the ups and downs of the fairs down through years and how public affection for rural traditions helps them survive in contemporary times.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Hundreds of one-room schools dotted the landscape of New Hampshire a century ago and were the backbone of primary education for generations of children. Revered in literature and lore, they actually were beset with problems, some of which are little changed today. The greatest issue was financing the local school and the vast differences between taxing districts in ability to support education. Other concerns included teacher preparation and quality, curriculum, discipline, student achievement and community involvement in the educational process. Steve Taylor explores the lasting legacies of the one-room school and how they echo today.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Helen Frink
In January 2016, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association announced the discovery of the wreckage of two sunken whale ships off the Alaskan coast. Oil, Ice, and Bone tells the story of these vessels and how they came to be lost in the greatest whaling disaster in American history. Arctic whaler Nathaniel Ransom served as third mate of one of the ships abandoned in 1871. In 1860, as a fourteen-year-old, he followed his five older brothers into the dank forecastle of a whaling vessel. For fifteen years he hunted seventy-ton bowheads in Arctic waters for the many uses of "bone." Blades of flexible baleen from the leviathan's enormous jaw raised its value, even as petroleum gradually replaced whale oil as a source of lighting. In 1871 Ransom survived the loss of thirty-two whaling vessels in the frigid waters off Alaska's Icy Cape. He kept a journal - and held onto it as he and his shipmates jettisoned weapons and warm clothing to save their very lives. His eyewitness account of whaling's brutal slaughter and sudden losses is enriched by presenter Helen Frink's affection for an ancestor she discovered through his journals a century after his death.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Kiki Berk & Joshua Tepley
Open Questions is a series of thought-provoking community conversations presented by New Hampshire Humanities. This series explores essential questions about meaning and life that are important to Granite Staters. Each program is facilitated by philosophy professors who will explore essential questions about meaning and life.
"Are We Working Too Hard?" is facilitated by Dr. Kiki Berk and Dr. Joshua Tepley.
Presenter: Joshua Tepley
"Can Machines Think?" is facilitated by Dr. Joshua Tepley
"Does Truth Matter?" is facilitated by Dr. Joshua Tepley
Presenter: Max Latona & Timm A. Triplett
"Is Capital Punishment Right or Wrong?" is facilitated by Max Latona and Timm Triplett.
Presenter: Kiki Berk
"Should We Fear Death?" is facilitated by Dr. Kiki Berk.
Presenter: Max Latona & Joshua Tepley
"What Does it Mean to be an American?" is facilitated by Max Latona and Joshua Tepley.
Presenter: Sharon & Steve Wood
Sarah Josepha Hale, a Newport, NH native, tells the story of her 30 year effort to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. President Abraham Lincoln enters at the end of her tale to read his 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation. Sharon Wood portrays Hale and Steve Wood portrays Lincoln in a living history presentation following background about their characters and the times.
Presenter: Timm A. Triplett
If you appreciate beauty, if you are still full of wonder, if you ponder the meaning of life, you will love this program. Timm Triplett's hands-on philosophy inspires you to free your curiosity, re-affirm your sense of wonder, and convey your love of wisdom to children, who are themselves delightfully receptive to the excitement of philosophical questions.
Dr. Katherine Gaudet (UNH) explores stories of epidemics in our next HTG Online event. Are we living through a Biblical plague? Or are we feeling the wrath of the gods on our society, like Thebes in the time of Oedipus? This talk considers what stories, histories, and legends of epidemics have to tell us about how to understand our own time.
Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. Previously, she was a national reporter for The New York Times, covering politics and social issues, and also a reporter with USA Today. Alcindor has reported extensively on the intersection of race and politics. Alcindor earned a master's degree in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking from New York University and a bachelor's in English, government and African American studies from Georgetown University. A native of Miami, FL, Alcindor is married to a fellow journalist and is the daughter of Haitian immigrants.
In this talk, Yamiche Alcindor looks at the current political issues facing America and shares her experiences in reporting on the 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaigns. She will discuss how her decision to pursue journalism came at 16 years old when she learned the tragic truth about the 1955 murder of Emmett Till and the launch of the civil rights movement. She also offers her observations on the White House, her thoughts on how social justice issues are impacting the country’s future, and her analysis of the latest stories surrounding the 2020 elections.
