Sampler Lecture Series
The McHenry County Historical Society & Museum’s 34th annual Sampler Lecture Series, kicking off March 9, spans a myriad of topics – from the battle for women's rights to local postcard images, to role prisoners of war played in local agriculture, to one of thge worst maritime disasters in this nation's history: the capsizing of the S.S. Eastland on the Chicago River
• 7 p.m., Monday, March 9 – Alice Paul: Winning Votes for Women. In this living-history portrayal, actress and scholar Leslie Goddard portrays suffragist Alice Paul, one of the most dynamic leaders in the fight to win votes for women. An innovative and tireless worker, Paul arranged parades, organized demonstrations outside the White House, lobbied politicians, and endured imprisonment in the struggle for equal rights.
• 4 p.m., Monday, March 23 – Picture Postcards: The Happy Invention. Presented by Katherine Hamilton-Smith. In America, the first picture postcards were printed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago – making Illinois the birthplace of the American picture postcard. Since then, billions of postcards have captured every aspect of life including our social history – from the whimsical to the dark. Hamilton-Smith, director of public affairs and development for the Lake County Forest Preserve District, has maintained career-long professional interest in archives and museum work – including creating and developing the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, now housed at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Made possible by a grant from Illinois Humanities.
• 4 p.m. Monday, April 6 – When Potato Fields were Prisons: Unfree Agriculture in McHenry County during World War II. Sam Klee, a doctorate candidate at Saint Louis University and a member of the adjunct history faculty at St. Louis Community College, shares his findings about a little known aspect of the second world war: the forced labor of interred Japanese and – later – German prisoners of war, to work the potato fields around Marengo and across the Midwest.
• 7 p.m. Monday, April 20 – The Eastland Disaster: An Unparalleled Tragedy. Join representatives from the Eastland Disaster Historical Society as they recount the tragic 1915 capsizing of the Eastland passenger liner – stuffed to the gills with Wetern Electric employees and their families headed to picnic. A total of 844 passengers and crew were killed in what was to become the largest loss of life from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes. Using motion picture videos from 1915, photographs and a firsthand narrative delivered by descendants of a survivor, the program explains how and why it happened, the nation’s response and how it could have been avoided.
All programs are at the Society museum, 6422 Main St. in Union. Series tickets are $40, $35 for Society members. A $12 donation is requested for individual programs. For information or to buy tickets, call 815-923-2267 or visit www.gothistory.org.
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