The David Library is pleased to announce its Fall 2014 Lecture series. The following lectures are offered to the public admission free, but reservations are required. Please call 215.493.6776 ext. 100 or email to reserve your seat.

RichmanSaturday, September 27 at 11:30 AM - “Founding Gardens: Penn, Washington and Jefferson” by Irwin Richman, Ph. D. The gardens of three eminent American historical figures—William Penn, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—are the focus of this highly visual presentation. The element that binds them together is the Quaker gardening tradition. This tradition can be traced from Penn through the founders of Germantown Pennsylvania, especially Francis Daniel Pastorius. This links in turn to John and William Bartram who influenced the gardens of Washington and Jefferson. Dr. Richman is Professor Emeritus of American Studies and History at Penn State Harrisburg, and a Research Associate at the Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has taught garden history at Longwood Gardens. This lecture is one of the scheduled events at the David Library’s Annual Open House taking place from 10 to 4 on September 27.

Michael HarrisTuesday, October 14 at 7:30 PM - “General John Sullivan and the Battle of Brandywine” by Michael C. Harris. Most histories of the Battle of Brandywine make John Sullivan the scapegoat for the American loss. However, an analysis of the primary documents proves that Sullivan diligently forwarded all intelligence reports the day of the battle to Washington. According to Michael C. Harris, author of Brandywine: A Military History of the Battle That Lost Philadelphia But Saved America, September 11, 1777, it was Washington's duty to analyze and interpret those intelligence reports and not Sullivan's. “Washington failed the army, the army did not fail Washington,” says Mr. Harris, a teacher who has previously worked as a historic site interpreter for the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Ken MillerSunday, November 9 at 3:00 PM – “‘A Dangerous Set of People’: British Captives and the Sundering of Empire” by Ken Miller, Ph. D. The author of Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities during the War for Independence will explore Pennsylvanians’ earliest interactions with their first British prisoners during the War for Independence, and show how contentious dealings with captives sped Americans’ estrangement from Britain and promoted an emerging revolutionary identity. Dr. Miller is Associate Professor of History at Washington College in Maryland, and a former Fellow of the David Library.




Tim McGrathTuesday, November 18 at 7:30 PM – “Give Me a Fast Ship” by Tim McGrath. After the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, England’s King George sent hundreds of ships westward to bottle up American harbors and prey on American shipping. Colonists had no force to defend their coastline and waterways until John Adams of Massachusetts proposed a bold solution: The Continental Congress should raise a navy. The idea was mad. The Royal Navy was the mightiest floating arsenal in history, with a seemingly endless supply of vessels, and the British were confident that His Majesty’s warships would quickly bring the rebellious colonials to their knees. They were wrong. Beginning with five converted merchantmen, America’s sailors became formidable warriors, matching their wits, skills, and courage against the best of the British fleet. In this lecture, Tim McGrath, author of Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea and John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail, will tell the story of the ships, captains and rebel sailors who created the first American navy.

FurstenbergSunday, December 7 at 3:00 PM – “When the United States Spoke French” by François Furstenberg, Ph. D. In 1789, as the French Revolution shook Europe to the core, the new United States was struggling for survival in the face of financial insolvency and bitter political and regional divisions. This lecture, by the author of When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation and In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation will explore the republic’s formative years from the perspective of a distinguished circle of five Frenchmen who took refuge in America. Their adventures offer new ways to understand the connections between U.S. and world history, and gain fresh insight into American history’s most critical era. Dr. Furstenberg is Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.

To learn more about our "American History on Film" series, click here.