American History

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Episodes of American History

Acclaimed historian Louis Warren, professor of U.S. Western History at the University of California, Davis, explores how Californians remade American ideas of property and power between 1848 and the present in this Avery Lecture.
Benjamin Madley, associate professor of history at UCLA, discusses the near-annihilation and survival of California's indigenous population under United States rule in this Billington Lecture
Mary Sarah Bilder, Founders Professor at Boston College Law School, discusses the responses of George Washington and Benjamin Rush to Eliza Harriot O'Connor's remarkable university lectures in 1787 and their implications for female political st
John Crichton, proprietor of the Brick Row Book Shop in San Francisco, shares the story of pioneering entrepreneur Anton Roman (1828–1903), who came to California from Bavaria in 1849 to make his fortune in the gold fields, then converted his g
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the 300th Anniversary University Professor of History at Harvard University, shares stories from the remarkable diary of Caroline Crosby. The wife of a Mormon missionary, Crosby reached C
John Mack Faragher, the Howard R. Lamar Professor Emeritus of History and American Studies at Yale University, discusses the spatial pattern of homicide in Southern California in the 19th century. This talk is part of the Billington Lecture ser
The Huntington presents a fascinating conversation about the practice of medicine during the U.S. Civil War and its dramatization in the popular PBS series “Mercy Street.” The panel discussion is moderated by Melissa Lo, Dibner Assistant Curato
Woody Holton, professor of American history at the University of South Carolina and the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow at The Huntington, offers a preview of research from his forthcoming book. During the last half-century, as social hi
Christopher Brown, professor of history at Columbia University, explores the relationship between two themes in American history that are usually treated separately. Brown discusses the impact the war for American independence had on the econom
Karl Jacoby, professor of history at Columbia University, uses the story of the remarkable Gilded Age border crosser William Ellis to discuss the shifting relationship between the United States and Mexico in the late 19th century. This talk is
Alice Fahs, professor of history at UC Irvine, discusses what we can learn from the attempts by prominent 19th-century American writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau to form communi
Geoffrey Cowan, president of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, discusses his book "Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary". Using a trove of newly discovered documents, Cowan offers a glimp
Considered the worst civil engineering failure in the history of California and the state’s second-worst disaster in terms of lives lost, the collapse of the St. Francis Dam ended the storied career of William Mulholland, the man who earlier ha
Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Elizabeth Fenn and Alan Taylor engage in a scholarly conversation on the contemporary relevance of historical writings on the American past. Why do we need historical perspective on our times? What do history,
Saul Bellow has been called the greatest writer of American prose of the 20th century. Zachary Leader, professor of English literature at the University of Roehampton, explores this claim and tests it. This talk was part of the Ridge Lecture se
Andrew O’Shaughnessy, vice president of Monticello and professor of history at the University of Virginia, dispels the incompetence myth surrounding the loss of the American colonies and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were
Stephen Mihm, associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, chronicles the unlikely coalition of often eccentric entrepreneurs who brought standard sizes, products, and procedures to American business. This talk was part of the H
Religion and violence converged in southern Utah in 1857 when a Mormon militia attacked a wagon train bound for California. Sarah Barringer Gordon, professor of law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses how recognition of the
Shirley Samuels, professor of English and American studies at Cornell University and the Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellow, examines the relationship between pictures of Abraham Lincoln and the language that he used in famous speeches.
Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, co-creators of “The Knick,” have a discussion and Q&A about their Cinemax series. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the show follows Dr. John Thackery (played by Clive Owen) at The Knickerbocker Hospital – aka The Kn
Clive Holmes, emeritus fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, will provide a context for the 1692 determination by the Puritan clergymen of the Cambridge Association concerning spectral evidence in witchcraft trials. This talk is part of the Cro
Laura Skandera Trombley became the eighth president of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in July 2015. However, her history with the institution began much earlier. A specialist on Mark Twain, Trombley began conduct
Neil Foley of the Southern Methodist University, discusses how this demographic shift is reshaping politics, culture, and fundamental ideas about American identity. By mid-century nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Latino, with most bei
Amina Hassan, biographer and award-winning public radio documentarian discusses her new book, “Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist.” Miller, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights attorneys from the 1940s through the ear
Author and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn discusses her book "Sporting Guide", a series of interlinked stories that evoke a lost world on the margins of Los Angeles society in the 1890s.
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