America’s Civil War – 150 Years Later — Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road Wilton, CT 06897 Tel: 203-762-3950

America’s Civil War – 150 Years Later

Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society

Scholarly Series

America’s Civil War – 150 Years Later

The Wilton Historical Society and the Wilton Library are pleased to bring the community a scholarly series for their fourth year collaboration. The program for 2011 is America’s Civil War – 150 Years Later with four lectures planned January through March, alternating between the two venues. Receptions follow each of the talks with books available for purchase and signing.  The scholarly series is being underwritten by the Wilton Bank. There is no charge for the series; donations are always welcomed. Registration is essential due to the popularity of these series in the past. Q & A sessions are planned for each of the lectures. Please note that the two talks in the Brubeck Room will be simulcast to the upstairs Rimer Room. The Brubeck Room will be closed when full or at the start of the event. Overflow and late arrivals will be directed to the Rimer Room.

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AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR – 150 YEARS LATER: Why Did the Civil War Last So Long? – Eugenia Kiesling

Sunday January 23, 2011

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Brubeck Room in the Wilton Library

Nations rarely set out to fight long wars, and the American public has a history of impatience with drawn-out conflict, an impatience which appears to be growing more marked in the face of contemporary frustrations.  The Civil War, one manifesting a large gap between expectations of rapid, inexpensive victory and the actual course of events, provides a historical reminder that even fairly straight-forward wars can be difficult to win.  The talk will evaluate several explanations for the war’s duration and examine the ways in the practice of war changed as the difficulty of winning became more apparent.

Professor Kiesling earned her BA in History at Yale University 1978, her MA in Ancient History and Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford University, and her Ph.D. in Modern European Military History at Stanford University in 1988. Following a Ford Fellow in International Relations at Harvard University in 1988-88, she was an assistant professor at the University of Alabama until 1995. Since then she has taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point, reaching the rank of Professor of History in 2002.  Her publications include Arming Against Hitler: France and The Limits of Military Planning. After a collegiate rowing career that included rowing for Yale against Harvard and Oxford against Cambridge, she has coached rowing at West Point since 1995. Program sponsored by Wilson Properties, LLC.

The remaining lectures are as follows – please note location of each lecture:

  • February 13 at the Wilton Historical Society - Why the Civil War Mattered: Steven Hahn
  • February 27 at the Wilton Library – Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War: Stephanie McCurry
  • March 13 at the Wilton Historical Society - Mediating the Civil War: James Lundberg

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AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR – 150 YEARS LATER: Why the Civil War Mattered – Steven Hahn

Sunday February 13, 2011

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Wilton Historical Society

Try to imagine what our country might have looked like if the Civil War could have been avoided.  Suppose it had turned out differently, perhaps an armistice instead of a decisive victory.  In his talk, Steven Hahn addresses the significance of the Civil War by talking about what might have been in order to discuss why the Civil War mattered. Steven Hahn speaks to the power of slaveholding interests on the eve of the war and just how unlikely it was for the war to end with an unconditional victory of the Union. He will also speak to the various alternatives to the slave emancipation that took place.

Steven Hahn received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is a specialist on history of nineteenth-century America, African-American history, the history of the American South, and the international history of slavery and emancipation. He is the author of The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890 (Oxford University Press, 1983), which received both the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians, as well as of articles that have appeared in Past and Present, the American Historical Review, and the Journal of Southern History.

In 2004, Hahn’s book, A Nation Under our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration (Harvard University Press), received the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize in American History, and the Merle Curti Prize in Social History of the Organization of American Historians. In 2007, he delivered the Nathan I. Huggins Lectures at Harvard University which were subsequently published as The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom (Harvard University Press, 2009). Hahn has been on the faculties of the University of Delaware, the University of California, San Diego, and Northwestern University before coming to Penn. He has been appointed the Lawrence Stone Visiting Professor at Princeton University and the Pitt Professor at Cambridge University and is an elected Fellow of the Society of American Historians. Program sponsored by Ellen and Tom Mann

Hahn has been actively involved with projects that promote the teaching of history in the public schools and that make humanities education available to diverse members of the community.

The remaining lectures are as follows – please note location of each lecture:

  • February 27 at the Wilton Library – Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War – Stephanie McCurry
  • March 13 at the Wilton Historical Society - Mediating the Civil War – James Lundberg

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AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR – 150 YEARS LATER: Confederate Reckoning – Power and Politics in the Civil War: Stephanie McCurry

Sunday February 27, 2011

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Brubeck Room in the Wilton Library

In this third lecture of the America’s Civil War series, Professor Stephanie McCurry from the University of Pennsylvania will speak about the subject of her latest book, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South - why southerners seceded from the Union, what kind of country they wanted to build, and about the political trial and failure of that experiment in proslavery nationalism.

Stephanie McCurry is a specialist in nineteenth-century American history, with a focus on the American South and the Civil War era, and the history of women and gender. She received her M.A. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. After nine years on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, she moved to Northwestern University. She joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania History Department in 2003. In 2006-2007, she was a visiting professor of history at Princeton University.

Professor McCurry has many titles to her credit, in addition to the subject of this talk, such as Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country (Oxford University Press, 1995), which received numerous awards including the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Charles Sydnor Award of the Southern Historical Association.

This lecture in the series in sponsored by Drs. Ron & Betsy Kahan.

The remaining lecture will be held on March 13 at the Wilton Historical Society at 2:00PM – Mediating the Civil War: James Lundberg.

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AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR – 150 YEARS LATER: Mediating the Civil War – James Lundberg

Sunday March 13, 2011

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Wilton Historical Society

Modern wars are unthinkable without the media that make them real to people beyond the battlefield. Imagine World War I without ‘Over There’ or its propaganda posters; World War II without its newsreels; Vietnam without Walter Cronkite and the evening news; the Gulf War without CNN. This lecture explores the role of an infant mass media in the American Civil War. It considers how mass-circulating newspapers, national magazines, wartime publishing, and the increasingly mature medium of photography shaped both the understanding and the experience of war and its meanings for people on and off the battlefield.

James Lundberg graduated from Connecticut College in 2000 and received his Ph.D. in History from Yale in 2009. As a graduate student, he considered a variety of topics on colonial, Revolutionary, and nineteenth-century American history before settling on a dissertation on Horace Greeley, leading to his current work on a larger biography of Greeley, for which he has received research and writing fellowships from The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for the Study of Slavery and Abolition, the American Antiquarian Society, and Yale University. Since 2009, he has been an assistant professor at Sacred Heart University, teaching an array of courses on American History. Program sponsored by Kathleen and Bill Brennan.

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