June (virtual) Public Programs 
Press Release · Thursday, June 3, 2021

Washington, DC

The National Archives presents author book talks in June on topics ranging from the circus to the Lincoln’s marriage to the history of the Marines!

The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush’s Post-Presidency
Tuesday, June 8, at 7 p.m.
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

As chief of staff, Jean Becker had a ringside seat to the never-boring story of George Herbert Walker Bush's life post-Presidency, including being at his side when he died and subsequently facing the challenge—and great honor—of being in charge of his state funeral. The Man I Knew is a vibrant behind-the-scenes look into the ups and downs of heading up the office of a former President by one of the people who knew him best. Joining Jean in conversation is Warren Finch, director of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

An American Marriage: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd 
Tuesday, June 15, at noon 
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
In An American Marriage, historian Michael Burlingame describes and analyzes why Lincoln had good reason to regret his marriage to Mary Todd. This revealing narrative shows that, as First Lady, Mary Lincoln was not profoundly opposed to slavery, accepted bribes and kickbacks, engaged in extortion, peddled influence, humiliated Lincoln in public and often physically abused her husband, children, and servants. 

Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America
Tuesday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m.
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

Scott Borchert will discuss the story of the Federal Writers’ Project—a division of the Works Progress Administration founded to employ jobless writers, from bestselling novelists and acclaimed poets to the more dubiously qualified. It was a predictably eclectic organization, directed by an equally eccentric man, Henry Alsberg. Under Alsberg’s direction, the FWP took up the lofty goal of rediscovering America and soon found itself embroiled in the day’s most heated arguments regarding literary representation, radical politics, and racial inclusion. Joining Scott Borchert in conversation will be Susan Rubenstein DeMasi, author of Henry Alsberg: The Driving Force of New Deal Writers. Presented in partnership with the Living New Deal.

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero
Thursday, June 17, at noon
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
During the Gilded Age, America became more prosperous and saw unprecedented growth in industry and technology. But the Gilded Age had a more sinister side. During this time, northern Whites were prepared to take away Black rights to appease the South, and giant trusts were monopolizing entire industries. The Supreme Court seemed all too willing to strip away civil rights and invalidate labor protections. In The Great Dissenter, Peter S. Canellos tells the story of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan and how he broke with his colleagues on the Court and became the nation’s prime defender of the rights of Black people, immigrant laborers, and people in distant lands occupied by the United States. Harlan’s words built the foundations for the legal revolutions of the New Deal and Civil Rights eras.  

Battle for the Big Top: P. T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling and the Death-Defying Saga of the American Circus 
Tuesday, June 22, at noon 
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
Millions have sat under the “big top,” watching as trapeze artists glide and clowns entertain, but few know the captivating stories behind the men whose creativity, ingenuity, and determination created one of our country’s most beloved pastimes. In Battle for the Big Top, bestselling author Les Standiford brings to life a remarkable era when three circus kings—James Bailey, P. T. Barnum, and John Ringling—all vied for control of the vastly profitable and influential American circus. 

Get ready for July 4 at the National Archives with these special programs!

July 4th with the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of John Hancock, AARP, and Dykema.

The Indispensables: The Diverse Soldier-Marines Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware
Thursday, June 24, at noon
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

In the annals of the American Revolution, no group played a more consequential role than the soldier-mariners from Marblehead, MA. This uniquely diverse group of White, Black, Hispanic, and Native American soldiers set an inclusive standard of unity the U.S. Army would not reach again for more than 170 years. As Patrick K. O’Donnell dramatically recounts in The Indispensables, Marbleheaders spearheaded the break with Britain, seized British ships, forged critical supply lines, established the origins of the U.S. Navy, and against all odds, conveyed 2,400 of Washington’s men across the ice-filled Delaware River on Christmas night 1776, delivering a momentum-shifting surprise attack on Trenton.

Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778–1781
Tuesday, June 29, at noon  
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
In Winning Independence, John Ferling describes the underexplored history of the second half of the Revolutionary War. After the American victory at Saratoga, the U.S. netted a powerful ally in France. Many, including Gen. George Washington, presumed France's entrance into the war meant independence was just around the corner. The British pivoted to a southern strategy and tried to regain its southern colonies. Britain's new approach seemed headed for success as the U.S. economy collapsed and morale on the home front waned, but the choices and decisions made by the British, Washington, and others ultimately led the French and American allies to clinch the pivotal victory at Yorktown. 

The Declaration of Independence and Diversity: Then and Now
Wednesday, June 30, at 5 p.m.
Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.

What was diversity like in 1776, and who made up our country during that time? How did it affect the Founders and the writing of the Declaration of Independence? How do the ideals and words of the Declaration relate to issues of race, gender, and diversity today? Edna Greene Medford, Professor of History at Howard University, will moderate this important and timely discussion with: Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Rosemarie Zagarri, Professor of History, George Mason University; and Woody Holton, Professor of History, University of South Carolina.




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This page was last reviewed on June 17, 2021.
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