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American History Programs
New York City in the Gilded Age: A Cultural History

The grand story of late 19th-century New York’s burgeoning wealth and emerging national dominance has its darker parallel in the world of its tenements and sweatshops. From Fifth Avenue’s Millionaire’s Row to the Lower East Side, George Scheper of Johns Hopkins University surveys the panorama of a city as it creates the foundations of its modern identity.

Date
Saturday, February 25, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Battle of the Meuse-Argonne: 47 Days to Victory

Over the course of a month and a half in 1918, poorly equipped and inexperienced American doughboys managed a feat that had stymied French and British forces for more than 3 years: defeating the German army. Historian Mitchell Yockelson recounts the story of the battle that brought WWI to a close.

Date
Monday, February 27, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
At the Gilded Age Table

Gilded Age society reveled in teas, cotillions, lawn parties, picnics, luncheons, and formal dinners—all of which had their own codes of dress and manners. Food historian Francine Segan examines the foods and entertainments enjoyed by the upper crust. A light reception with a period-inspired menu follows.

Date
Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Civil War Battles at Kelly's Ford and Bristoe Station
All-Day Tour

Spend a day visiting several important battle sites in Virginia, led by Civil War historians Gregg Clemmer and Ed Bearss. Begin at Kelly’s Ford, site of one of the early major cavalry fights in the state, then follow routes traveled by Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Meade's Army of the Potomac in the October 1863 campaign.

Date
Saturday, March 4, 2017 - 7:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Reading the Gilded Age Authors

Works by novelists Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska provide literary perspectives on the changes that swept America during the Gilded Age. Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University leads a reading-group series that explores their varied depictions of characters whose personal dramas play out against rapidly shifting social, cultural, and economic backdrops. This session spotlights Henry James’ Daisy Miller (1878) and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899).

Date
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
The Double Lives of Jack Barsky: The Spy Next Door

Forged identities, a smokescreen suburban life, and wives and children on two continents were all elements of Jack Barsky’s career as a KGB operative in America. Vince Houghton of the International Spy Museum interviews Barsky about his immersion in espionage, juggling allegiances, and assembling a new life after decades as spy.

Date
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Defending the Capital: Civil War Forts and Fortifications
All-Day Tour

Civil War historians Ed Bearss and Gregg Clemmer lead a tour that traces the Union capital’s vital role in the conflict, focusing on the sites of forts and defensive fortifications in Maryland, Virginia, and the District. 

Date
Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
The American Civil War and the World

Far from being a domestic conflict, the Civil War was closely watched by other countries. Paul Quigley, director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, explores international perspectives on the war, ranging from ideological affinities to economic calculations to strategic considerations.

Date
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Rise of the Airplane: From the Wright Brothers to Lindbergh

Aviation expert Paul Glenshaw explores the scientific, cultural, and social contexts for the invention and development of the airplane and how a critical period early in the last century launched the wild ride we’ve been on ever since.

Date
Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The Civil War: Three Key Sites - Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Gettysburg
All-Day Tour

Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania were the settings for some of the most momentous events of the Civil War. During this introductory tour led by historian Gregg Clemmer, learn about and explore the sites of three major battles in our region.

Date
Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Reading the Gilded Age Authors

Works by novelists Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska provide literary perspectives on the changes that swept America during the Gilded Age. Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University leads a reading-group series that explores their varied depictions of characters whose personal dramas play out against rapidly shifting social, cultural, and economic backdrops. This session spotlights Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (1900).

Date
Monday, April 10, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Morning Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Saturday, April 15, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Afternoon Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party

Historians are fascinated by Andrew Jackson, a complex man whose forceful personality (he was universally known as “Old Hickory”) influenced the political culture of his time as he dominated both the presidency and Congress for two terms (1828-36). Historian Stephen D. Engle revisits the Jackson presidency and how it relates to our current political culture.

Date
Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
George Washington’s Alexandria
Afternoon Walking Tour

No other town is as closely associated with George Washington as Alexandria, which he considered his home town. He surveyed its streets as a teenager in 1749, and his public memorial service was held here 50 years later. Join author and historian Garrett Peck on a tour that visits churches, houses, taverns, and other sites associated with the first president.

Date
Sunday, April 23, 2017 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Radio Finds Its Voice

Jill Ahrold Bailey, producer of “The Big Broadcast” on WAMU 88.5, tunes into an era in which Americans became linked by a new and booming medium, as radio dramatically—and quickly—changed the entertainment, news, and political scenes.

Date
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Reading the Gilded Age Authors

Works by novelists Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Anzia Yezierska provide literary perspectives on the changes that swept America during the Gilded Age. Lisbeth Strimple Fuisz of Georgetown University leads a reading-group series that explores their varied depictions of characters whose personal dramas play out against rapidly shifting social, cultural, and economic backdrops. This session spotlights Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923).

Date
Monday, May 15, 2017 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.