Items tagged with History

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Jon Meacham

Please see full event listing for date.

In The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and 2013 BOOKED for the evening honoree Jon Meacham looks back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear to help us understand the present moment in American politics and life. 

Preferred seating tickets are available with the purchase of a book. The early-bird price is $26 for up to two seats. If want an additional copy or if you are unable to attend, you may also reserve a signed copy for the pre-event price of $26. A limited number of general admission seats will be available. Books will be for sale at the event for $30 each. Register online.

Note location: Westport Town Hall Auditorium, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport

Community partners: The League of Women Voters & the Yale Clubs of Eastern and LowerFairfield County

“This is a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book. Jon Meacham explores the extremism and racism that have infected our politics, and he draws enlightening lessons from the knowledge that we’ve faced such trials before.”—Walter Isaacson

“Jon Meacham has done it again, this time with a historically rich and gracefully written account of America’s long struggle with division in our immigrant nation and the heroic efforts to heal the wounds. It should be in every home and on every student’s desk.”—Tom Brokaw

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new. Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear—a struggle that continues even now.

While the American story has not always—or even often—been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail.

Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer. The author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Franklin and Winston, and Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, he is a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University, a contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review, and a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

Author photo credit Heidi Ross.

Westport Town Hall
Authors

Author Francine Klagsbrun on her Biography of Golda Meir

Please see full event listing for date.

Author Francine Klagsbrun speaks about Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, a  biography of the iron-willed leader, chain-smoking political operative, and tea-and-cake-serving grandmother who became the fourth prime minister of Israel. Born in tzarist Russia in 1898, she immigrated to America in 1906 and grew up in Milwaukee, where from her earliest years she displayed the political consciousness and organizational skills that would eventually catapult her into the inner circles of Israel's founding generation.

Partners: Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County & Beit Chaverim Synagogue
Location: Beit Chaverim Synagogue, 85 Post Road West

Author photo credit Joan Roth

“A thorough and absorbing examination of the woman and her role in Zionism and Israel. Lioness wrests Meir from the shadow of the Yom Kippur War and presents her life and career as a lens to examine Israel’s challenges—borders, settlements, occupation, terror, and the social and ethnic divide between Jews of European origin and those of Middle Eastern origin.”
—Ethan Bronner, The New York Times Book Review

"Meir was Ben-Gurion’s “only man in the Israeli cabinet," a ferocious chain-smoking socialist leader without a high-level education but whose plainspoken speeches brought audiences to tears—and action. A terrific chronicle of a unique world leader."—starred Kirkus Review

“Scrupulously researched ... A major achievement.”
—Susan Jacoby, The Washington Post

Francine Klagsbrunis the author of more than a dozen books, including The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day and Married People: Staying Together in the Age of Divorce. Lioness received the 2017 National Jewish Book Award/Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year. Klagsbrun was also the editor of the best-selling Free to Be ... You and Me and is a regular columnist for The Jewish Week, a contributing editor to Lilith, and on the editorial board of Hadassah magazine. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, and Ms. Magazine. She lives in New York City.

Other
Authors

Screening of “Marshall” with Attorney & Screenwriter Michael Koskoff

Please see full event listing for date.

Attorney and screenwriter Michael Koskoff will introduce a special screening of the 2017 film Marshall, which he co-wrote with Jacob Koskoff.

In Marshall,  a young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who's never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty. (2017, 1h 58m) Register online.

Community partner: Westport Cinema Initiative

NOTE LOCATION: Bow Tie Ultimate Royale 6, 542 Westport Avenue

Other
Films
History

WestportREADS 2018: West Point Glee Club with Music of WWI

Please see full event listing for date.

  

The West Point Glee Club, one of the U.S. Military Academy’s most visible cadet organizations, performs a special concert created for WestportREADS with music and writings from WWI. For over one hundred years, its members have touched audiences around the world with a model depiction of the Corps of Cadets through live performance in the nation’s finest concert halls, national network and feature film appearances, and recordings. The Glee Club enhances life at West Point through its traditional ceremonial duties and represents West Point and the U.S. Army at official events.

Community partner and venue: Saugatuck Congregational Church, 245 Post Road East

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

Under the direction of Constance Chase, the Glee Club’s recent seasons included the Kennedy Center special Taking the Stage, aired on ABC, in which they appeared with Tom Hanks, GEN Colin Powell and six living original Tuskegee Airmen, and the Carnegie Hall premiere of Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen. The Glee Club travels throughout the United States appearing at venues as diverse as Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Music Center, Library of Congress, Kansas City’s Kauffman Center, New York Public Library, Grand Ole Opry, Madison Square Garden and Soldier Field. The Glee Club has performed with such renowned ensembles as the Boston Pops, New York Pops, U.S. Marine Band ”The President’s Own,” and Opera Orchestra of New York. The group has recorded with country artist Trace Adkins, also appearing with him on the CBS ACM Awards national broadcast, with crossover pianist Marina Arsenijivec in a PBS special “Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity,” and with Tony-award winner Lea Salonga in the DVD “Stand Ye Steady.” 

