May 2, 7 pm: Douglas Smith, “Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanovs”

rasputinA hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra’s confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne. His debauchery and sinister political influence are the stuff of legend, and the downfall of the Romanov dynasty was laid at his feet.

But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin’s life and death has remained shrouded in myth. A major new work that combines probing scholarship and powerful storytelling, Rasputin separates fact from fiction to reveal the real life of one of history’s most alluring figures. Drawing on a wealth of forgotten documents from archives in seven countries, Smith presents Rasputin in all his complexity–man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard. Rasputin is not just a definitive biography of an extraordinary and legendary man but a fascinating portrait of the twilight of imperial Russia as it lurched toward catastrophe.

RocklandTrust logoThis lecture sponsored by Rockland Trust

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday,May 6, 2:00 pm: Allison Lange, “Women’s Suffrage and the Modern Political Campaign”

mass-humanities-logoPART OF THE ‘WHY DIDN’T I KNOW ABOUT THIS?’ SERIES OF LECTURES ON WOMEN’S HISTORY, SPONSORED BY MASSHUMANITIES

“Beyond Susan B. Anthony: What You Missed in History Class about the Woman Suffrage Movement”womens-suffrage

Did you know that Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for president in 1872? Have you heard of Bostonian Lucy Stone, who published the longest-running and most successful suffrage newspaper? Did you learn that Ida B. Wells defied orders and racially integrated the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC? Have you heard that suffragists staged the first-ever picket of the White House in 1917?

Though Susan B. Anthony is probably the most familiar suffragist, this talk will highlight these important–but less familiar–stories of the movement. Women’s votes aren’t controversial today, but suffragists organized for nearly 100 years to win this right. “Beyond Susan B. Anthony” will feature colorful nineteenth-century political cartoons that lampooned the activists as well as the visual propaganda that suffragists created to convince Americans that women needed the vote. In 2020, we will commemorate the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to cast ballots. Let’s celebrate the suffragists with a better understanding of all that they accomplished.

Our May Lectures are sponsored by Cape Cod Five Savings Bank

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Sunday, May 7, 2 pm: Kate Moore, “The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women”

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Part of the series of lectures on Women’s History, made possible in part by a grant from Mass Humanities

Radium GirlsThe Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive ― until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

Our May lectures are sponsored by Cape Cod Five Savings

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May 24, 7 pm: James B. Conroy, “Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime”

lincolns-white-houseLincoln’s White House is the first book devoted to capturing the look, feel, and smell of the executive mansion from Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861 to his assassination in 1865. James Conroy brings to life the people who knew it, from servants to cabinet secretaries. We see the constant stream of visitors, from ordinary citizens to visiting dignitaries and diplomats. Conroy enables the reader to see how the Lincolns lived and how the administration conducted day-to-day business during four of the most tumultuous years in American history. Relying on fresh research and a character-driven narrative and drawing on untapped primary sources, he takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour that provides new insight into how Lincoln lived, led the government, conducted war, and ultimately, unified the country to build a better government of, by, and for the people.

Our May lectures are sponsored by Cape Cod Five Savings Bank

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