Women and the American Revolution

The story of the American Revolution is usually told as a male story with women as passive, domestic figures. Yet women played varied and complicated roles that were essential to the Patriot war effort. This talk explores the ways that women played roles on the political front, the homefront, and the battlefront of the American … Read more

George Washington’s 1791 Tour of the South: Where He Went and What He Drank

George Washington promised to visit every state in the new union during his presidency, and in the spring 1791 he set off from his Mount Vernon, Virginia home and traveled all the way to Savannah, Georgia and back. In researching his journey for her book “Methodists and Moonshiners,” Smith followed the president’s tour, investigating not … Read more

Fashionable Beauty in Botticelli’s Paintings

This session provides a close look at Sandro Botticelli’s techniques for rendering enchanting fashions in his paintings and drawings. By folding and pleating fabric with light and shadow, simulating colorful dyes with rich pigments, and weaving complicated patterns into his garments, Botticelli captured the alluring beauty of the textile industry in fifteenth-century Florence. This talk examines examples of garments … Read more

Raphael’s Madonnas

Throughout his career, Raphael Sanzio created numerous sweet and beautiful Madonna and Child devotional paintings. This talk examines the development of devotional paintings in the Renaissance and their location within the domestic interior. It examines Raphael’s Madonna paintings in relation to devotional and artistic practices in Florence and Rome in the early sixteenth century.

Michelangelo and his Marbles

This talk explores Michelangelo’s use of marble throughout his career. It looks at obtaining marble from the mines in Carrara and the marble itself as an artistic material. The talk provides an overview of how Michelangelo sculpted bodies in marble, drawing attention to his manipulation of anatomical form in sculptures, such as the Bacchus, Pietà, … Read more

Reconsidering James Petigru: Unionist and Civic Reformer in a Radical Age

Few sarcastic quips in all of southern history remain as famous as James Petigru’s reported comment upon receiving the news that South Carolina had seceded from the Union. South Carolina, Petigru mused sarcastically, was “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.” Petigru died in 1863, a devoted Unionist and southern … Read more

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker was a businesswoman and activist in the age of Booker T. Washington. This is my story of a self-made millionaire and her impact on black life and culture.

Running with Bulls and The Sun Also Rises

The key scenes in the novel that launched Hemingway’s career take place in Pamplona, Spain, which is world famous for the running of the bulls every morning of the week-long Fiesta of San Fermin. As a devoted fan who had taught The Sun Also Rises for twenty years, Deno Trakas went to Pamplona to run with the … Read more

How Shirley Temple Saved America

The little actress was the nation’s top box office draw during the worst years of the Great Depression and helped Americans forget their troubles as she sang and danced away the troubles of the characters she played. She worked through her childhood, while her parents spent her money, but went on to successful later careers … Read more