Descriptions of Talks
Women of the West        We think of the far west as a male dominated experience. While demographics support that, there were quite a few fascinating women who made their mark. Beginning with pioneers in the early 1800's and including explorers, professional women and reformers, this program will open an entirely new perception of the western experience stretching from New Mexico to Alaska. Amazing University of Michigan Alumnae          Once the U of M opened its doors to women in 1870, coeds flocked to Ann Arbor to study a variety of subjects including medicine and law. This program presents the first woman to teach at the University as well as other distinguished alumnae. One became the first woman to teach at Harvard. Another became an anarchist. And one Hopwood Prize winner went on to a career as a popular novelist. History on the Go         This program provides a review of the Civil War though National Park Service sites. It is filled with interesting information as to how to evaluate battlefield sites including the ones west of the Mississippi. Other sites not commonly known would be the U.S. Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville GA and Ft. Bent in Colorado. And I confess I added a few state sites since we would be in the area and they are just too good to miss. Michigan Mania           Michigan Mania concerns the early settlement of Southeast Michigan especially Washtenaw County. The title comes from Harriet Noble's memoir in which she describes the frenzy to go to Michigan as a mania. Unlike the far west, the settlement of Michigan was truly a family affair. Thus, unlike most discussions, this one includes the role and experiences of women. I have pieced together this picture of settlement before statehood from archival research. The power point includes maps, photographs and paintings. I provide many anecdotes that a general audience finds of interest. Dangerous Experiment              Another talk that has been very well received is "Dangerous Experiment." It covers the changes in education for 19th century women including Emma Willard's school in Troy, New York, which influenced many women to begin similar schools. In 1837 in Ann Arbor, the Clark sisters established such a school which lasted forty years. The development of public high schools, Michigan State Normal School and Michigan Female College were part of the educational changes which ultimately led to women's entrance and success at the University of Michigan. Their experiences at the University were mixed, but the impact U of M had on them was not. It opened the professions to women. Its graduates filled the ranks of women educators, doctors, dentists and lawyers, many of whom ultimately gaining national and international reputations. Though much of this information concerns Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the content is of interest to anyone interested in education in the 19th century. The power point includes photographs of important people, places and quotations. A Purse of her Own               My initial research concerned working women before 1910. The stereotype is that women did not work, but they did. Some worked because they needed the money, but many others worked because they wanted to do so. I call this talk "A Purse of her Own" which is a phrase used by Susan B Anthony. She believed every woman needed money of her own which is fairly ironic since Anthony herself did not have financial resources.  This topic is vast, but by using some stereotypes and then rebutting them it is narrowed to an hour. For example: "Women only worked in domestic or manual labor such as domestics or laundresses or dressmakers." Or "Only single women or widows worked." For this talk, I use women of Washtenaw County as my examples and for the power point photographs, but I have national statistics and trends to support their occupations as widespread. I also touch upon educational changes and the opening of the professions such as medicine and law to women. (I also have variations on this talk that specialize on Ypsilanti women and women of Ann Arbor's old fourth ward.) Fainting Couches and Physical Fitness            "Fainting Couches and Physical Fitness" concerns women's health in the 19th century. Were women really as fragile as we have been told? And of course the answer is, "no". This program discusses changes in lifestyle that affected women's health. Urban living and clothing would be two of those changes. It considers the rise of reform dress, physical exercise programs etc in bolstering women's health. This is a classic example of how we have been given a stereotype that simply doesn't represent the vast majority of women. Awakenings             "Awakenings" is the sequel to "Fainting Couches." It is a discussion of marriage, divorce and intimacy. We have been led to believe that all women wanted to be married and thousands were dying in childbirth. The last three decades of the nineteenth century witnessed the largest number of unmarried women in U.S. history. Why? Was it because they feared the physical side of marriage? Were they "old maids" or just women who chose not to marry? And perhaps most important, what information and birth control methods were common at that time. Fallen Women and Female Felons              While the vast majority of criminals locally and nationally were men, Washtenaw County did have some interesting women involved in crime. Their nefarious activities most often were petty crimes such as pick pocketing and prostitution; however, Washtenaw County was home to a woman who was the leader of a burglary gang and also a stock market scam artist. In addition, "Fallen Women and Female Felons" includes discussion of how the State of Michigan handled female convicts as well as the career of Emma A. Hall, an early prison reformer and the first woman in Michigan to receive a state appointment. Seeing the Elephant             In celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, I am teaching multi session classes concerning women who participated in the war. The classes cover authors, nurses, doctors, sanitary commission, women back home, soldiers and spies. Since soldiers and spies is the most popular topic, that is what I usually focus on for a one hour talk. This too has a power point and includes quite a few Michigan women. Ghost Hunting             This program concerns the problems that arise when one tries to research women who lived in the nineteenth century. I illustrate the problems with specific cases. Thus the program offers an eclectic collection of women's lives. It explains how women were eradicated from the historical record and how what does remain is often slanted due to the bias of the times. It includes personal examples of how I utilized genealogy, for example, in order to flesh out the lives of women. This talk is of general interest because of the fascinating examples and anecdotes. Murder, Mayhem and Mischief: Crime in 19th century
                  Washtenaw County
            This program is similar t o "Fallen Women and Female Felons" but it does not focus on women though they have been included. I provide some crimes that sound silly today such as the clothes line robberies; some that have ambiguous resolutions which the audience can respond as to their verdict, and some that force us to re-evaluate our history such as the fact that both founders of Ann Arbor bought their land with stolen funds.Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History                There is no end of interesting women that can be included.  This is potpourri of nineteenth century women whose actions significantly altered American society, yet the general public is unaware of their contributions. One example might be Myra Bradwell who sued the state of Illinois when it refused her a law license. Another might be Mrs. Packard who campaigned to have the law changed so husbands could not commit their wives to mental institutions simply because they wanted to be rid of them. Fascinating American Families              Certain family names reverberate through history. For example: the Booth family (as in John Wilkes, Edwin and Junius) and the James family (Henry, William, Alice). Lesser known, but no less significant, would be the Bittles whose scion was president of the national bank and from which several significant off-spring made history in Michigan. A scandal (little known today) tarnished the reputation of the Beecher family, and generations of other families such as the Rogers and the Clarks made history. Walks and Bus Tours of Historic Ann Arbor                 Walks can be any distance with appropriate subject matter. A tour of the campus and its evolution has been popular. Bus tour begins at Kerrytown and discusses that area, lower town, Fourth Ward and Campus. "Shakespeare Authorship Controversy:   Have we   
                                     been played?"
                In 2011-12 I taught classes concerning this issue since Roland Emmerick's film "Anonymous" was released. What do we really know about the man from Stratford? Is he really the author of the works written by Shakespeare? And if not, why not. 







 how could the man from Stratford achieve his fame. Finally if he is not the author, who is?