From its earliest settlements New Hampshire has struggled with issues surrounding the treatment of its poor. The early Northeastern colonies followed the lead of England's 1601 Poor Law, which imposed compulsory taxes for maintenance of the poor but made no distinction between the "vagrant, vicious poor" and the helpless, and honest poor. This confusion persisted for generations and led directly to establishment in most of the state's towns of alms houses and poor farms and, later, county institutions which would collectively come to form a dark chapter in New Hampshire history. Steve Taylor will examine how paupers were treated in these facilities and how reformers eventually succeeded in closing them down.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Alexandria Peary
Writing can become much more fulfilling if we think of it as happening right Now. Much is lost when we overlook the present moment because we forfeit rewarding writing experiences in exchange for stress, frustration, boredom, fear, and shortchanged invention and creativity (it's a poor bargain). Through mindfulness, we can reduce our writing apprehension and the writing blocks that come from future- or past-oriented thinking. Every moment can become a prolific moment: we can write more quickly and with greater ease of mind. In this presentation, we discuss writing tools that emerge when present time is highlighted: impermanence, audience demons, monkey mind self-talk, and preconceptions about writing ability and writing task. Participants will learn basic strategies to incorporate mindfulness into their writing lives.This program is also available as an online presentation.
- Sandown Public Library
Marek Bennett presents an overview of the American Civil War through the lens of period music. Audience members participate and sing along as the presenters explore lyrics, documents, and visual images from sources such as the Library of Congress. Through camp songs, parlor music, hymns, battlefield rallying cries, and fiddle tunes, Bennett examines the folksong as a means to enact living history, share perspectives, influence public perceptions of events, and simultaneously fuse and conserve cultures in times of change. Showcasing numerous instruments, the presenters challenge participants to find new connections between song, art, and politics in American history.
Loggers at the turn of the twentieth century cut the timber that built and warmed our houses and provided the ties for America's ever-expanding railroads. Timber established Portsmouth, Portland and Bangor as important ports, sending New England lumber around the world. Folklorist Jeff Warner relates the songs and stories of the people who worked the wintry woods, showing their humor and their grit, and giving us a glimpse into everyday life in long ago lumber camps.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: John Harris
In 1947, Edwin Way Teale, the most popular naturalist in the decade between Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, followed the progress of spring over four months from the Everglades to the summit of Mount Washington. His best-selling book, North with the Spring, recounts the epic journey he and his wife Nellie undertook. In 2012, John Harris set out to retrace Teale's route, stopping at unfamiliar wild places on the same calendar date on which Teale visited. Using Teale's journal notes and photographs, Harris examined and compared changes in the flora, fauna, and lives of the people along the way. His account documents the losses, details the transformations, and celebrates the victories, for a remarkable number of east coast refuges have grown wilder during the intervening years.This program is also available as an online presentation.
One hundred years ago, a full generation before Rosie the Riveter, American women rolled up their sleeves and entered war industries where they had never been welcome before. They ran powerful machinery, learned new skills, and faced the sullen hostility of the men in the shops. In this illustrated lecture, historian Carrie Brown reveals their courage and their hard work, asks what impact "the Great War" had on their lives, and explores how these women helped shape the work that their more famous daughters would do in the next World War.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jackson Gillman
Rudyard Kipling was the most internationally-celebrated author of his day. The first four years of his marriage and fatherhood were spent in New England where he built his dream house - Naulakha in Dummerston, Vermont - now preserved as a Landmark Trust property. It was there that he penned The Jungle Book and other classics. These were productive and happy years for the young literary giant, but eventually deeply troubled. Although Kipling was an intensely private individual, Jackson Gillman's sensitive portrayal provides an inside look at the writer's experience in New England and some of the controversy surrounding this complex man. Part lecture, part living history, part storytelling, Jackson's presentation includes a selection of the classic Just So Stories.
