Calendar of David Library Events

David Library events are admission free, but reservations are required. Call 215.493.6776 x 100 or email 
All events will be held at the David Library, 1201 River Road (Rt. 32), Washington Crossing, PA 18977, 1.3 miles north of the Washington Crossing Bridge.

Fall 2016 Lecture Series: “Framers, Founders and Confounders: Architects of a New Nation”

Tuesday, September 20 – 7:30 PM -- David O. Stewart: “James Madison and the Power of Partnership.”  James Madison’s list of accomplishments surrounding the founding of the nation include writing the Constitution and winning the fight to ratify it, co-writing the Federalist Papers; writing and winning enactment of the Bill of Rights, concluding the Louisiana Purchase, presiding over the War of 1812, and leaving a prosperous and happy nation after two terms in office.  How did one small, reserved man with a brilliant intellect but zero charisma assemble such a massive record of achievement?  By making common cause with his most talented contemporaries, checking his ego at the door, and forming the most productive partnerships in American history. David O. Stewart is the author Madison’s Gift:  Five Partnerships That Built America.  His first book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, was a Washington Post bestseller and won the Washington Writing Award as Best Book of 2007.  His other works of include Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy and American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America; his historical novels include The Lincoln Deception and The Wilson Deception.  


Sunday, October 2 – 3:00 PM – Robert M. S. McDonald : “Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson Revered and Reviled.” Few figures in American history provoke as much of a division in public opinion as Thomas Jefferson.  West Point historian Robert M. S. McDonald, author of the new book Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson's Image in His Own Time, will explore how Jefferson emerged as such a divisive figure.  Pointing out that Jefferson’s bifurcated image took shape both as a product of his own creation and in response to factors beyond his control, McDonald will tell a gripping story of disagreements over issues and ideology, as well as contested ideas about the rules of politics.  In the first fifty years of independence, Americans’ views of Jefferson revealed much about their conflicting views of the promise and purpose of America.

Wednesday, October 19 – 7:30 PM – Richard Alan Ryerson: "John Adams' New Aristocracy, 1777-1815." Less than a year after the Declaration of Independence, John Adams began to fear that America's new experiment in government would be destroyed by the forces of a new American aristocracy. Over the next four decades he spelled out just what this new and threatening aristocracy would look like, and suggested how it might be controlled and even harnessed to benefit America's new republics. Richard Alan Ryerson is the author of The Revolution is Now Begun: The Radical Committees of Philadelphia, 1765-1776, considered a seminal work on Pennsylvania politics during the British-American conflict.  He was a former editor of the Adams Papers Editorial Project at the Massachusetts Historical Society, coeditor of The Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War: A Political, Social, and Military History, and editor of John Adams and the Founding of the Republic. He retired as Senior Historian of the David Library of the American Revolution.  His newest book is John Adams' Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many. 

Friday, October 28 – 7:30 PM – Paul Staiti: “Washington’s Master Imagist.” For Gilbert Stuart, the most talented of all eighteenth-century American artists, the Revolution was an opportunity of an unusual sort. He painted portraits just about every person who held power during the Revolutionary era, or who wanted it.  A man who never expressed a political allegiance, or even a political opinion, he was nonetheless responsible for painting the most transcendent portraits of the Founders.  In all, he painted Washington 114 times, and those pictures were copied by other painters, then made into authorized and unauthorized prints, and eventually one of them was put on the face of the one-dollar bill, making Stuart’s portrait the most reproduced and most seen picture in history.  The Stuart image of Washington, painted in the last year of his presidency, during the politically savage debate over the Jay Treaty, paints a picture of the great man standing above the storm of partisan politics.  That was an artistic decision, and a political decision.  It allowed Washington to be remembered—eternally--in a specified way.  This illustrated lecture by the author of Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes, explores the content of Stuart’s pictures of Washington, as well as the roiling politics that shaped it.

