Summer (virtual) Programs for All Ages
Press Release · Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Washington, DC

The National Archives presents a wide variety of summer programs  on topics ranging from the circus to the Insanity Defense! All programs are Eastern Daily Time (EDT).

The Fires of Philadelphia: Citizen-Soldiers, Nativists, and the 1844 Riots Over the Soul of a Nation 
Tuesday, July 6, at noon; Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
In The Fires of Philadelphia, history professor Zachary M. Schrag discusses how in 1844, Philadelphia was set aflame by a group of Protestant ideologues—avowed nativists—who were seeking social and political power due to fear of the Irish Catholic immigrant menace. Schrag’s book is a gripping and masterful account of the moment when one of America's founding cities turned on itself, giving the nation a preview of the Civil War to come. Joining Schrag in conversation will be professor Dan Horner.

Battle for the Big Top: P. T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling and the Death-Defying Saga of the American Circus 
Wednesday, July 7, 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, 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. 

The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age*
Thursday, July 8, at noon; Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
Amy Sohn presents a narrative history of Anthony Comstock, anti-vice activist and U.S. Postal Inspector, and the remarkable women who opposed his war on women’s rights at the turn of the 20th century. Journalist and author Elizabeth Mitchell will join Sohn to discuss the man behind the eponymous law, passed in 1873, that penalized the mailing of contraception and obscenity with long sentences and steep fines.

The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover 
Thursday, July 15, at noon; Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
In 1965, twenty-two-year old Paul Letersky was assigned to assist the legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.  Hoover’s personal privacy was more tightly guarded than the secret “files” he carefully collected—and that were feared by politicians and celebrities. The Director offers a unique inside look at one of the most powerful law enforcement figures in American history. Joining Letersky in conversation will be former FBI agent Joe Pistone.

Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Makes Us Less Safe
Tuesday, July 20 at 1 p.m.; Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
Former Congresswoman and Wilson Center Director Jane Harman will discuss how four administrations have failed to confront some of the toughest national security policy issues, and she suggests ways to move the country toward a safer future. Abraham Denmark, Director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center, will join her in conversation.

Meet Teddy Roosevelt (portrayed by Joe Wiegand): Young Learners Program
Thursday, July 22 at noon; Register in advance; watch the livestream on our YouTube Channel.
Theodore Roosevelt was a soldier and statesman, explorer and scientist, historian and author. Often known as ‘Teddy’ or ‘TR”, he was the nation’s youngest president and personified a vigorous United States in the early 20th century. For this National Archives Comes Alive! program, Theodore Roosevelt will explain how he doubled the number of national parks despite foes in Congress who declared, “Not one red cent for scenery!”, and will take questions from participants. 

*Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote and programs presented in conjunction with the exhibit are made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, AT&T, Ford Motor Company Fund, Facebook, Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fund at the Boston Foundation, Google, HISTORY ®, and Jacqueline B. Mars. Additional support for National Outreach and Programs provided by Denise Gwyn Ferguson, Maggie and Robert Boroujerdi, BMO Financial Group, The Hearst Foundations, Maris S. Cuneo Foundation, FedEx, Bernstein Family Foundation, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation/Ambassador Fay-Hartog Levin (Ret.).

The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
Tuesday, August 31 at noon
In The Failed Promise, historian Robert S. Levine foregrounds the viewpoints of black Americans on Reconstruction in his absorbing account of the struggle between the great orator Frederick Douglass and President Andrew Johnson.  Despite early indications that Johnson would pursue aggressive federal policies for black equality, Douglass soon grew disillusioned with Johnson’s policies and increasingly doubted the president was sincere.  Levine grippingly portrays the conflicts that brought Douglass and the wider black community to reject Johnson and call for a guilty verdict in his impeachment trial.


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This page was last reviewed on July 6, 2021.
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