For the past 22 years, local Russian artist and lecturer Marina Forbes has presented her customized cultural tours designed for anyone interested in developing a first-hand understanding of Russian life and culture. Marina's illustrated and interactive presentations demonstrate her unique vision of how to experience the rich tapestry of her native Russia. Marina establishes a link between Russia's rich cultural heritage and the lives of Russians today. The fall of Soviet Communism in the early 1990s catapulted Russia into a new social order. The emergence of the "new rich," the evolving role of women, the revival of the Orthodox Church, the changing effects of Russian humor, family life, entertainment, and the new emphasis on consumerism are all revealed as she brings personal experience and research to bear in this fascinating look at contemporary Russian life. Topics also include the life of Russian retirees, public and private health services, civil and criminal legal procedures, real estate, the education system, and workplace issues.
One of the most striking aspects of the Irish-American historical landscape is the enduring bond between immigrant community and ancestral home. Predictably, this transatlantic narrative is dominated by Catholic-centered political activism and expression. However, the history of Irish-American nationalism should also acknowledge the contribution of Protestant advocates for the cause. This talk focuses on Protestant involvement in 1916-era nationalist activism. The Easter Rising prompted Protestants of various denominational affiliations to stamp their imprint on the nationalist narrative at a crucial juncture in its evolution. In addition to addressing 1916-centered campaigns, this talk probes Protestant deliberation on thorny issues of Ulster's fate and Ireland's contending religious traditions, and culminates with the concerted labors of these partisans in the Protestant Friends of Ireland organization of 1919-22.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki
Through traditional music Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki relays some of the adventures, misadventures, and emotions experienced by Irish emigrants. The focus is on songs about leaving Ireland, sometimes focusing on the reasons for leaving (a man who is driven from his land by English persecution), sometimes revealing what happened upon arrival (an immigrant drafted into the Union army during the Civil War), and sometimes exploring the universal feeling of homesickness of a stranger in a strange land (a factory worker in London missing his home in County Clare). The presenter discusses the historical context of these songs, interspersing their stories with tunes from Ireland that made their way into New England's musical repertoire, played on his fiddle or guitar.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Drawing heavily on the repertoire of traditional singer Lena Bourne Fish (1873-1945) of Jaffrey and Temple, New Hampshire, Jeff Warner offers the songs and stories that, in the words of Carl Sandburg, tell us "where we came from and what brought us along." These ballads, love songs and comic pieces, reveal the experiences and emotions of daily life in the days before movies, sound recordings and, for some, books. Songs from the lumber camps, the decks of sailing ships, the textile mills, and the war between the sexes offer views of pre-industrial New England and a chance to hear living artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Allen Koop
More and more, the contemporary reading public is turning to digital technology as a means of experiencing literature. The Internet, hyperlink technology, the popularity of e-readers, and readers' desire for multimedia experiences seem, on the surface, to put the future of the book at risk. Scholars for decades have been lamenting the rise of technology and prophesying the death of the book and the humanities. However, rather than seeing one technology (the Internet) defeat another (the printed book), perhaps we are witnessing the dawn of a new genre: digital literature. In an interactive discussion, participants will explore how technology is affecting how we read, write, and experience stories. We will learn about the history and development of electronic literature and hypertext media, the rise of social media and how it affects digital literature (fan fiction, online role playing games, Twitterature, etc.); and the rise of the emerging field of transmedia storytelling where media conglomerates purposefully design texts to work across multiple media platforms.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Alice Fogel
Alice Fogel takes you through seven simple steps, and one hard one, toward understanding and appreciating more elements of poetry than you ever thought you could. In the end you'll see that you already knew them all along. This workshop is your quick, self-help program for "getting" poems. Fogel helps you develop your own confident relationship with poetry's shapes, words, images, sounds, emotions, mysteries, and more.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Abby Goode
What is sustainability? And how has American literature shaped our understanding of this concept, in ways both surprising and disturbing? This interactive program begins with a discussion of current ideas about sustainability. Then, we will go back in time to examine Thomas Jefferson's vision of American agricultural abundance, which he contrasted with an overpopulated and under-resourced Europe. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, writers such as Walt Whitman and Charlotte Perkins Gilman drew on Jefferson's agrarian vision to respond to sustainability crises of their time. But in so doing, they depicted selective breeding and racial "improvement" as the solution to population crises and the path to agricultural plenty. We will explore this particularly eugenic conception of sustainability and discuss what new or different versions of sustainability might prove more useful in our current moment.This program is also available as an online presentation.
