Lectures and Performances
Thursday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m.
“Lincoln’s Last Speech and the Problem of Reconstruction”
By Louis P. Masur
Co-sponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College
On the evening of April 11, 1865, standing at a second-floor White House window on the North Portico, Abraham Lincoln delivered his last speech. An enthusiastic and restless crowd of several thousand came to listen despite the soaking rain, anticipating and indeed calling for a rousing victory oration. They were eager to hear their commander in chief sound the Confederacy’s death knell. But rather than dwell on the war that had so nearly destroyed the Union, he turned to how best to reunite the nation.
In this lecture, based on his latest book, Lincoln’s Last Speech: Wartime Reconstruction and the Crisis of Reunion, Louis Masur discusses Lincoln’s last speech and the evolution of the president’s thinking about Reconstruction. Key moments, such as the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863, and Lincoln’s pocket veto of the Wade-Davis bill in July 1864, came to define Lincoln’s position. Questions of social reconstruction, the plight of the freedmen and the debate over their place in society, were as important as the political. Hearing the president endorse limited black suffrage, John Wilkes Booth declared, “That is the last speech he will ever make.” What Lincoln said on April 11 would lead directly to his assassination three days later.
Louis Masur is distinguished professor of American studies and history at Rutgers University. A graduate of the University at Buffalo and Princeton University, he is a cultural historian who has written on a variety of topics. His most recent work prior to Lincoln’s Last Speech is Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union (2012) and The Civil War: A Concise History (2011). Masur’s essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times. He has also written for the American Scholar, Chronicle of Higher Education, Salon, and Slate. Masur has been elected to membership of the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Society of American Historians and has received teaching prizes from Harvard University, the City College of New York, and Trinity College.
Thursday, April 9, at 7:00 p.m.
“Lincoln’s Republicanism as a Way of Life”
By Richard Wightman Fox
Co-sponsored by the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series at Becker College
In this lecture based upon his recently published book, Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History, Richard Fox will describe how Lincoln’s physical appearance and the way the sixteenth president consciously made himself accessible to the public informed his political views and his concept of equality. Lincoln’s physical appearance has been an important component of our understanding and appreciation of the man, both in his own time and in the subsequent years since his assassination. Lincoln’s Body explores how a president ungainly in body and downright "ugly" of aspect came to mean so much to us.
Richard Wightman Fox teaches courses in American cultural and intellectual history at the University of Southern California. He is the author of five books: Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History (W. W. Norton, 2015); Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession (HarperOne, 2004); Trials of Intimacy: Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal (University of Chicago Press, 1999); Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (Pantheon, 1985); and So Far Disordered in Mind: Insanity in California, 1870–1930 (University of California Press, 1979). A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fox began working on Lincoln’s Body in 2005, while he was the Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence at AAS.
Thursday, April 23, at 7:00 p.m.
“A Panel of Recent National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship”
With Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Kyle Volk, and Lisa Wilson
This panel discussion will feature three National Endowment for the Humanities fellows who were in residence during the 2010-11 academic year and whose research has resulted in recently published books. They are: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon for her work New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1649-1849; Kyle Volk with his book, Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy; and Lisa Wilson and her study, A History of Stepfamilies in Early America.
Tuesday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.
Eighth Annual Adopt-A-Book Evening The Society’s 8th Annual Adopt-a-Book event, which raises funds for library acquisitions, will take place on Tuesday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the evening, you will have the opportunity to view rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, prints, and manuscripts that have been recently acquired by AAS.
Adopt an item in your name or in memory/in honor of a special person. Your generous contribution will be permanently recorded on a special bookplate and in AAS’s online library catalog.
Tuesday, May 12, at 7:00 p.m.
“Radical Philosophy at the Origin of the American Public"
By Matthew Stewart
“I too am an Epicurean,” Jefferson wrote to one of his correspondents in 1819. Whatever did he mean by that? It has long been known that America’s founders were adventurous in their philosophy and heterodox in their religion. This presentation will explore the philosophical and religious influences not just on the more famous names, such as Jefferson, Franklin, and Paine, but also some less well-known figures, including Ethan Allen and Thomas Young—the unsung hero of the Boston Tea Party and the Pennsylvania Revolution. Drawing on his recent book, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, Stewart will make the case that the unusual philosophical religion that inspired many of America’s revolutionaries was more radical than we now tend to think and at the same time central in the creation of the world’s first modern republic.
