John P. Demos
“The Unredeemed Captive: Her Journey, and My Own”
The Eighth Annual Robert C. Baron Lecture
The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America was published in 1994, and won the Francis Parkman and Ray Allen Billington prizes in American history. It offered a striking retelling of the aftermath of the 1704 French and Native American raid on the Puritan settlement in Deerfield, Massachusetts. One captured child, Eunice, converted to Catholicism and married a Native American in Canada. Despite the ongoing attempts of Eunice’s family to persuade her to return to Massachusetts, she chose her new life, and her new family, thus remaining “unredeemed.” In this lecture, Demos will reflect on the book’s career, as well as its impact on his own career as a scholar and teacher of generations of early Americanists at Brandeis and Yale.
Joseph J. Ellis
“American Love Story: Abigail and John”
In this lecture, Joseph J. Ellis will recount one of the most remarkable partnerships in all of American history. The friendship and love of John and Abigail Adams is contained in the letters they left behind, nearly twelve hundred of which still exist today. Together, John and Abigail also illustrate the challenges of effecting and winning a Revolution, negotiating peace, and instituting and implementing a federal Constitution—all while trying to keep their marriage strong and their family united. Based on his latest book, First Family: Abigail and John Adams, Ellis will draw upon these sources to study the relationship of this dynamic couple, analyzing how and why their friendship prevailed even in times of doubt and distress.
Tuesday, 15 November, 7:30 P.M.
“‘Grandeurs wch. I had heard of’: Books and the Imagined World of Travel in the Eighteenth Century”
In the eighteenth century, lavishly illustrated travel narratives became one of the most popular book genres for American readers. These books told the tales of adventurers whose experiences were so dramatic they could seem better than fiction. Better yet, their pages were interleaved with elaborately detailed copperplate engravings that offered still more insights into a world full of strange peoples. This talk will examine not just how those books taught Americans how to think about a larger world, but how men and women in remote American towns and villages learned to consider travel to be an educational and potentially life-changing experience. This lecture is based upon Eastman’s current research on the changing views of gender and sexuality in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. She is an associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University and a 2011-12 A.A.S.-N.E.H. Fellow.