John Gfroerer explores the power of television as a communication medium and the ethical implications of manipulating the viewer by means of the choices made behind the camera through the final editing process. By examining the artistic techniques used to persuade, induce, and entice us, Gfroerer considers the extent to which television teaches or simply tantalizes us. Are ethical boundaries crossed by the use of these techniques, and to what extent as media consumers should we care?This program is also available as an online presentation.
Stories speak to us of community. They hold our history and reflect our identity. Rebecca Rule has made it her mission over the last 20 years to collect stories of New Hampshire, especially those that reflect what's special about this rocky old place. She'll tell some of those stories - her favorites are the funny ones - and invite audience members to contribute a few stories of their own.
Presenter: Damian Costello
This lecture explores the life and legacy of Nicholas Black Elk (c.1866-1950), the Lakota holy man made famous by the book Black Elk Speaks. I begin with Black Elk's Great Vision and his struggle to discern his calling during the events of the Great Sioux War. During his long life, Black Elk lived out his vision in three overlapping roles: as a traditional healer, a Catholic teacher, and a revivalist of Indigenous traditions. In the midst of great tragedy, Black Elk wove these three strands into one beautiful life exemplifying survival, hope, and reconciliation. We will discuss the relevance of Black Elk's legacy for broader questions of Abenaki survival in Northern New England, hope in the face of global environmental problems, and reconciliation in the midst of growing political and religious sectarianism. This talk is based on extensive historical research, extended residency in Indian Country, and continuing conversation with Lakota elders.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: John Perrault
Murder and mayhem, robbery and rapine, love that cuts to the bone: American ballads re-tell the wrenching themes of their English and Scottish cousins. Transplanted in the new world by old world immigrants, the traditional story-song of the Anglos and Scots wound up reinvigorated in the mountains of Appalachia and along the Canadian border. John Perrault talks, sings, and picks the strings that bind the old ballads to the new.
On January 8, 2020 New Hampshire Humanities hosted this audience-interactive online program on the civic principles at the center of 2020’s meltdown. Dianna Gahlsdorf Terrell, Ph.D. (Saint Anselm College) led this talk on core democratic principles, how they are — and can be — taught in New Hampshire’s classrooms, and what civic knowledge must be most durable to withstand our democracy’s more challenging times.
This program was funded by the 'Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation' initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The largest river in New England rises in a small beaver pond near the Canadian border and flows over 400 miles through four states, falling 2,670 feet to the sea through America's only watershed-based national fish and wildlife refuge. Adair Mulligan leads an armchair tour of this great river in New Hampshire and Vermont, exploring its history and natural beauty through the seasons and among the communities that have sprung up along its banks. Next, the discussion will shift to how the river has influenced the lives of those who live there, and how they, in turn, have affected the river. Much more than a travelogue, this presentation explores the many issues involved in managing the health of this major river, and how citizens from all walks of life have created a vision for its future.This program is also available as an online presentation.
This is our earliest epic. It is at least four thousand years old, but in performance we discover a dynamic and thrilling tale of heroes, friendship, battles with a monster, and death, followed by a journey to the other world to meet Utnapishtin, whom we know as Noah. Gilgamesh will ask him about life and death and he will come home with a great story. In the Q&A after the performance, Sebastian Lockwood can tell the tale of how the tablets were found in Iraq and how scholars broke the code to reveal the story and its Biblical parallels.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Michael Tougias
On February 18, 1952, an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor'easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas. Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives. Michael Tougias, co-author of the book and soon-to-be Disney movie The Finest Hours, uses slides to illustrate the harrowing tale of the rescue efforts amidst towering waves and blinding snow in one of the most dangerous shoals in the world.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Dr. Meg Mott
The First Amendment protects our most basic freedoms, none more important than freedom of speech. But what do we do about speech that threatens to destroy the social fabric? This presentation considers the constitutional arguments for and against hate speech codes and why the Supreme Court ruled against St. Paul's hate speech ordinance. If hate speech codes are unconstitutional, it falls on citizens to find other ways to counter hateful speech. We'll explore what capacities citizens need to preserve freedom and the social fabric. Could it be that persuasion and deliberation might be better strategies for all of us?