Wednesday, November 9 – 7:30 PM – Edward G. Lengel: “‘Money is the Sinews of War’: George Washington, Money, and the Revolutionary War. Edward G. Lengel is author of First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's—Prosperity. He will describe how Washington's business talents and understanding of economics both informed his strategy and secured his success as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Lengel is Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Editing at the University of Virginia. His other books include Inventing George Washington: America’s Founder in Myth and Memory and General George Washington: A Military Life.

Sunday, November 13 – 3:00 PM – Michael J. Klarman: ““The Constitution as a Coup Against Public Opinion.” Michael J. Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School. His first book, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality, received the 2005 Bancroft Prize in History. His lecture is based on his new book, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the US Constitution, which is the first comprehensive, single-volume account of the background, drafting, and ratification of the U.S. Constitution (and the Bill of Rights).  Klarman will seek to provide answers to the questions of how the Framers at the Philadelphia convention managed to write a Constitution that was vastly more nationalist and democracy-constraining than most Americans wanted or expected, and how they were able to convince ordinary Americans, through a reasonably democratic ratifying process, to approve such a constitution.
Fall 2016 Military History Event

Fall 2016 Military History Event

Wednesday, December 14  – 7:30 PM -- J. L. Bell: “The Guns of the Boston Train.” When British soldiers marched to Concord on April 19, 1775, what were they searching for? As far back as September 1774, royal governor Gen. Thomas Gage and the Massachusetts resistance movement had begun to seize all the cannon they could. The resulting "arms race” included a massive militia uprising, raids on shore batteries, thefts from armories under redcoat guard, spies and counterspies, and an armed takeover of a harbor fort—all before the traditional start of the Revolutionary War. This lecture explores how Massachusetts' political conflict with the Crown turned military, and why both sides kept this history secret  J. L. Bell is the author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War. He shares his work and other Revolutionary news through daily updates on his website, He is an associate editor of the Journal of the American Revolution and assistant editor of the Colonial Comics series published by Fulcrum Books.

Lower Makefield Historical Society Events at the David Library

Sunday, September 18 3PM – Actor and Historian JoAnn Tufo as "The Pirate Wife: Anne Bonny.” Anne Bonny is one of the few documented female pirates during the “golden age” of piracy in the Caribbean (late 17th and early 18th centuries).  Bonney was associated with another female pirate, Mary Read, along with Captain “Calico” Jack Rackham.  Tufo will bring to life the exciting world of pirates on the high seas, as she previously brought to life the world of Deborah Franklin in "The Good Wife: Mrs. Benjamin Franklin", and the world of women in the labor force during World War II in "The Victorious Wife: Rosie the Riveter," two of her earlier presentations for the LMHS at DLAR.  Tufo is a certified Philadelphia historical tour guide, and teaches at Coastal Carolina University.  

Sunday, October 23 at 3PM - Presentation by Rebecca Urban: “Trip Around the World in a Locomobile, 1909-1910.”  On July 17, 1909, Harriet White Fisher, a businesswoman and adventuress, left her home at 125 East Hanover Street, Trenton, New Jersey to begin an historic drive around the world in a 1909 Locomobile, an early make of American luxury automobile.  Accompanying Mrs. Fisher were her maid, her chauffer, her butler and her dog.  The thirteen-month excursion took Mrs. Fisher and her companions across four continents, three oceans, and ten countries.  Often there were no roads, no gas stations, no hotels, and no stores or restaurants, so the resourcefulness of the three employees were as much in demand as Mrs. Fisher’s wealth and social connections.  In India, they stayed as guests in Nehru’s palace, but most of the time, they had to fend for themselves at makeshift campsites.  The chauffer, Harold Fisher Brooks, made all the repairs, packed the car for shipping across oceans, managed the procurement of fuel and spare parts, and used his training as an engineer to navigate roads and bridges that were not intended for motorized vehicles.  He also took photographs and hunted and foraged the food the party dined on.  Presenter Rebecca Urban is the granddaughter of Harold Fisher Brooks.  The presentation includes photos and memorabilia of her grandfather’s historic adventure, along with excerpts from an oral history he recorded 46 years after the journey.