Upcoming Speaker Series Presentations
The Thursday Evening Speaker Series is free of charge and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Unless otherwise noted, programs will be held at the Missouri State Archives, located at 600 W. Main Street in Jefferson City. The series is underwritten by the Friends of the Missouri State Archives.
[ Presentation Videos from past events are available at the following location:
Missouri State Archives Presentation Videos.]
Civic Housekeepers and More: Kansas City Women v. Pendergast
March 26, 2015, 7p.m.
In the 1920s and '30s, "Boss Tom" Pendergast's political machine controlled Kansas City, giving the Paris of the Plains an infamous reputation for supporting illegal liquor, gambling and vice. Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes will share stories of women who worked to stop the corruption, eventually ending years of machine rule in the city. Women were an essential part of the campaign to recall the Pendergast-backed mayor and city council, even after the boss went to prison in 1939. Using the campaign slogan "ballots and brooms versus bosses and bullets," women's groups wore a pin shaped like a broom to show their support for non-Pendergast candidates. Under the leadership of Ms. Claude Gorton, these groups became increasingly organized prior to the 1940 election, when their get-out-to-vote effort resulted in a defeat of the machine. Join us as former Mayor Kay Barnes discusses these "civic housekeepers" and their quest to sweep corruption from the city.
North Star, Southern Cross:
The Cultural Politics of Civil War Memory in Missouri, 1865-1915
April 30, 2015, 7 p.m.
We tend to view the American Civil War as a conflict between two distinct cultures divided by the Ohio River; the South devoted to the protection of slavery as an institution, and the North equally devoted to its abolishment. With its unique geography and political climate, Missouri was affected not only by this division, but also by a division between the well-populated East and the less-populated western frontier region. In the decades following the war, Missourians, formerly considered “Westerners,” took different paths through the politics of regional identity by re-narrating the war and themselves, evolving as Northerners, Southerners and, more complicatedly, Midwesterners. University of Cincinnati History Professor Christopher Phillips will discuss how these factors helped shape the identity of modern Missourians.
Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America
May 21, 2015, 7 p.m.
Born into a meager Missouri farm family, Dale Carnegie lifted himself from poverty to become one of the most influential figures of his time. As a teacher and author during the first half of the 20th century, he emerged as America’s foremost spokesman of success, insisting that in modern urban, bureaucratic society, personal advancement came less from hard work and firm moral character than from the development of social skills and a sparkling personality. This compelling idea became the foundation for How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936), one of the best-selling nonfiction books in American history. Before Norman Vincent Peale, Stephen Covey and Oprah Winfrey, there was Dale Carnegie, the man Life magazine named one of “the most important Americans of the twentieth century.” So while Thomas Jefferson coined that most American of phrases—“the pursuit of happiness,” in many ways, Dale Carnegie defined its modern meaning. Join us as University of Missouri history professor Steven Watts tells the story of Carnegie’s personal journey and how it gave rise to the self-help movement and personal reinvention.
"This Terrible Struggle for Life":
The Civil War Letters of a Union Regimental Surgeon
June 18, 2015, 7 p.m.
Edited by Civil War historian Dennis Belcher, This Terrible Struggle for Life offers a rare insight into the history of the Civil War in the Western theater through the eyes of a regimental surgeon. The newly graduated Dr. Thomas S. Hawley served in one of the premier fighting regiments of the Union Army, the 11th Missouri Volunteer Infantry. The collection of letters details his four-and-a-half-year career in the army through firsthand accounts of the various campaigns and his numerous duties. They also chronicle his interactions with captured Confederate soldiers, his encounters with pro-Southern and pro-Northern civilians in areas occupied by the Union Army, his experiences with freed slaves and numerous other daily events in the war. Notable among the letters is his record of the early Civil War in Missouri, the Vicksburg Campaign, the Battle of Tupelo and the Battle of Nashville. Join Civil War historian Dennis Belcher as he shares details from Dr. Hawley’s illuminating letters about the war in the West.