In 1787 delegates gathered in Philadelphia to address a wide variety of crises facing the young United States of America and produced a charter for a new government. In modern times, competing political and legal claims are frequently based on what those delegates intended. Mythology about the founders and their work at the 1787 Convention has obscured both fact and legitimate analysis of the events leading to the agreement called the Constitution. Richard Hesse explores the cast of characters called "founders," the problems they faced, and the solutions they fashioned.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Jose Lezcano
Jose Lezcano presents a multi-media musical program that showcases the guitar in Latin America as an instrument that speaks many languages. Lezcano presents a variety of musical styles: indigenous strummers in ritual festivals from Ecuador, Gaucho music from Argentina, European parlor waltzes from Venezuela, and Afro-Brazilian samba-pagode. He also plays pieces by Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Lauro, Barrios, Pereira, and examples from his Fulbright-funded research in Ecuador.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: John C. Porter
Barns can tell us a great deal about the history of agriculture in New Hampshire. In the colonial period, New Hampshire was a rural, agrarian state and small subsistence farms dotted the landscape. An important part of these farmsteads was the barn, which housed animals and stored crops. Early barns used traditional building methods and followed the English barn style, with a low pitched roof and doors under the eaves. As time went on, the farms expanded to accommodate changes in agriculture. This presentation will follow the progression of barn styles that evolved to handle the increased productivity required to meet the needs of a growing population and respond to changes in society caused by the railroad and the Industrial Revolution. John C. Porter, author of Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource, will demonstrate how these majestic barn structures represent Yankee ingenuity, hard work, and skilled craftsmanship, as well as providing a link to our past that adds to the state's scenic beauty.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Rebecca Noel explores the sometimes alarming, sometimes hilarious backstory of what we now know as gym class. Physicians worried since the Renaissance that the sedentary, scholarly life makes people sick. They focused on varying concerns over time: digestive woes, melancholy, tuberculosis, spinal curvature, reproductive weakness. The problem widened along with access to education during the Enlightenment and into the 1800s. Tracing this idea from Europe to the United States, from scholars to children, and from boys' to girls' education, the presentation shows how these fears inspired schools to get children moving. The program concludes with audience discussion of the relevance of this problem to our own times-like the Enlightenment, a moment in history when suddenly many more people live the sedentary lives once limited to a few scholars.
Presenter: Whitney Howarth
What does our love of sipping cups of sweet, hot drinks have to do with revolution and empire? Dr. Whitney Howarth of Plymouth State University will explore the nexus between violence, empire and the hot drinks revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Tea, cocoa, coffee and Coca Cola are the most popular beverages in our lives today, but ever wonder what historical forces made it so? In this interactive talk we will discuss the Atlantic slave-sugar trade, the Islamic origins of alchemy, café culture in colonial days, indigenous resistance to tea plantations, and the seductive tale of the coffee bean in Latin America. Bring a piping hot mug of your favorite beverage and settle in for a caffeinated ride through history’s quaffable mysteries!
The term "Middle East" is a changing geopolitical concept. Throughout recent history, this term referred to a political, a cultural, and a geographical region with no clear boundaries. Moreover, this concept serves to generate stereotypes and misunderstanding. This multimedia presentation by Mohamed Defaa provides an analytical framework to understand the histories, social identities, and cultures behind this complex concept of "Middle East."This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Maria Sanders
The ancient Greek philosophers defined eudaimonia as living a full and excellent life. In this illustrated talk, Maria Sanders explores how ideas of happiness have changed in Western civilization through the ages, while comparing and contrasting major concepts of well-being throughout the world. Can money buy happiness? To what extent does engaging in one's community impact happiness? When worldwide surveys of happiness are conducted, why doesn't the United States make the top ten? Participants will be invited to discuss various definitions, current measures for assessing self-reported levels of happiness, specific findings reported as increasing people's levels of happiness, and happiness projects undertaken by entire communities - including a town-wide happiness quest in Plymouth, New Hampshire.This program is also available as an online presentation.