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

West Point Glee Club Director Constance Chase has conducted the renowned college choir in the nation’s finest concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has directed the Glee Club in national concert tours and many recordings, including closing credits for We Were Soldiers (Paramount), Stand Ye Steady (Curtain Call) with Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, Marina at West Point: Unity through Diversity (PBS) with cross-over pianist Marina Arsenijivec, ‘Til the Last Shot’s Fired (Capitol) with country artist Trace Adkins, which they performed live with Mr. Adkins at the 2009 ACM Awards Show, and the CDs “Voice of the Corps” and “Live at Notre Dame.” Under her preparation, the Glee Club garnered  New York Times’ critical praise for its “robust and well-prepared singing” in a 2008 Carnegie Hall performance with Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler, Director, of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride. Recent guest conductor appearances include Symphony of the Americas and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Artistic Director of Connecticut Chamber Choir since 2008, Ms. Chase conducted CCC’s 2016 U.S. premiere of Donald Fraser’s stunning new arrangement for chamber choir and string orchestra of Elgar’s Sea Pictures, its2011 New York City debut at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 2015 appearance at the inaugural ChoralfestUSA at Symphony Space, and biannual performances of major works including J.S. Bach Magnificat, Haydn Paukenmesse and Lord Nelson Mass, Fauré and Duruflé Requiems, Bernstein MASS, chamber works spanning the sixteenth to twenty-first centuries, and most recently, Illumination: Early Cantatas of J.S. Bach with the period instrument consort, The Sebastians. Ms. Chase is an adjunct professor in applied voice at Western Connecticut State University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts. A lyric soprano and accomplished soloist in recital and chamber works, Ms. Chase has performed as a choral artist under the batons of Gerard Schwarz, Louis Langree, Nicholas McGegan, and Jane Glover. She presents workshops on the voice regionally and across the country for ACDA and NATS. Ms. Chase earned the B.M., magna cum laude, from University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Zertifikat from Goethe Institut, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, and M.A. in Voice Performance from Hunter College-City University of New York where she was awarded the Agnes Duffy Prize. She is co-author with the late Shirlee Emmons of Prescriptions for Choral Excellence, Oxford University Press (2006).

Andrea Shaut is a prominent musician in the Hudson Valley music scene. Since graduating with a Music Performance degree from Ithaca College and moving to Kingston NY, she has established a demanding and diverse schedule of musical performances and a private teaching studio with students of all ages/levels.

Andrea has been accompanist for the prestigious West Point Military Academy Glee Club since 2010. With this talented choir, she has had the opportunity to perform across the country at renowned theater venues, hospitals, stadiums, and schools. A few noted performances include Louisiana Governor’s Inauguration, an NFL-sponsored Super Bowl party opening for Blake Shelton & Jon Stewart, performing with Trace Adkins at The Grand Ole Opry, a recording session at the world famous Skywalker Sound in California, and performances at George Washington University, Ellis Island, Tiger Woods Nike Theater in Portland Oregon, and West Point’s own Eisenhower Hall. Other accompanying highlights have been performing Carmina Burana with Ars Choralis at Opus 40, traveling abroad (Hungary, Italy, Austria) with the Hudson Valley Youth Chorale, accompanying musicians at Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, and collaborating with many professional musicians for concert recitals. Andrea also enjoys accompanying and coaching young musicians for competitions and recitals, as well as for local school choirs.
Andrea founded the Hudson Valley Recital Project, a recital series featuring professional and student musicians, with the mission to strengthen community and education through music. Recitals are held every two months and feature Andrea as director and accompanist. Each event is a themed evening with music, dance, art, food, drink. Past events have included Journey Through the Senses, An Italian Dinner Show, and Women in Music.
As a concert pianist, Andrea has performed as soloist with SUNY Ulster Wind Ensemble and regularly performs solo recitals and as a guest artist/speaker. In 2014, she released her debut CD, Simple Beauty, a collection of solo piano music dedicated to the memory of her grandmother. Other regular groups are The Father/Daughter duo, The Shaut Three-O, and new solo projects – Raggedy Andi and Classical TeaTime. Andrea is also on the Adjunct Faculty at SUNY Ulster, where she teaches piano.
 

