Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heatwave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm Location: Burr and Burton Academy, Hunter Seminar Room Fee: $15 in advance; $20 at the door
One of the worst natural disasters in American history, the 1896 New York heat wave killed almost 1,500 people in ten oppressively hot days. The heat coincided with a pitched presidential contest between William McKinley and the upstart Democrat William Jennings Bryan. This presentation tells a vivid story that captures the birth of the progressive era and revives the forgotten disaster that almost destroyed a great American city.
A Republic, If You Can Keep It Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm Location: Burr and Burton Academy, Hunter Seminar Room Fee: $15 in advance; $20 at the door
When asked what form of government the Constitutional Convention produced in 1787, Benjamin Franklin is said to have replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." Many of the controversies of 1787 and 1788 continue to resonate in American politics today, especially since November 2016. We will look at some of the conflicts that arose at the Constitutional Convention and during the ratification debates and how those conflicts continue to be relevant to contemporary political debates.
Conspiracies: Past, Present, Always Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm Location: Burr and Burton Academy, Hunter Seminar Room Fee: $15 in advance; $20 at the door
Conspiracy theories have a long and interesting history in American politics and culture. Indeed, some of today’s most interesting and diabolical conspiracy theories took hold in the era of the American Revolution, and have persisted across several centuries. This talk and discussion will explore some of the most prominent features of powerful conspiracy theories, and focus on how social media and widening polarization are mainstreaming “conspiricism.”
From Martha to Melania: The Changing Roles of First Ladies Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm Location: Burr and Burton Academy, Hunter Seminar Room Fee: $15 in advance; $20 at the door
Presidential spouses influence politics, as well as the public and private lives of their mates. This talk will explain how Martha Washington set the standards for First Ladies for a century, how Edith Wilson, Florence Harding and Nancy Reagan had powerful influences over their husbands, how Eleanor Roosevelt changed the office forever, and which First Ladies had charm and activism in the modern era. Join us to look at the history of these fascinating women who left letters and diaries for us to see how they changed history and supported the efforts of their spouses.
The Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 Time: 5:30 pm-7:00 pm Location: Burr and Burton Academy, Hunter Seminar Room Fee: $15 in advance; $20 at the door
The influenza epidemic of 1918-19, the so-called “Spanish Flu,” was one of the worst pandemics in history. It killed between 20 and 50 million people --- more than died fighting in the First World War, which was raging at the same time. This talk will discuss how it happened; why it was so hard to bring under control; what we have learned about epidemics, immunology and vaccines since then; and how prepared the medical and scientific communities are to prevent a similarly catastrophic outbreak in the future.