The Stono Rebellion has been called the most important slave revolt in North American history. In this lecture, Damian Costello examines the events and the deep African roots of the 1739 uprising in South Carolina. Recent arrivals from the Kingdom of Kongo drew on drumming traditions, military organization, and Kongolese spirituality to communicate their message of freedom. The high point of the revolt was a ceremonial dance, the sangamento, which fused African precedents and enacted the rebels’ call of liberty. Costello will also trace the sangamento tradition in the U.S. and throughout the Americas, and discuss how the Kongolese message of liberty can inform present-day efforts to overcome the lingering effects of our colonial inheritance.
The Appalachian Mountain Club's Hut System is a unique institution in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Allen Koop explores how the huts and the people who built, maintain and use them have formed a world apart, a mountain society with its own history, traditions, and legends.
At the height of the Cold War, two things saved humanity: the strategic wisdom of John F. Kennedy and the U2 aerial spy program. Based on declassified intelligence and interviews with the pilots, Michael Tougias and co-author Casey Sherman's book Above & Beyond: John F. Kennedy and America's Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission grounds this conversation about presidential decision-making, nuclear containment, intelligence-gathering, and public information. It's a timely topic given today's concerns about the United States, North Korea and Iran. Tougias gives special emphasis to the U-2 pilots who flew unarmed over Cuba to secure photographic proof that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles on the Island.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: John Moody
Every town and watershed in New Hampshire has ancient and continuing Native American history. From the recent, late 20th century explosion of local Native population in New Hampshire back to the era of early settlement and the colonial wars, John Moody explore the history of New Hampshire's Abenaki and Penacook peoples with a focus on your local community.
This beautifully illustrated, interactive presentation by Marina Forbes will feature the history of Matryoshka nested doll making in Russia. Using a fully illustrated show and numerous exhibits, including examples of her own work and from her extensive collection, Forbes will examine the rich folk tradition, the symbolism of the doll’s appearance, and the interesting link between doll making and other traditional Russian art forms. There will be a quick stop at the 1900 World Fair in Paris that made Russian nested dolls and Fabergé eggs famous, followed by an exciting illustrated tour of a working doll-making factory in rural Russia, depicting the various stages in the doll making process. The presentation will conclude with a glorious show of hundreds of examples of the finest Matryoshka artwork available in Russia.
Homelessness has become a problem for many communities in New Hampshire. It is a preventable problem but most of the strategies communities have used to prevent and address it haven’t worked well. In this presentation, Dr. Vissing will explore the history of homelessness and commonly used approaches to understand it and do something about it. Participants in this virtual presentation will be encouraged to share perspectives, questions and ideas.
Presenter: Stephen Collins
This program opens with the elderly Whitman on the evening of his seventieth birthday. The audience is a visitor in his room as he prepares for his birthday celebration. Whitman begins to reminisce during the telling. He transforms into his young vibrant self and we begin to trace back with him the experiences that led to the creation of Leaves Of Grass, his lifetime work. The first part of the performance explores Whitman's preoccupation with the self and his resolve to write with "free and brave thought…" In the second part of the performance, Whitman's life is changed forever by the Civil War. It is here that he finds "the most important work of my life," nursing the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. Through Stephen Collins' recitation of poetry and readings of actual letters, we experience Whitman's movement from selfishness toward selflessness and his growth into a mature artist who is at peace about "himself, God and death."This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Krueckeberg, John, Withers, Sarah, Howarth, Whitney
Uprooted is a 30-minute documentary based on interviews collected during New Hampshire Humanities' Fences & Neighbors initiative on immigration. It tells the story of five refugees who escaped from war-torn countries to resettle in New Hampshire. The film explores what it means to be a refugee and how it feels to make a new life in a strange place, often without English language skills, family, a job, or community contacts. The film leaves us pondering questions of belonging and citizenship. What does it mean to be an American? Once a refugee, are you destined always to be a refugee? What are our responsibilities toward one another? A New Hampshire Humanities presenter introduces the film and leads a post-film discussion. See bios and contact information in Presenter Directory for Whitney Howarth, John Krueckeberg, and Sara Withers.This program is also available as an online presentation.
