Boston Public Library Hosts Foremost Experts on America's Civil War
2011-2012 Lowell Lecture Series commemorates conflict’s 150th anniversary
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For Immediate Release
July 21, 2011
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BOSTON — July 21, 2011 — The Boston Public Library has enlisted some of the most eminent authorities on the American Civil War to explore its causes, consequences, and enduring legacy as part of the 2011-2012 Lowell Lecture Series commemorating the conflict’s 150 th anniversary. The upcoming series features seven acclaimed writers and scholars to reflect upon a broad range of sociological, political, military, and economic themes surrounding this pivotal period in American history.

The lectures supplement an expansive schedule of programming taking place in Boston Public Library locations across the city as well as four impressive Civil War exhibitions at the Central Library in Copley Square. For more information about the BPL’s programming and recommended lists of books and movies, visit

All of the Lowell Lectures will be held at 6:00 p.m. in Rabb Lecture Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street. Video highlights of the lectures will be made available online.

Thursday, September 29
Jeff Shaara
grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. His father, Michael Shaara, won the Pulitzer Prize for The Killer Angels (1974), a beloved historical novel that tells the story of four days during the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1996, Jeff Shaara published his first novel Gods and Generals, a prequel to his father's work, to great critical and public acclaim. He followed with two more novels on the subject. Jeff Shaara's Civil War Battlefields, his only nonfiction work, was published in April 2006, and is a unique and personal tour across ten of this country's most valuable pieces of hallowed ground. In 2007, Jeff was named to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Civil War Preservation Trust. A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

Gail Buckley
's first book, The Hornes: An American Family, is an inspired history of Buckley's mother, musical legend Lena Horne, and her family. Buckley traces the Hornes' roots from the post-Civil War Reconstruction era up to the present day. She is a chronicler of "undiscovered American history" – the people and events that are left out of the textbooks. Her latest work, fifteen years in the making, is American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm, which chronicles the black American military experience, one of the great untold aspects of American history. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Buckley was nominated for a NAACP Image Award and received the 2002 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for American Patriots. A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

Thursday, December 1
A native of Washington, D.C., Tony Horwitz is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for many years as a reporter and spent a decade overseas as a foreign correspondent in Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. After returning to the United States, he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and worked as a staff writer for the New Yorker before becoming a full-time author. Four of his books have been national bestsellers. In Confederates in the Attic (1999), Horwitz embarked on a search through the American South for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance. His newest work, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War (2011), explores John Brown's Harpers Ferry uprising and the story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

Thursday, December 15
A graduate of Harvard University, Nell Irvin Painter went on to become the Edwards Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University and directed the Program in African-American Studies from 1997-2000. She is the author of seven books and countless articles relating to the history of the American South. Her critically acclaimed book, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, won the nonfiction prize of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In Sojourner Truth, Painter focuses on the extraordinary life of the black abolitionist and women's rights advocate. Her most recent book, The History of White People, guides readers through more than 2000 years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but the frequent praise of "whiteness." A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

Tuesday, February 7
Susan Hockfield has served as the 16th president of MIT since December 2004, the first life scientist and the first woman to head the Institute. In 2011, Dr. Hockfield led the sesquicentennial celebrations of MIT's founding, which fell two days before the start of the Civil War and opened a vital new chapter in America's industrial and intellectual history. Dr. Hockfield is a graduate of the University of Rochester and received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University. In 1985, she joined the faculty at Yale University, where she served as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and as provost.

Thursday, March 8
James M. McPherson
was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota, where he graduated magna cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958. He received his Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. From 1962 to 2004 he taught at Princeton University, where he now holds the title of George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus. He is the author of some fifteen books and editor of another ten, focusing primarily on the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. His books have won several prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize in History for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1989) and two Lincoln Prizes for For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (1998) and Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief (2009). A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

Thursday, April 10
Drew Gilpin Faust
is the 28th president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. An historian of the Civil War and the American South, Faust was the founding Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Previously, she served as the Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the faculty for 25 years. She is the author of six books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996), for which she won the Francis Parkman Prize in 1997. Her most recent book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2008), looks at the impact of the Civil War's enormous death toll on the lives of 19th-century Americans. It won the Bancroft Prize in 2009 and was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. A book sale and author signing follows this lecture.

The Lowell Lecture Series is generously sponsored by the Lowell Institute, established in 1836 with the specific mission of making great ideas accessible to all people, free of charge. During the series' long history, speakers have included Charles Dickens, William James, Margaret Mead, William Makepeace Thackeray and, more recently, Salman Rushdie, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, and Dennis Lehane.

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