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.]
Merit, Not Sympathy, Wins: The Life and Times of Blind Boone
February 20, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
In post-Reconstruction America, John William "Blind" Boone, an illiterate, itinerate musician, overcame obstacles created by disability, exploitative managers and racial prejudice to become one of the country's most beloved concert performers. Melissa Fuell-Cuther's out-of-print biography, Blind Boone: His Life and Achievements, relates the highlights of Boone’s harrowing journey and also testifies to the struggles of African Americans during the Jim Crow era. With the initial publication of the Boone biography in 1915, Fuell-Cuther broke ground as the first African American author to write about the life of a black musician. The story of Blind Boone is revitalized in this annotated edition of the biography, accompanied by essays describing the Missouri environment in which the artist lived, his place within the landscape of American music and his achievements after publication of the second edition. Join us as editors Mary Collins Barile and Christine Montgomery discuss the life, work and legacy of this fascinating man.
Pioneer Programmer: Jean Jennings Bartik and the Computer that Changed the World
March 20, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
In early 1945, the United States military recruited female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. An adventurous 20-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri named Betty Jean Jennings, later Jean Jennings Bartik, applied for one of these positions and was hired as a human computer to calculate artillery shell trajectories. Just a year later, she led the team of women responsible for programming ENIAC, the first successful general-purpose electronic computer. Despite her talents, Bartik faced obstacles in her career due to antiquated attitudes about the role of women in the workplace. Her perseverance, however, made her an important figure in the early days of electronic computing, helping launch the commercial computer industry. Before passing away in 2011, she wrote the only autobiography from any of the six original ENIAC programmers, exposing myths about the computer's origin and properly crediting those behind the computing innovations that now shape our daily lives. Editors Jon T. Rickman and Kim D. Todd will present this captivating story on one of the computer industry’s most important, but little known, pioneers.