From Seabrook to Colebrook, Berlin to Hinsdale, New Hampshire’s towns, individuals, and veterans’ organizations erected a fascinating assortment of memorials to The War of the Rebellion. Beginning with obelisks of the 1860s and continuing to re-mastered works of the 21st century, historian George Morrison presents a diverse selection of New Hampshire’s commemorations and their stories.
Presenter: Bill Donoghue, Jack Mallory Bill Donoghue, Jack Mallory
The Vietnam War film and discussion program utilizes short videos and a trained facilitator to prompt discussion about the Vietnam era. Content is culled from Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's PBS documentary, THE VIETNAM WAR, which tells the story of one of the most consequential and divisive events in American history. The videos explore the human dimensions of war that still haunt us today. Witnesses from all sides give their personal testimonies-Americans who fought in the war, those who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam. These programs are offered in partnership with New Hampshire PBS:
Program 1: THE VIETNAM WAR: Diverse Perspectives This 28-minute video includes war stories told by an American journalist; an anti-war activist; an American author and combat soldier; a Vietnamese author and soldier of the North Vietnamese Army; Hero Mothers; a South Vietnamese refugee; an ARVN officer; and several U.S. Marines.
Program 2: THE VIETNAM WAR: Veteran Voices This 21-minute video features war stories told by American, North Vietnamese, and South Vietnamese soldiers. One story explores moral injury by following a disabled Vietnam Marine veteran who supports young warriors deployed during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
The two videos must be booked as separate Humanities To Go programs. The host site must provide a DVD or Blu-ray player.
Select one of these facilitators:
Bill DonoghueOld Orchard Beach, ME firstname.lastname@example.orgCell: 603-493-0489
Jack MalloryPenacook, NH email@example.comHome Tel: 603-565-5063
Presenter: Liz Tentarelli
The campaign for women's right to vote was a long one, from the 1848 Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York to ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. Who were the key players in New Hampshire and the nation? What issues and obstacles did they face? How did suffragists benefit from World War I in the final push for passage of the women's suffrage amendment? Who was left out when women got the right to vote? Using historic photos and documents, Liz Tentarelli will guide us on the journey. Liz is president of the League of Women Voters NH, a non-partisan organization that is the direct descendant of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Presenter: Kent McConnell
How and why are wars fought? What exactly is a just war? This program looks at the history of "just war theory," starting in antiquity and following the development of three major elements of just war thinking: jus ad bellum (the right to war), jus in bello (the laws of war), and jus post bellum (justice after war). Highlighting the work of philosophers Larry May, Michael Walzer, and Richard Norman, Kent McConnell focuses discussion on the philosophical and theological foundations of just war thinking and non-violence.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Whatever did New Englanders do on long winter evenings before cable, satellite and the internet? In the decades before and after the Civil War, our rural ancestors used to create neighborhood events to improve their minds. Community members male and female would compose and read aloud homegrown, handwritten literary "newspapers" full of keen verbal wit. Sometimes serious, sometimes sentimental but mostly very funny, these "newspapers" were common in villages across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and revealed the hopes, fears, humor and surprisingly daring behavior of our forebears. Jo Radner shares excerpts from her forthcoming book about hundreds of these "newspapers" and provides examples from villages in your region.This program is also available as an online presentation.
Jo Radner shares a selection of historical tales-humorous and thought-provoking-about New Englanders who have used their wits in extraordinary ways to solve problems and create inventions. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also may raise some profound questions about our admiration of ingenuity and about the ethics of pursuing discoveries without taking their potential outcomes into account. The performance will include discussion with the audience, and may introduce a brief folktale or a poem about inventiveness and problem-solving.This program is also available as an online presentation.
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.