Other
WestportREADS 2018, WestportREADS, Music

WestportREADS 2018: “Johnnie Get Your Gun”: American Artists Respond to World War I

Please see full event listing for date.

James Montgomery Flagg, "I Want You For U.S. Army," 1917, Poster, 29 x 39 ¾ in., New York Historical Society

In this collaboration with the Westport Historical Society and WestportREADS, Robin Jaffee Frank will explore American artists’ responses to World War I. It remains a stark example of how far modern civilization can descend into violence. By the time the United States finally entered the conflict, Americans were acutely aware of the unprecedented casualty rates. Yet poster propaganda cajoled “I Want You,” and Norman Rockwell’s Life magazine cover reassuringly depicted happy doughboys singing George M. Cohan’s popular song “Over There.” More...

Please call (203) 222-1424 to reserve your seats; reservations are suggested. A program fee of $10 will be taken at the door. Light refreshments will be served. 

Note location: Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Famous and lesser-known American artists of all generations, aesthetic styles, regions, and political points of view developed imagery to express ideas about the imperiled world in which they lived.Soon after the war began, wealthy sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney established a hospital for Allied soldiers; she also created sculptures that captured her patients’ anguish. While modernist Charles Burchfield waited to be drafted, the war haunted his art. While visiting her younger brother at a military training camp, Georgia O’Keeffe came up with the idea for a watercolor of a floating “dark red flag—trembling in the wind like my lips when I’m about to cry.” Italian immigrant Salvator Cillis’s illustrated letters illuminate his experience fighting in the Argonne, the deadliest battle in US military history. Columbia University art professor Claggett Wilson, who volunteered for the Marine Corps, recorded his experiences in hallucinatory watercolors.

At a time when the American armed forces were segregated, Horace Pippin, who fought with the Harlem Hellfighters, suffered combat injuries and made paintings as a means of physical rehabilitation and spiritual expression. Pippin recounted, “I can never forget suffering . . . so I came home with all of it in my mind and I paint from it today.” American expatriate artist John Singer Sargent toured the western front under the auspices of the British Ministry of Information. His monumental masterpiece Gassed pictures rows of British soldiers blinded by mustard gas. Susan Macdowell Eakins painted an empathetic portrait of a French artist who was blinded at the Battle of Artois. During the war, legendary photographer Edward Steichen served as chief of the photographic section of the American Expeditionary Forces and took pictures of bombs being dropped from planes; in the war’s aftermath, he suffered from depression. After the war, John Steuart Curry—who lived for a time in Westport—portrayed the ceremonial reburial of the remains of his high school friend, and also painted powerful anti-war statements in the 1930s on the brink of World War II.

Robin Jaffee Frank, who organized the exhibition World War I Beyond the Trenches at the New-York Historical Society, will discuss works of art that reflect the prolonged grief and creative attempts at healing by mourners and veterans. On this centennial of our nation’s entry into the “forgotten war,” we can choose to remember our collective history through the eyes of artists. Please call (203) 222-1424 to reserve your seats; reservations are suggested. A program fee of $10 will be taken at the door. Light refreshments will be served.

Robin Jaffee Frank, Ph.D., has organized exhibitions, lectured, and published widely on American visual culture from the colonial through contemporary periods. She organized World War I Beyond the Trenches at the New-York Historical Society, on view from May through September 2017. From 2011 to 2016, Robin was Chief Curator of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, where she oversaw an encyclopedic collection of 50,000 objects, and led the curatorial team through the museum’s major renovation and reinstallation. Simultaneously Robin organized the acclaimed exhibition Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 and authored the accompanying award-winning book published by Yale University Press. Currently a version of her exhibition is traveling across the country through the On-the-Road program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Prior to working at the Wadsworth, Robin was a curator at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she collaborated on the renovation and reinstallation of the American galleries and co-organized the traveling exhibition Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery. Among her many other exhibition catalogues are Love and Loss: American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures and Charles Demuth Poster Portraits: 1923–1929. Robin holds a Ph.D in the History of Art from Yale University. 

Other

WestportREADS 2018: “On the Front”: Veterans' Reflections on WWI

Please see full event listing for date.

A panel of veterans, including Jay Dirnberger (helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War) , Jack Klinge (Kennedy Administration, cold war) and Patrick Scott (Afganistan), reflect on their own experiences of war and how the “great war” altered their world. In this collaboration with WestportREADS, the Westport Historical Society will moderate an open dialogue about war and the impacts on the daily lives of people dealing with the aftermath of the World War I, as well as the building tension of World War II. Veterans from various backgrounds will discuss their experiences and their thoughts on the conflicts that still arise today. More...