Matthew Stewart is a former management consultant and writer who has written about a wide range of subjects, including the consulting business with The Management Myth (W.W. Norton, 2009); philosophy, The Truth About Everything (Prometheus Books, 2006); Spinoza, The Courtier and the Heretic (W.W. Norton, 2006) and the invention of the submarine, Monturiol’s Dream (Pantheon, 2004).
Thursday, May 21, at 7:00 P.M.
“‘Mild Melodious Maze’: Songs and Instrumental Music from Early America (1770-1830)”
With Anne D. M. Harley, voice, Olav Chris Henriksen, guitar, and Na’ama Lion, flute
This musical program performed on period instruments celebrates some of the over 70,000 musical scores in the Society’s collections of American music. Come hear the heroic spirit in music from the first years of the American nation, the political songs of the Early Republic, shape note and Shaker tunes, popular hits from imported English stage shows, and the strains of the first art music composed on American soil.
Anne Harley is a prize-winning performer-scholar and an educator based in Claremont, CA. Since 2009, she has taught voice, music history and interdisciplinary humanities at Scripps College, and specializes in performing music from challenging and ground-breaking contemporary composers as well as music from early oral and written traditions in Europe, America, and Russia.
Harley performs in North America, Europe, and Asia and has appeared as soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Angels in America), Opera Boston (Nixon in China), American Repertory Theatre (Oedipus), Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Camerata, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the Tanglewood Festival.
Harley also leads the ground-breaking early Russian music ensemble TALISMAN with Dr. Oleg Timofeyev. Their first recording project of modern-day premieres of music by women composers from the court of Catherine the Great won the Noah Greenberg award from the American Musicological Society and garnered praise from Gramophone. Her latest project, Voices of the Pearl, commissions, performs, and records new song cycles setting texts from female esoteric practitioners from all world traditions. Her solo performances are available on Hänssler Profil, Naxos, Sony Classics, Canteloupe, Musica Omnia, einKlang and BMOP/sound, among others.
Olav Chris Henriksen, acclaimed throughout Europe and North America as a soloist on lute, theorbo, and early guitars, is a much sought-after ensemble player, performing and recording with the Boston Camerata, Handel & Haydn Society, Waverly Consort, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Ensemble Chaconne, and Musicians of the Old Post Road, among others.
Recent performances include appearances with Ensemble Chaconne at the National Gallery in London and the Gainsborough House Museum (Sudbury, England), as well as Handel’s Water Music with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Bach’s St. John Passion with Emmanuel Music. His new solo recording, Guitar of the North, is on the Centaur label; his first solo recording, La Guitarre Royalle: French Baroque and Classical Guitar Music, is on the Museum Music label, and he has also recorded for Nonesuch, Erato, Pro Musica, Telarc, and Decca.
Henriksen performs and lectures frequently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, playing musical instruments from the Museum’s own collection. He has also lectured at Harvard University, Cambridge; Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City; Musikkhögskolen, Oslo; Aston Magna Academy, Rutgers University; and Lincoln Center Institute, New York. He teaches at the Boston Conservatory and the University of Southern Maine.
Na'ama Lion has performed solo and chamber music recitals nationally and internationally, and with the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Boston Cecilia, “Sequentia”, Arcadia Players and "La Donna Musicale", celebrating music by women composers. Ms. Lion is also a performer of new music for the Baroque flute, and works closely with composers to create new repertoire for the instrument. She is the director of the chamber music program at Mather House, Harvard University, on the faculty at Longy School of Music, and teaches regularly at the summer workshop of Amherst Early Music. Last summer, she was a guest faculty at the International Baroque Institute at Longy. She has recorded for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Telarc, Centaur, and Stradivarius.