Note location: Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT

Please call (203) 222-1424 to reserve your seats; reservations are suggested. A program fee of $10 will be taken at the door. Light refreshments will be served.

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Other

Register for WestportREADS 2018 Family Program: Create Your Own "Dazzle Ship"

Please see full event listing for date.

As part of Westport reads , families are invited to design their own Dazzle Ship. Learn about this extraordinary and little-known military tactic. Openings still available so register now online! 

Dazzle Ships by Chris Barton is one of the companion books chosen for WestportREADS 2018 and is a picture book of the dazzling way that British and American ships were painted in WWI to deceive the German U-boat crews. Reserve a copy of Dazzle Ships.

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Higgins Room
WestportREADS 2018, All ages

WestportREADS 2018: Author Andrew Carroll on "My Fellow Soldiers"

Please see full event listing for date.

Writer Andrew Carroll will discuss his most recent book, My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War. The book draws on a rich trove of both little-known and newly uncovered letters and diaries to create a vivid and moving account of the American experience in World War I, with General John Pershing featured prominently in the foreground.

Andrew is also the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Letters of a NationWar Letters and Behind the Lines. He is featured in the critically acclaimed PBS film on World War I, called "The Great War.” He serves as the director of the Center for American War Letters.

Andrew has also been a contributing editor to numerous publications, including the New Yorker, TIME, AARP’s Bulletin and  magazine, and his op-eds and articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, American History magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, Details, and National Geographic. He also authored the play, “If All the Sky Were Paper,” toured the United States in 2013 and was recently performed at the Kennedy Center. The play is based on Andrew’s worldwide search for the most extraordinary war letters ever written.

On Veterans Day 1998, Andrew Carroll founded a national initiative that honors veterans and active-duty troops by preserving their wartime correspondence. Over the past two decades, Americans have shared with Andrew an estimated 100,000 previously unpublished letters (and emails) from every war in U.S. history. The Legacy Project has been re-named “The Center for American War Letters,” and is now part of Chapman University. The Center’s mission is to continue collecting, preserving, cataloging, and digitizing, and promoting war-related correspondences. 

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Large Reading Room

WestportREADS 2018: Westport Cinema Initiative Screening & Discussion of "Letters from Baghdad"

Please see full event listing for date.

See the documentary film, Letters from Baghdad, which tells the story of Gertrude Bell, British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. She shaped the modern Middle East after World War I in ways that still reverberate today. More influential than her friend and colleague Lawrence of Arabia, Bell helped draw the borders of Iraq and established the Iraq Museum. Why has she been written out of history? (2016, 1h 36m) After the film, a discussion with the directors will be moderated by Westporter Maggie Mudd. 

Tickets, $10 through on Westport Cinema Initiative website.

Note location: Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Westport Town Hall

WestportREADS 2018: Reflecting on WAR STORIES: A Veterans Project

Please see full event listing for date.

  

This panel discussion brings together veterans and the creative team that created the performance work War Stories, to discuss the process and the integration of veterans back into society. The panel features Peter Van Heerden, creator of the project and Executive Director of The Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University, as well as artist Nina Bentley, writer Sonya Huber and the veterans from the project to tell their stories.

Note location: Westport VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars,) 465 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT 06880

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

War Stories is a devised performance work created in collaboration with 16 homeless veterans from ARBI/Homes for the Brave. Using "Courageous Storytelling" as an entry point, this important and timely project employs and empowers a core group of homeless Veterans to develop a full-length performance work, War Stories.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM BEHIND WAR STORIES

Peter Van Heerden has served as Executive Director of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts since 2015. Van Heerden, a Westport resident, came to the Quick Center from The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit visual and performing arts organization where he also served as Executive Director. Prior to that post, he spent 15 years as a Senior Faculty Member in Performance Studies at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town, South Africa. He also founded and served as Artistic Director of ERF 81 Cultural Collective, in which artists, performers, historians, educators and other generate projects vested in the culture and heritage of contemporary South Africa.

Nina Bentley, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, has exhibited her work in Europe and the U.S. for over 40 years. Her sculpture is included in the permanent collection of the New Britain Art Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT. She directed the Rye Art Center in Rye, NY; ran a gallery and has served on the boards of the Silvermine Artists Guild and the Westport Arts Center. She lived in Europe and South America for 15 years and currently resides in Westport, CT.

Sonya Huber is the author of three books of creative nonfiction, Opa Nobody and Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and the new essay collection Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System. Her other books include The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton and a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, and other journals. She teaches at Fairfield University and directs Fairfield’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Other